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Posted by: hra002

July 13, 2016

Hovermap is a 3D lidar mapping payload suitable for small rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). It utilises our proprietary Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) solution to generate 3D point clouds (as used in Zebedee) and therefore does not require GPS. This allows low-cost, high-resolution UAV-based lidar mapping both indoors and outdoors.

Hovermap payload
Hovermap payload
Hovermap payload mounted to UAV
Hovermap payload mounted to UAV








Hovermap Payload
The payload is a self-containted unit and can therefore be mounted to any suitable rotorcraft UAV without the need for autopilot integration. As the unit rotates is produces a full spherical field of view around the UAV with minimal occlusion from the UAV airframe. This makes it possible to map above, below and all around simultaneously so Hovermap is suitable for mapping indoors, underground and underneath overhanging structures such as bridges.

Map Generation
Lidar data is logged onboard to removable storage media during a mapping flight and then uploaded to a server for processing. Multiple maps with overlapping portions can automatically be combined, or combined with Zebedee-generated maps.


  • Asset management
  • Infrastructure and building inspection
  • Forensic crime scene mapping
  • Underground mine mapping
Lidar Range Up to 30m (15m outdoors)
Angular Field of View 360 x 360 degrees
Max Map Size Unlimited*
Data Acquisition Speed Up to 41,600 measurement points/sec
Recommended Flight Speed 1-2 m/s (scene and spin rate dependant)
Spin Rate 1-2 Hz (adjustable to suite scene and flight speed)
Angular Resolution 0.65 ° vertical, 7.2° horizontal (@2Hz spin rate)
3D Measurement Accuracy +/- 0.1% (typically)
Laser Safety Class Class 1 Eye Safe
Power 18 – 24W
Weight 1130g (current prototype)
Point Cloud Format .laz, .ply

*Individual maps limited by available onboard storage. Separate maps can be merged


Hovermap Mapping Applications


 Communication Towers

This communications tower and support buildings were mapped with the Hovermap UAV lidar payload in a few minutes. Three vertical transects were performed at a distance of 4-6m from the tower.

Hovermap scan of towerHovermap tower scan








Construction Site 

hovermap scan of construction site
hovermap scan of construction site

This construction site has been mapped a number of times with the Hovermap UAV lidar payload. The successive scans are automatically aligned allowing accurate monitoring of changes over time. The entire 100 x 70m site is mapped in a single 10min flight by flying 4 GPS transects approximately 12m apart. For the first three scans the flight altitude was 10m above the terrain and for the 4th scan the altitude was adjusted to remain at least 4m clear of the building roof.


Industrial Shed

This industrial shed was mapped by flying the Hovermap UAV lidar payload indoors for a few minutes.

Hovermap scan of industrial shed







Liquid Storage Tanks 

Hover map scans of Water Tank
Hover map scans of Water Tank

These liquid storage tanks were mapped using the Hovermap UAV lidar payload, each within a few minutes.






Parkes Radio Telescope

Hovermap scan of Parkes Radio Telescope
Hovermap scan of Parkes Radio Telescope

he Parkes Radio Telescope was mapped with the Hovermap UAV lidar payload by flying around it four times at different heights, in a total of 15 mins. Due to safety reasons it wasn’t possible to fly directly over the dish therefore,  the receiver and supporting structure were  mapped sparsely. The supporting structure of the dish was mapped from underneath, demonstrating the spherical field-of-view of the HoverMap payload.




Power Lines 

Hovermap scan of powerlines
Hovermap scan of power lines

Two sections of power distribution lines have been mapped with the Hovermap UAV lidar payload. These scans can be used to measure the distance between the power lines and the surrounding vegetation. The scans were obtained by flying within 5-8m of the power lines. Since Hovermap has a spherical field of view some of the lines could be mapped by flying underneath them. The flights were conducted by V-TOL Aerospace.




Sydney Cricket Ground

hovermap scan of Sydney Cricket Ground
hovermap scan of Sydney Cricket Ground

The Sydney Cricket Ground was mapped with the Hovermap UAV lidar payload by flying around the inside of the stadium once at around 5m above the lower seating area and a further two flights for the historic Members’ and Ladies’ Pavilions. For these pavilions three passes at different heights were performed, up to roof level. A slightly higher flight for the grandstand to the left of the Ladies Pavilion was also conducted. For safety reasons it wasn’t possible to fly higher and map the upper portions of the grandstands.The results from all the flights have been combined in the images below. The total flight time was approximately 40 mins. The flights were conducted by V-TOL Aerospace and the exercise was made possible by the SCG Trust.




*Hovermap conducting a scan of the Sydney Cricket Ground