how to do telecom infrastructure surveying with a mobile mapping camera

Case study: How one surveying co. reduced costs, scaled & captured better surveying data with a 360 mobile mapping camera

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Mosaic case study: How one professional UK surveying company was able to scale quickly, while reducing costs by 20%

Who is Catsurveys? 

Catsurveys is a leading UK professional surveying company. They specialize in utility surveying, underground utility detection (UUD), mobile mapping, building information modeling (BIM), ground penetrating radar (GPR), topographical surveys, telecommunications, and more. 

Catsurveys has made the best of the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on its markets and clients. They have adapted, becoming a lean business and scaling down their office space embracing hybrid working throughout the pandemic and establishing it as normal practice. They’ve even managed to grow and innovate in these unprecedented times, embodying one of their core values:

Drive continual improvement and innovation.

Catsurveys Values

In that spirit, they took the opportunity to improve one of their services during the pandemic: mobile mapping.  

What was the problem they were facing? 

In late 2020, one of Catsurveys’ Tier 1 telecommunications customers, presented Catsurveys with a challenge. The client was just starting to get into the PIA market and was looking for a solution that would speed up the surveying process and improve the quality of the data. 

telecom infrastructure surveying of landlines and FTTH - fiber to the home
Image credit

Catsurveys previously had undertaken mobile mapping and were able to set up the service using a new piece of equipment to re-enter, so to say, into the mobile mapping market. 

The equipment used proved to be an incredibly strong and reliable piece of machinery and a powerful tool in mobile mapping service although it raised some issues in the use for Telecoms Surveys:


1. Weight – The equipment was a two person lift onto the roof of the vehicle. and presented some risks to one of Catsurvey’s other values, safety: 

We never compromise on safety.

Catsurveys Values

Working with a 50+ kilo system meant that Catsurveys’ employees needed extra equipment to ensure safety when lifting the device.

2. Cost – The equipment used clocks in at about 1/2 million GBP, which is by no means a small amount. With this sort of financing, there was no way this solution would have been scalable if Catsurveys was looking to build a fleet of mobile mapping vehicles. 

3. Required resources – Due in large part to the weight of the equipment, as well as the need to have personnel within the vehicle at all times monitoring the workstation, this was without a doubt, a two-person job. 

4. Imagery – the images gathered by the equipment were not adequate with only 2×12 MP image sensors for only a total 24MP equirectangular image. While the point cloud and measurements were great, 

It’s not what the telecoms industry wanted. What they really wanted was the imagery, and the imagery we were collecting was not reaching their needs.

Dan Davis, Head of Delivery at Catsurveys

What was the mission?

So Dan and his team set about looking for a mobile mapping solution which was cost-effective, scalable and easier to manage in the field. Their research led them to several vendors of mobile mapping solutions, including Mosaic, and the Mosaic 51. 

They immediately liked the look of the product and comparing the M51 specs to other market solutions they felt it was the only solution which would meet their needs. In the field of vehicle mounted units, they did not see anything comparable and decided to buy two units.

It compared very competitively on technical specification alone, with everyone else out there on the market, and I think it still does.

What was the solution?

Catsurveys was immediately convinced that they had made the right decision. The M51 checked off all of the boxes (previously mentioned above) that made their previous mobile mapping solution inefficient for the job. 

the Mosaic 51 is a 360 degree mobile mapping camera specifically built for infrastructure surveying at scale
Mosaic 51 360-degree mobile mapping camera: ideal for infrastructure and telecom surveying

1. Weight – the Mosaic 51 weighs only 4.5 kilos, meaning that a single person can safely and easily mount the camera without the need for extra equipment and quicker.

2. Cost – The Mosaic 51 is considerably cheaper than the existing equipment (we’re not giving away details here, but MUCH more reasonable) allowing Catsurveys to purchase 2 to start, with the plan to buy 2 more in  2022.

which is why we’ve ended up with a couple of new cameras and still have the intent of buying more as our client base grows.

Dan Davis

3. Required resources – The Mosaic 51 comes with built-in processors, including a CPU and GPU, meaning all computing is done onboard without the need for an additional workstation or computer within the vehicle. Thanks to this and the light weight, the Mosaic 51 is rugged, robust, and operable by one person: installation, driving and collecting. 

4. Imagery – The Mosaic 51 contains 6x12MP image sensors for a total 72MP / 12K equirectangular image

….definition and depth of imagery is far better.

Dan Davis

What were the results? 

Dan summed up the results as such:

Our approach with your camera, absolute winner. There isn’t any part of the process where we’ve felt that we’re going backwards.

We’ve scaled a long way without increasing our site resources because 70% of work is done by the office resources we have (compared to traditional surveying methods)

We were able to move the price point of individuals down somewhere in the region of 40%, being able to work like this……quite an attractive proposition…..

That’s enabled us to stay competitive. With our client, it hasn’t cost us more, and they’re not paying any more. They have a much better outcome, and more importantly the pace. We can cover somewhere in the region of 3,500 homes in a day. Contrasted with one surveyor, capturing images, can cover about 200 homes per day.

On top of that, Dan commented about the technical support offered by the Mosaic team, saying that the turnaround time was ‘impressive’. 

For this sort of equipment, this makes you stand out from the crowd

High quality service

Conclusion

Are you in the UK and looking for a professional surveying company? Head over to Catsurveys to learn more about their solutions and say Mosaic sent you. 

Looking for similar results to what Catsurveys got? Contact the team here at Mosaic and we’ll be more than happy to help find your solution. 

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