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Handheld lidar in the land of ice and snow (and cold)

Posted by Sean Higgins on 12/17/19 9:03 AM

Sooner or later, you are bound to face rain, snow, wind, or another harsh weather condition that will stop you from working on your 3D capture job. But how cold can it get before your scanner stops working and forces you indoors?

To answer that question, we talked to WIESO, a scanning services company and Paracosm reseller based in Oslo that contends with harsher weather conditions than most. They told us about a recent trip to the far northeast of Norway where they tested a PX-80 handheld lidar scanner in extreme cold.

Here’s a quick video of the project, then a first-hand review of how their PX-80 performed.



3D scanning and 360° photo capture for the inside and outside of three 50+ year-old buildings in Vadsø, Norway. The total capture would cover 8500 square meters. Once the company completes processing and final modeling, the deliverable will be a virtual tour on the Cupix platform and a full BIM model derived from the scans.



As WIESO's CEO Soroush Kamyab explains, “the mission was the farthest north (and east) we’ve been to date.” That meant:

  • Winter days were even shorter than in Oslo, giving the team only a few hours of sunlight to work.
  • Even when the sun was out, the temperature could drop as low as -5° C (23° F).
  • Since the project was close to the Varangerfjord, the northernmost fjord in Norway, meant high winds were likely.


Field Notes

Kamyab tells us that WIESO was extremely lucky with weather: conditions were clear, wind was low, and the scanning went off without a hitch. “It was as if Vadsø had been getting ready for our arrival,” Kamyab says. “We managed to gather all our 3D and 360° content during the limited sunlight hours, without too much wind or snow as we went about our work.”


How the PX-80 performed

But what about the cold? WIESO says the PX-80 didn't cause a single problem during their scan job. “With its extra battery pack," Kamyab says, "the PX-80 is well equipped to meet these and even lower temperatures, so it went rather smooth.”

He says that the hot-swappable batteries keep the scanner running no matter how cold it gets. "We have done scanning in even colder environments—down to -9° C (15° F)—so this was a walk in the park," he adds. The real limitation is whether the scan operator can dress warmly enough to go outside and capture the scan in the first place.



WIESO will continue to use PX-80 for its reliable cold-weather scanning. They said the biggest surprise during their time scanning was the number of people who thought the scan operator was a police officer—and slowed their cars dramatically to avoid receiving a ticket.

Topics: Customer, Case Study