GeoSmart Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Mapping New Zealand with the RAPIDcV

The car is the brainchild of our GM Phil Allen who says “This is the most advanced mapping car to drive New Zealand roads. We have driven all of New Zealand’s roads with differential GPS before, but this car has leading edge technology. New technologies demand superior quality data.”

While other cars are getting pretty good information and imagery, pretty good isn’t enough for today’s needs. This car is collecting up to a terabyte of data a month from five cameras catching lane information, street signs, turn restrictions and points of interest. We are capturing lane information, road curb and other information of value to councils, road maintenance, utility companies (managing roadside assets) and much more. We are also taking a 360 degree panorama photo every 50 metres.

So what’s leading edge? How about an IMU? This is an Inertial Measurement Unit as used in modern missile tracking systems and allows us to capture data with accuracy of 15 centimetres, even when the GPS signals are weak or lost. With traditional differential GPS accuracy is lost when the satellite signal is poor such as behind volcanic hill shadows and particularly in places in the South Island where the satellites are very low on the horizon or totally obscured from the GPS antenna.

The car is capturing valuable information including inclinometer (the rate of incline and decline of the hill which can be useful for all sorts of things beyond navigation, for example in data for cycling, training for marathons, car rallies. It is also measuring road camber.  By providing road camber information to services such as Fleet Management it may be possible to reduce truck accidents where they approach corners to fast for the height and load, based on knowing the angle of the road camber through corners.

Nothing has been spared when it comes to accuracy. The nature of the work means that we had to use a SUV and the trade off is body roll. To compensate for this we have sonic technology which measures the body roll and this is used in data calculation algorithms making sure that our data is highly accurate.

This unique vehicle is going to enable us to provide for the ever changing demands of new technologies with the best national data ever collected in New Zealand. It is part of our continuous ongoing driving program supporting a range of products including the leading brands in Car Navigation (brands such as Navman and TomTom) and Fleet Management (brands such as Navman, Xlerate, Astrata) as well as clients who will use the imagery to reduce the need to do their own driving.

GeoSmart has built a console to monitor the information and is also creating plug-ins to allow the visual data to be used in conjunction with GIS systems such as Intergraph and has the ability to pinpoint the location of street hardware such as power poles and transformers.

When people see the vehicle, we want them to know what we are up to, so they will understand that we are working to enhance the mapping products and services they use including websites like AA Maps and Wises, the Map Books they carry in their cars and the car navigation devices they use.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | car navigation, driving, driving directions, gps, lbs, maps, new zealand, satnav, Uncategorized, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments