The process of geospatial data collection using mapping sensors on moving platforms such as cars, marine vessels and airplanes is called mobile mapping. Mobile mapping systems use global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology along with inertial navigation systems (INS) in order to enable fast and precise calculation of continuous 3D position, velocity, and attitude (yaw, pitch and roll) of a plane. The demand for spatial data has seen explosive growth in the recent past which has led to the evolution of mobile mapping system. These system have become more accurate and provide higher density data with reduction in both time as well as cost of data collection. Online digital maps, geo-reference videos and images are examples of mapping products that depend on accurate geospatial data collected from the mobile mapping systems. The time coordinated navigation sensors are integrated with digital imaging sensors so as to enable direct and accurate mapping of landscapes or objects. These navigation sensors determine position along with platform orientation, whereas remote sensors determine the points external to the platform at remote position and are predominantly called as imaging sensors. However, some additional sensors such as laser range finders in mobile mapping systems may also be used as remote sensors.
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The major mobile mapping applications include precise assessment of the conditions of road or highway for emergency response by local and federal governments. The internet mapping applications include aerial photography and satellite images for developing online maps as well as street level views. Mobile mapping system used in military and defense applications checks the changes in landscapes or any assets or troops movements. This system is also used in corporate asset as well as infrastructure management applications. The other applications of mobile mapping technology are in oil and gas sector and mining sector. In oil and gas industry, mobile mapping is used for the navigation of major pipelines, transmission lines as well as energy facilities and plants. In mining, mobile mapping is used for automated measurements of mobile mining equipment such as excavators.
The recent developments in GNSS, INS, as well as in digital camera technology are driving the growth of mobile mapping applications globally. The mobile mapping market is also witnessing traction with the entry of large number of commercial operated organizations in the market which led to the rapid advancement of various mapping technologies. The extensive use of internet and growing wireless communication networks aid this growth by allowing rapid, accurate and efficient transfer as well as processing of data. Unlike traditional techniques which were difficult to use in inaccessible areas, vehicular mobile mapping is much safe as well as user-friendly. The growing stress on accurate as well as time-saving methods of data generation coupled with the importance of inventory and asset management has also increased the adoption of mobile mapping technology globally. Camera orientation issues and high dependency on weather are the major factors restraining the growth of mobile mapping market. Customization and manual extraction capability in mobile mapping systems is anticipated to positively impact the growth of global mobile mapping market during the coming years. In August 2015, Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc. launched a compact mobile mapping solution consisting of a roof camera mounted on vehicles which is used for data collection for asset management, surveying, and topographic mapping.
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The major participants in the global mobile mapping market include Google Corporation, TomTom International BV., Leica Geosystems AG, Trimble Navigation Limited, Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., NovAtel Inc., Javad GNSS Inc., Teledyne Optech, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Immersive Media Company.