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 Riontino

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 (MM) has become one of the most popular geospatial processes in the world, 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

Applications of Mobile Mapping Systems

Mobile Mapping Systems could be applied in several use-cases for construction and mapping:

  • Road network management
  • Rail network management
  • Asset inspections
  • Site documentation for oil and gas, mining, energy, historical
  • Construction Monitoring
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Architecture and City Planning, 3D City Models
  • Street view data collection
  • Surveillance and security

Benefits of using Mobile Mapping

Mobile mapping devices are fairly easy to use, thus requiring minimal training for non-experts.

Mobile Mapping is conducted 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).

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.

Also, they are fairly easy-to-use, thus requiring minimal training for non-experts. At the same time, you will be able to expand your services and offerings, improving your customer retention with a more compelling set of deliverables than your competitors.

Adding a MMS to your product portfolio means you can be more flexible about price when negotiating with clients, combining different combinations of speed and data quality. At 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.

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.

To summarize the benefits of Mobile Mapping:

  • Faster than traditional surveying techniques
  • Cost-effective for larger projects
  • Easy-to-use
  • Innovative service for your product portfolio
  • Operated remotely

Data Protection & Privacy

Mobile Mapping Systems capture images of pedestrians and other vehicles, therefore data protection is key. Particularly when using planar or aerial imaging, MMS often collect personal data like faces, bodies and license plates.

As we discussed extensively 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) and need to be protected according to the data protection laws (e.g. GDPR). Measures such as image and video blurring are necessary to comply with the legal requirements. It is also recommended to implement these technical and organisational measures at the earliest stages of the product/service development, to ensure privacy right from the start (privacy by design).

Ready to get started with mobile mapping? Before that, 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
  • Using Mobile Mapping Systems is cost-effective, easy-to-use and strengthen your product portfolio
  • However, data protection measures (e.g. image blurring) need to be included while collecting image and video data

About Celantur

Celantur offers automated anonymization for images & videos to comply with privacy laws. Specialized in Mobile Mapping, it works as well with automotive and parking space companies. Our technology automatically detects the objects to be anonymized and blur 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%

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