In our latest blog, Martin Davies from Track Access Services, explains how the latest laser scanning systems from Topcon are helping to revolutionise planning and construction processes.
At Track Access, we supply a variety of digital support services to the transport industry, with one segment of our work supporting railway driver training and redevelopment.
We do this while keeping all of our projects safe and cost effective, which is why we’ve chosen to use Topcon’s mobile laser scanning (MLS) to achieve our goal of improving the driver training experience. We collected data using the Topcon IP-S3 laser scanner – a system that integrates an inertial measurement unit (IMU), GNSS receiver (GPS and GLONASS) and a vehicle odometer.
We selected the IP-S3 for the project because it generates 700,000 pulses per second, while its 360° view sensor uses 32 internal lasers covering all angles to minimise any gaps in the point cloud data collected – it also removes the need for multiple scans.
Geospatial accuracy was maintained by aligning the scanner to fixed reference points throughout the scanning area. The scanner was mounted externally to the front of the engine, and accumulated optimum perspective point cloud data during the journey, collecting data within 10mm of accuracy.
Using the IP-S3 enabled us to save costs by mounting the laser onto the engine, so that all transport could run as usual without disruption. The use of mobile mapping sources also saved us from having to place personnel into a potentially dangerous live rail environment – a key factor for us in line with our aims of staying safe and cost effective.
This process also saves much more time than having to do this kind of task manually. The point cloud data can be transformed into virtual models much more quickly than previously.
The virtual railway models created as a result of this are highly accurate and multipurpose, and can also be used for driver simulations and embedded into online driver training material. They can also be applied to support other phases of enhancement within driver roles throughout the project lifecycle.
Adapting to technological development has enabled us to take on new projects, delivering accurate data scanning and modelling to meet the requirements of designers, engineers and operators.