"Terrestrial scanning" vs. "SLAM" vs. "drone survey"

Tripod-mounted vs. mobile vs. airborne

Terrestrial Scanning

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), also referred to as terrestrial LiDAR (light detection and ranging) or topographic LiDAR, acquires XYZ coordinates of numerous points on land by emitting laser pulses toward these points and measuring the distance from the device to the target.


Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is the process of constructing or updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of an agent's location within it. The Leica BLK2GO is one example of equipment that utilizes this technology. SLAM algorithms are used in navigation, robotic mapping and odometry for virtual reality or augmented reality. SLAM algorithms are tailored to the available resources, hence not aimed at perfection, but at operational compliance. Published approaches are employed in self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, planetary rovers, newer domestic robots and even inside the human body.

Drone surveys

Drones are continually proving to be powerful commercial tools, simultaneously providing adopters with leaps in efficiency and safety. The surveying and mapping industry is no exception. With their ability to capture data from above, drones have been successfully integrated into surveying workflows to perform land surveys, photogrammetry, 3D mapping, topographic surveying, and more.