What is Mobile Mapping

What is mobile mapping? What are its benefits? Read all you need to know before implementing Mobile Mapping Systems in your company.

25 June 2020, by Mario Sabatino RiontinoAsk a question

Figure 1: Photo by @gletham GIS, Social, Mobile Tech Images on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/gisuser/
Figure 1: Photo by @gletham GIS, Social, Mobile Tech Images on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/gisuser/

Why Collecting Geospatial Data

Whenever your objective is urban planning, street & road mapping, onshore & offshore mapping, emergency response planning, or designing digital maps, you might need to collect geospatial data. Geospatial data indicate where objects are absolutely or relatively positioned on Earth.

Over the last few years, Mobile Mapping has become one of the most popular geospatial processes, enabling companies and researchers to capture data faster and create accurate 3D models, also in difficult conditions.

What is Mobile Mapping

Mobile Mapping is the process of collecting geospatial data from mobile vehicles such as cars, drones, boats, trains or aeroplanes. Vehicles could be equipped with a range of sensors:

  • Positioning (GNSS, GPS)
  • Cameras
  • LiDAR
  • Radar
  • More remote sensing systems

Figure 2: Mobile Mapping Drone. Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash
Figure 2: Mobile Mapping Drone. Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash

Through these systems, it is possible to collect:

  • Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR): optical remote-sensing technique that uses laser light to densely sample the surface of the earth.
  • Street-level (planar and panorama) imagery: photographs taken from the perspective of pedestrians or moving vehicles.
  • Aerial imagery: photographs taken of an area from above using any manned or unmanned aerial vehicle.

Applications of Mobile Mapping Systems

A significant number of cities such as Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Vienna are implementing mobile mapping solutions for improving urban and road planning, as well as creating new digital services for their citizens. Also, large companies like Siemens, STRABAG and Airbus are adopting these solutions for improving manufacturing, construction and inspections.

Its applications range over several use-cases:

  • Road/rail network management
  • Asset management
  • Site documentation for oil and gas, mining, energy, historical
  • Construction Site monitorin
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Industrial inspections
  • Street view data collection
  • Surveillance and security
  • ... and many others

Benefits of using Mobile Mapping

  • Speed: Mobile Mapping is much quicker than traditional surveying methods. In fact, according to a study by the Association for Project Management (APM), it could be up to 40 times faster than traditional static scanning tools (e.g. tripods).

  • Efficiency: Mobile mapping systems improve your scanning efficiency. For large projects with budget restrictions and time pressure, the use of mobile mapping devices allows you to be faster and take on more projects, with your existing workforce. Hence, it is significantly more cost-effective.

  • Flexibility: Adding a Mobile Mapping System to your product portfolio means you can be more flexible about price when negotiating with clients, combining different combinations of speed and data quality. In the end, the customer could pick the accuracy level that fits their needs, or mix and match accuracy levels for individual spaces throughout the asset.

  • Security: Last but not least, mobile scanners can be operated remotely, through a pulley system, autonomous vehicles or UAV, making it possible to survey and map inaccessible, dangerous or hostile environments.

Data Protection & Privacy

Particularly when collecting street-level or aerial imaging, Mobile Mapping Systems (MMS) often capture personal data such as faces, bodies and license plates. As we discussed in this article, these are the most fundamental and highly visible elements of our identity, thus they fall under the definition of personally identifiable information (PII) according to the GDPR.

Within the regulation, it is recommended to implement privacy by design: companies and organisations implement technical and organisational measures at the earliest stages of the product/operation design in such a way that safeguards privacy and data protection principles right from the start.

Most privacy laws around the world are consent-based, i.e. require explicit consent from the data subject. However, when you consider large imagery dataset, it could be time-consuming and costly to get explicit consent from hundreds of thousands, or even millions of individuals.

Since anonymized data are not considered personal information (Recital 26), anonymisation has became the standard procedure when collecting and processing data.

Ready to get started? Check this 📝list of things you need to consider when starting with the anonymization of mobile mapping street-level imagery.


  • Mobile Mapping are vehicle-mounted cameras, sensors and lidars that collect geospatial data.
  • Its applications range over several use-cases for public and private organizations.
  • Using Mobile Mapping Systems is cost-effective, easy-to-use and strengthen your product portfolio.
  • Data protection measures (e.g. image blurring) need to be included while collecting image and video data.

About Celantur


Celantur offers fully-automated image and video anonymization solutions to help companies and organizations comply with privacy laws. Our technology detects several objects to be anonymized such as faces, bodies, license plates, vehicles and facades, and automatically blurs them:

✓ We anonymize all kinds of RGB-imagery: planar, panorama and video

✓ Our cloud platform is capable of anonymizing around 200.000 panoramas per day and 90.000 video frames per hour.

✓ Industry-grade anonymization quality: detection rate up to 99%

Our product is developed specifically for street-level and aerial imagery, and works well with various systems:

  • Trimble MX7/MX9
  • Leica Pegasus:Two
  • GeoSLAM ZEB Discovery
  • NavVis VLX
  • DJI
  • Wingtra
  • and many more

Data Protection Standards

Data protection is our core business. That's why, to operate as a data processor, we have robust measures in place to comply with the GDPR and other data protection laws:

  • Images are processed in GDPR-certified data centres in the European Union
  • External Data Protection Officer at service
  • All data and storage devices are encrypted
  • Annual Data Protection Audit
  • Up-to-date Documentation: Technical and Organizational Measures ("TOMs"), Records of Processing Activities and Data Processing Agreement


Under request, we offer our magnetic shield, allowing you to mitigate possible concerns about data collection and processing by communicating that identities are protected and anonymized through our service.

Figure 3: Magnetic shield “Identity Protected by Celantur.com”
Figure 3: Magnetic shield “Identity Protected by Celantur.com”

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