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CHC Navigation: The rise of digital-twin models

March 10, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: CHC Navigation

Increasing urbanization is creating pressure to manage housing, utilities and infrastructure holistically. Hence the concept of digital twins. Digital twins enable the integrated operation and maintenance of any geospatial asset to meet the increased demand for efficient and intelligent transportation systems, the green expansion of urban areas and sustainable infrastructure.

Traditional GNSS or optical measurement instruments no longer suffice to capture all the necessary information in a timely manner and with the right levels of detail. Integrating technological advances — GNSS, inertial systems, lidar sensors and 360° spherical imagery — into a single mobile-mapping system has greatly increased the ability to produce complete 3D models with high accuracy and precision. Mobile mapping also directly reduces workload, lowers project costs, simplifies data use, and provides reality-based design.

Mobile mapping surveys have been proven to be four to 10 times faster and three to seven times less expensive than traditional methods, delivering the required results up to three times faster. Integrated, multi-platform mobile-mapping solutions bridge the gap between the real world and the digital world for greater interoperability and accessibility of data in near real-time.

The high-accuracy and cross-platform design of CHC Navigation’s AlphaUni 900 lidar system provides an innovative solution for 3D spatio-temporal data acquisition, which is necessary for the digital transformation of the AEC industry.

Smart Cities

After developing for more than a decade, digital-twin technology is now a complex and comprehensive technical system to support the construction of new smart cities. It is an advanced model for the continuous innovation of urban development and a future form of modernization combining the virtual and real worlds. The creation of digital-twin cities brings to the forefront high-level topographic tools capable of providing comprehensive, multi-dimensional, large-scale, high-resolution data sets.

To illustrate typical digital-city projects, CHC Navigation conducted a proof-of-concept demonstration in the Jinshan District of Shanghai, which covers an area of about 600 square kilometers. This area has rich terrain features and characteristics typical of large modern cities, such as tall buildings, power lines, rivers and vegetation.

Versatile and easy-to-use platforms are essential for the democratization of lidar systems. Capturing 3D data with a single-platform lidar system can leave some areas blank in the point-cloud data. The AlphaUni900 lidar solution, with its multi-platform capability, can easily capture complete data from a UAV, car, backpack or unmanned surface vessel (USV) and provide a sophisticated and comprehensive 3D model. The AlphaUni 900 integrates seamlessly with real buildings, provides exterior and interior mapping, and dramatically changes the way high-precision data is collected.

The derived 3D models can be easily merged and correlated with social or economic spatial data, for example from building-integrated internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing data. As a result, complex operations can be optimized in real time, potential problems can be anticipated, and planned maintenance can be implemented to ensure the sustainability of urbanization projects over their entire lifespan, all in a fully connected model.

Affordable, user-friendly solutions for capturing and processing airborne lidar data and imagery have triggered a strong adoption of UAV technology in the AEC industry. For CHC Navigation, 2021 was marked by the huge success of the AlphaAir 450, a breakthrough in 3D UAV mapping technology. With its ease of use, high accuracy and affordability, the AA450 expands the scope of lidar surveying to non-professional users in geospatial reality-capture applications and to those who have never been able to afford such technology before.

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