Using 3D laser scanning services to create maps of Rio's biggest favela

rocinha is one of the largest urban slums in latin america

By using 3D laser scanning services to scan a favela, Google Maps is able to help those living in the slums by giving them accurate maps of their homes.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most well-known cities in the world, mainly due to it hosting several international sporting events. Yet despite its fame, Rio is not immune to serious poverty and social problems.

One particular area that has successfully brought attention to this problem is Rocinha. With a population of between 150,000–300,000 residents, it is one of the largest urban slums in Latin America. 3D scanning services have been used here to help people understand their own community better, giving them accurate maps to guide them through its streets and alleys.

What is a favela?

Today, Rio alone has over 1000 favelas – informal settlements that are home to over 20% of the city’s population. 3D laser scanning services have been used by Google to cover all these favelas for its 3D maps service, which displays 3D models on a map platform.

Favelas were formed by African-Brazilian migrants who settled in Rio’s hillside slums during the early twentieth century. At this time, many migrants were forced into these homes by wealthy landowners who wanted to keep wages low. The term ‘ favela ‘ comes from the Portuguese word for a type of palm plant that was found in abundance on these hillsides.

The 3D scanning services used to scan Rocinha have allowed locals to input the names of streets, alleys, and other features into 3D maps for those who can’t read or write. 3D maps have 3D models that depict the 3D scanning services in each community.

How 3D laser scanning services work

3D scanning services work by using 3D scanning to send lasers, radar, or lidar 3D scanning services into an area. 3D scanners collect measurements based on the time it takes for each pulse to bounce back. 3D scanners then use these measurements to compute distances and produce 3D models of an object. The 3D models are stored as a mesh of triangular polygons that 3D scanning services can then be used to 3D print objects, 3D model buildings, 3D model cars, or 3D model people for 3D printing.

Rocinha’s 3D scans

3D scanning has become an integral part of the 3D printing process, helping 3D printers create sharper and more accurate 3d models. The 3D scanning services used in Rio de Janeiro have helped locals map their own neighborhoods to better understand where they are. This is just one example of how 3D scanning services can be used for good.


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