Laser scanning of Sweden

Photo: COWI A/S


In the spring of 2009, COWI A/S and Blom were assigned the project of collecting data for production of a nationwide height model of all Sweden, 450,000 km2 in total.

The data collection was started in August 2009 and is expected to take up to 4½ years. The data collection is performed with a laser scanner (LiDAR) mounted in an aircraft. 

The basis for what the Swedes call their "New National Height Model" is collection of more than 300 billion points from the air. The data collection is performed with the newest LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment installed in an aircraft. LiDAR is a laser scanner that works like a kind of echo sounder with laser pulse. Up to 150,000 "shots" can be captured each second. 

The climate in focus The large amount of data depicts the terrain in 3D and the data can be used in many contexts for analysis and planning within the fields of climate, environment, infrastructure, etc. Because of the increased focus on climate planning, the Swedish Environment Ministry is a major contributor to the project. 

New national height model
The services are defined in a framework agreement over a period of 4½ years. Besides the focussed efforts in the air to ensure data collection when weather allows, it takes great effort to calculate the large amount of data. In the first part of the period, the parties focussed on ensuring a mutual matching of expectations and understanding of the entire service. This effort is regarded as  a valuable investment, in particular in such a long-term project with several parties involved.   


Large need for capacityTo ensure the required capacity for the large data collection project, COWI works in close cooperation with Blom - another significant player in the mapping business.  
COWI also performs surveying
In connection with the production and control of the height model, a comprehensive surveying is carried out. COWI is represented in this work by  department 1402 and in 2010, approximately 500 points/areas will be surveyed in the vicinity of Stockholm, an area 1,5 times the size of Denmark. To perform the surveying with a satisfactory coverage of the scanned areas requires navigation in Skærgården.  

Leading supplier of mapping services To participate in a project of this size and duration is an important demonstration of COWI's position in the mapping market of northern Europe. Over a period of few years, COWI has been awarded several large laser scanning projects. The major LiDAR projects from 2009 to 2010 include nationwide projects in Lithuania, Finland and Sweden. 

LAST UPDATED: 12.04.2017