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Mobile Mapping Survey: AppyParking

Spending hours looking for parking space on busy roads is a serious matter. Cities across the world keep struggling with the problem with wasted fuel, and emissions adding up to the economic and non-economic impact of parking hunting.

Parking app technology is on rise offering users cashless payments and helping drivers find and reserve parking spaces and avoid parking tickets.

“We’re on a mission to make parking forgettable for drivers by providing the best on-street parking information so they can find the nearest and cheapest options for where they want to go. We also work closely with local authorities to help them better manage their kerbside assets with data-driven solutions that improve compliance and safety access for drivers and businesses,” said Dan Hubert, CEO and Founder of AppyParking 

Making Parking Forgettable

AppyParking, a London-based kerbside management and mobility technology firm, operate an award-winning parking app that allows users to see and understand all on-street parking areas, restrictions and operating hours in addition to off-street car parks, helping users make informed choices about where to park before they arrive. 

An initial pilot of a smart parking system was undertaken in Westminster where sensors were embedded in parking spaces to detect when they are occupied, showing drivers the nearest available parking spot and to allow instant cashless payment. 

The power of data offers last meter navigation and functionality to vehicles with or without drivers, and relies on the mobile network connections that are being fitted to new vehicles, and added to existing commercial fleets.

With plans to roll out smart parking across London and other UK cities, AppyParking needed to survey London’s kerbsides to create an accurate map of all parking zones.

Getmapping undertake the first mobile mapping project of this scale in Europe

AppyParking needed to survey London’s kerbsides to create an accurate map of all parking zones across the capital. The parking company approached Getmapping Plc, a leading provider of aerial photography, mobile mapping, LiDAR, digital mapping and web-based services across Europe and Africa, to undertake mobile mapping surveys of car parking zones across London.

With more than 20 years of experience in capturing and processing large volumes of geospatial data, Getmapping invested in two Leica Pegasus:Two Ultimate mobile mapping systems to survey London’s boroughs for the largest mobile mapping project in Europe.

Phase 1 - Efficient Data Capture Through Mobile Mapping

Project planning was crucial for the project’s success. Getmapping wanted to ensure that the project would run smoothly according to a plan.

Getmapping we were able to start capture within a number of weeks from project confirmationd.  The initial capture of parking data for 6 London boroughs was required in Autumn 2017/18 with phase progressing through the first 6 months of 2018.

A team of three surveyors drove 25 kilometres per day with the Leica Pegasus:Two around London’s boroughs to simultaneously collect imagery and LiDAR data. Surveying was possible throughout winter months of poor light, and no surveyors or traffic management crews were needed in the road, all data was captured from the safety of the vehicle.

Once the data collection was completed, the data was transferred back to the office in hard disks.  Two team members processed the data using the Leica Pegasus:Manager to produce the SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) corrected trajectory, along with panoramic imagery and coloured point clouds.

“The progress of surveying methods and mobile mapping systems opens new perspectives for the collection of road data. With the Leica Pegasus:Two Ultimate, we were able to smoothly collect data, travelling around the survey sites around London, with no traffic management or road closures required, said Martin Tocher, group innovation director at Getmapping.

Phase 2 – More Data, Faster

The capture of parking data in a further 13 London boroughs and 5 cities started immediately and was completed by mid-year 2018.

Getmapping purchased one Leica Pegasus:Two Ultimate mobile mapping systems and upgraded the existing Leica Pegasus:Two to the Ultimate version to complete this project. The Leica Pegasus:Two Ultimate allows capture in a variety of lighting conditions and vehicle speeds - a higher dynamic range is enabled by a large sensor to pixel ratio and a dual-light sensor. Photogrammetry and image quality is improved with the increased side camera resolution of twelve mega pixels and onboard JPEG compression.

​By utilising the latest mobile mapping technology, which has 3 times the resolution compared to the standard system, the volume of data handled by Getmapping increased threefold and we upscaled our processing resources to handle the huge volume of data that phase 2 required.

“The Leica Pegasus:Two Utlimate’s higher resolution camera system offered better picture quality, plus the Dual fish-eye camera system provided “stitching free” pictures,” said Alexandre Alves, European operations manager at Getmapping. “By utilising Leica Geosystems’ latest mobile mapping technology, which has three times the resolution compared to the standard system, the volume of data handled by Getmapping increased threefold and we upscaled our processing resources to handle the huge volume of data that phase 2 required.”

The First Mobile Mapping Project Of This Scale In Europe

After 165 days of surveying the results of the two phases were:

  • Surveys of all parking zones across 19 London boroughs and 5 cities
  • Over 6,500-line km captured in city environment and with multiple passes to avoid data occlusions
  • 1 million points of data captured per second
  • 19 terabytes of raw data collected
  • 52 terabytes of data delivered
  • 27 features extracted per controlled parking zone
  • Final relative accuracy better than 1.5 cm
  • Final absolute accuracy better than 4 cm
  • Maximised value – mobile mapping reduces the average survey time by 85% project compared to traditional survey methods

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