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Bulent Yusuf Jun 28, 2019 4 min read

How LevelS3D mapped the République Métro in Paris, powered by NavVis

How LevelS3D mapped the République Métro in Paris, one of the largest subway stations in the city, in two days using the NavVis M6 and NavVis IndoorViewer.


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Founded in 2012, LevelS3D is a French company which specializes in 3D scanning applications for next-generation tablets and smartphones. Also of note is that LevelS3D has the distinction of being a NavVis mapping partner.

LevelS3D has a unique set of skills and expertise in the discipline of spatial intelligence, which is how they caught the attention of the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) Group, the state-owned operator of public transport in the city of Paris. RATP invited the NavVis partner to take on a significant – and challenging – surveying project.

The first discussions with RATP took place at the VivaTech event in Paris in 2018, where LevelS3D were showcasing their high-end indoor 3D scanning services. Recognizing the potential applications for their operations, RATP Group then tasked LevelS3D with the first-ever digitization project of a major metro station in the bustling capital.

RATP had an issue with water seepage in the République Métro in Paris. To address the problem, they contracted LevelS3D to map the entire station so that maintenance teams could identify sources of water seepage from any location using high-definition 360° imagery, and assess its status.

In short, the goals of the project were to:

  • Map the République Métro in Paris in its entirety;
  • Create an inventory of 360° panoramic images to help identify and assess water seepages;
  • Provide remote access for barrier-free site inspections.

The bigger the project, the bigger the challenge

The République Métro is one of the largest and busiest stations on the RATP network, where five separate subway lines converge beneath the Place de la République. The complex character of such a heavily trafficked venue creates a few challenges for indoor scanning:

  • Large, complex area – There are 12,000 sqm spread out across an extensive system of corridors of varying sizes and shapes, connecting the whole station on multiple levels.
  • Narrow time frame for capturing the data – Closing the station for the scanning project wasn't an option; the disruption of services and cost for RATP would have been immense.
  • Safety and Security – There are multiple security and access constraints for streaming the flow of people in and out of the station daily.

Point cloud of the République Métro in Paris displayed in NavVis IndoorViewer

Point cloud of the République Métro in Paris displayed in NavVis IndoorViewer

Versatile 3D scanning equipment for a complex environment

LevelS3D were undaunted by the scale of the scanning project, however, because they had a decisive advantage; the NavVis M6 Indoor Mobile Mapping System, a powerful instrument capable of fulfilling all the customer requirements regarding data quantity, quality, and time investment.

In preparation for executing the indoor scanning, RATP provided 2D floor plans and guidance so that LevelS3D could cover the whole area in the shortest time possible. The team also conducted a single on-site inspection before commencing work.

The on-site scanning process with the NavVis M6

On the first day, the mobility and versatility of the NavVis M6 allowed for a smooth scanning process throughout the whole station. Thanks to the 6D SLAM technology and the ability to adjust the device's height and width, features like uneven ramps and narrow spaces weren't an obstacle to cause any delays.

The scanning process took place over two nights, while the station was closed, between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. That's a tiny window of 4 hours per night. The allotted time proved to be more than sufficient, however, since the NavVis M6 is capable of scanning up to 30,000 sqm per day.

How is this possible? Every NavVis M6 has four laser scanners which gather point cloud data, plus six cameras that simultaneously capture high-resolution images of the surroundings. In effect, LevelS3D were able to quickly and reliably capture all the data from the République Métro without incurring any expensive setbacks.

République Métro in Paris as an immersive 360° walkthrough displayed in NavVis IndoorViewerRépublique Métro in Paris as an immersive 360° walkthrough displayed in NavVis IndoorViewer

Delivering one project, enabling multiple use cases

From RATP's perspective, the project upgraded their ongoing maintenance responsibilities at République Métro. Using the NavVis IndoorViewer, they can assess the condition of the tunnels quickly and more efficiently, and make faster decisions, all while having access to a single source of information on which they can collaborate and share insights.

Moreover, the project is already enabling other use cases for various departments of the RATP Group, including maintenance activity monitoring and the possibility of BIM modeling for other stations.

According to LevelS3D, the project counts as a major success for the company. Their value proposition – powered by NavVis technology – secured a cornerstone project with a client operating multiple public transport stations and associated facilities throughout France. And most importantly, it's paved the way towards more large-scale scanning projects on a nationwide basis.

Image credits: LevelS3D


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