Making invisible Italy visible – Florence

We just arrived in the most romantic Italian city – Florence. While taking a quick espresso coffee to flush away the 10hrs drive I am asking myself: Is there a huge safe to shelter all the treasures Florence possesses?

It is the last episode of the trilogy BBC revealed how Florence’s wonderful facades and artworks mask a hidden story of intrigue and secrecy using Leica Geosystems’ state-of-the-art technology.

One powerful dynasty was behind it all – the Medicis, godfathers of the Renaissance. An incredible number of artistic personalities determined the image of the Renaissance city: Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, and Sandro Botticelli, just to mention a couple – truly the Silicon Valley for arts.

In Florence we planned to use the Pegasus:Backpack . Why? Capturing reality in old historic European cities is challenging for two reasons: first, most city centre are pedestrian areas, so collecting data with a car is just not possible. Second, Florence city architecture is particular and the dense city center with tall buildings – called Palazzi – is challenging every GNSS Antenna. Is again here where SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) provides robust updates to the trajectory calculation and overall accuracy.

There is also a third, less technical point – beauty. Being in Florence implies design and art – we felt more compliant to wander its streets using the Red Dot Product Design Award winner survey equipment and we were right.

backpack in pisa

Just one hour driving distance from Florence is Pisa with its “Piazza dei Miracoli” or Square of Miracles. Enclosed to it you will discover the most iconic building – the Pisa Tower. Constructing the Pisa Tower was a technical challenge for the architects at that time – scanning the spiral staircase today would be an impossible challenge without Leica Geosystems’ mobile mapping and reality capture solution: the Pegasus:Backpack. We just have to wear the system, lighten on the flash light module and climb the 293 stairs up to reach the top floor of the 54.75 meters tall tower.


Thankfully the Pegasus:Backpack weights only 12kg, that is almost the weight tourists carry with a fully equipped mirror reflex camera bag.

From the top floor of the Pisa Tower you have a stunning vista to the cathedral and baptistery – there is no better place to conclude our Italian adventure with the Leica Pegasus product line and BBC.

Read more about the quest to create the most extensive 3D map ever created of three of the most stunning Italian cities: Naples, Venice and Florence.

Watch the latest BBC documentary series featuring Florence here (UK only) or look at the video below to explore the secret corridor that allowed Florence’s ruthless rulers to travel through their city unseen.


Alessandro Nuzzo

Written by Alessandro Nuzzo Product Line Manager Mobile Mapping Leica Geosystems

  • Recent Posts

    More >
  • Never Miss an Update

  • Most Popular Tags