IGI - Integrated Geospatial Innovations

Scanning the "Windberbahn" in Dresden with the IGI RailMapper, based on the Z+F Profiler

This article describes the case study: Scanning the "Windberbahn" in Dresden with the IGI RailMapper, based on the Z+F Profiler.

Project & Objectives

It is one objective of Windbergbahn e. V. to preserve the monument “Windbergbahn“. This includes documenting the historic train tracks, the surrounding area and buildings next to the tracks, as well as the maintenance of the complete network - for what the association has been responsible since 2010.

IGI started this project to support the association with its objectives. Together with Prof. Zimmermann from HTW Dresden and the Windbergbahn e. V., the survey track from “Dresden-Gittersee“ to “Freital-Birkigt“ was chosen. This track is very demanding because of Rmin= 80m of several curves. The part from “Dresden-Gittersee“ to “Possendorf“ is out of service.

The following aspects were of great importance:

• Examination of the track‘s positions
• Calculation of 3D profiles
• Creating digital models of the surrounding area
• Measurement of the clearance gauge


On October 25th 2013 the RailMapper, based on a Nissan Navara, arrived at the Windbergbahn. The vehicle is equipped with a hi-rail system which enables the system to operate both on rail tracks (RailMapper) and roads (StreetMapper). The RailMapper was rerailed at a railroad crossing and started the survey from “Dresden-Gittersee“ to “Freital-Birkigt“.

One Z+F Profiler was mounted on the RailMapper. The laser scanner scans the surroundings and forms a landscape 3D model, using the position information from TERRAcontrol. This 3D model is the basis for many applications, such as clearance measurements and measuring the superelevation.

The survey was done by a train operator of the Windbergbahn e. V. This took about 3 hours because of the maximum speed of 10 km/h (6.25 mph). The low speed was selected to obtain very dense scanning profiles.

After the survey, the RailMapper was presented to an interested expert audience at “Dresden-Gittersee“.


The Z+F Profiler proved to be the ideal laser scanner for this project, due to its flexibility and high data sample rate. By being classified “eye-safe“ according to laser class 1, survey missions can be carried out without any restrictions in public areas in the future. This feature creates new possibilities in the field of mobile-mapping.

The project could be done without any problems in connection with the RailMapper, which also proved to be very reliable and flexible.

The results of the Windbergbahn measuring run were processed by students of HTW Dresden. The captured data can be used for measuring clearance gauges, examining the track‘s positions, calculating 3D profiles, creating digital models of the surrounding areas and carrying out interference checks.

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