CSIRO's collaboration with the United Kingdom includes developing modern mapping technology and launching it in the commercial market.

Developing advanced laser mapping technology

Zebedee is a handheld laser scanner that creates 3D maps of difficult environments in the time it takes to walk through them. It doesn't rely on GPS, making it suitable for a range of scientific and commercial applications. CSIRO's Data 61 partnered with global company 3D Laser Mapping to license Zebedee to UK start-up GeoSLAM, offering a low-cost cloud-based 3D mapping service for business and industry.

Producing reliable 3D maps can be a useful tool for industrial applications. For example, manufacturers can map components on a production line and track their progress to improve efficiency and flow. Up until now creating these 3D laser maps quickly, reliably and in any environment has been a major challenge for business and industry. Most mapping solutions require expensive laser scanners and skilled engineers to survey the environment. Some won’t work accurately in areas with a poor GPS signal.

Data 61 and 3D Laser Mapping sought to solve this problem by offering the world's first mobile handheld laser mapping system together with a cloud-based 3D mapping service to the international market. Zebedee consists of a lightweight laser scanner and inertial measurement unit. It enables a user to generate a 3D map simply by walking through a desired location. The laser scanner rocks back and forward on a spring scanning the environment, while a battery pack and laptop for recording and uploading the 3D map data is stored in a lightweight backpack.

Through its commercialisation, the Zebedee system is now reaching users all over the world. It is being used by more than 25 multinational organisations for efficiency and productivity gains. Zebedee is being used for mapping mines, heritage sites, and crime scenes. Our partnership with 3D Laser Mapping has made the technology more accessible and has the potential to dramatically increase the use of 3D mapping across the globe.

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