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Downtown Vienna with its world-famous cultural sites and architectural features is most definitely worth conservation. One way to archive at least a digital 3D imprint is laser scanning. While urban mapping with airborne or mobile laser scanning is fast and efficient, the resulting point clouds might not have the required resolution or might experience gaps due to shadowing. Terrestrial laser scanning has the potential to overcome these limitations. However, it has long been considered time-consuming and labour-intensive both while capturing and also while processing the data.
In order to challenge this, we performed a field test with the new RIEGL VZ-400i terrestrial laser scanner. For eight hours, in the night from 2nd to 3rd of June 2016, one single operator employed the instrument throughout the city center of Vienna. He managed to take 514 high-resolution laser scans with approximately 9m between the scan positions.
The data acquired in the course of this test impressively demonstrates the potential of state-of-the-art terrestrial laser scanning to preserve detailed 3D-information of urban environments within limited amount of time. This paper describes the complete workflow from the one touch operation in the field up to the automatic registration process of the collected laser scans.