Survey and BIM Modeling La Spezia Port Area


Commercial port La Spezia


START 4.0 Competence Center




Survey and BIM modeling of a portion of the Port of La Spezia.


The survey involved a large area close to the coastal strip of the commercial port of La Spezia, more precisely from the Stagnoni parking lot (near the Lerici highway exit on the A15) to the Garibaldi pier entrance gate.
The entire area, which covers about 3 road kilometers and about 82,000 square meters, includes three large truck parking lots (the Stagnoni parking lot, large and small, and the Truck Village), two car parking lots close to the entrance to the port area under the highway viaduct, a tunnel, and the area before the access gate to the Garibaldi Pier.
To facilitate the framing of the survey, including for the purpose of subsequent modeling, the entire area was divided into five sectors.


The areas into which the project was divided to facilitate surveying and modeling were as follows:

– “Pier”-area between the gate of Garibaldi Pier to the beginning of the descent of the tunnel;

– “Gallery” – from the beginning of the descent from the side of the “pier” to the entrance of the ramp to the exit from the port area;

– “Truck Village”-this area includes both the roadway between the tunnel exit and the security checkpoint to the Stagnoni parking lot and the parking lot called Truck Village;

– “Exit” – exit area for heavy vehicles from the port area, from the overpass over the entrance to the Truck Village parking lot to the entrance;

– “Stagnoni”-this area includes: the Stagnoni parking lot (both the large part abutting the highway exit and the smaller part abutting the highway viaduct), the two parking lots under the viaduct, and the access control area.

In addition to the road system and parking lots, the survey included the external parts of the buildings in the area (the prefabricated modules in the parking lots and under the highway viaduct, the office buildings at the entrance and exit, and the building in the Truck Village parking lot) for “closed volume” modeling of them.


The survey of the entire area was carried out with a static laser scanner, given the high precision required by the Contracting Authority’s tender, mounted on a tripod that scans and photographs 360° from a fixed point.

To cover the entire area, 198 stations were carried out in three full days of work. All scanning points were carefully identified, trying not to leave any uncovered areas consistent with the safety of the operators engaged in survey operations.

The total scans generated a cloud of 13338 million points. In the tunnel section, precisely for the safety of both the operators and the instrumentation used, it was possible to carry out the stations only from the part of the exit lane where vehicle transit was minimal, unlike the other lane (toward the Garibaldi Pier gate) which is heavily trafficked by vehicles at high speed.

High-visibility black and white circular targets were used to enable good docking between the various stations carried out in the tunnel section, which ensured proper alignment between stations. The georeferencing of the survey was performed by beating 9 points with GNSS station and hooked to two cornerstones in the port area. The result was a point cloud georeferenced in Gauss-Boaga coordinates fused West as requested by the Contracting Station.

For each station carried out, both the point cloud and a high-resolution 360° spherical image were produced and then exported in jpg format. From the point cloud generated by the laser scanner, the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) was derived, which is necessary for the next stage of BIM modeling of the entire area. In addition to the road system and parking lots, the survey included the external parts of the buildings in the area (the prefabricated modules in the parking lots and under the highway viaduct, the office buildings at the entrance and exit, and the building in the Truck Village parking lot) for “closed volume” modeling of them. The result of the survey carried out is dense colored and geo-referenced point clouds, which were analyzed, discretized and subsequently used as a certain basis for BIM modeling.

In the post-production phase of the point clouds, a “cleaning” of all scans was performed from the “noise” generated by the passage of heavy vehicles throughout the survey; parked vehicles were also eliminated due to scans taken at different times.


The survey was carried out with the Leica RTC 360 laser scanner, an instrument that integrates an extremely powerful laser pump capable of measuring two million points per second with an advanced HDR image capture system. HDR is a technology that extends the dynamic range of an image and shows details in shadow and light, allowing the creation of images that are as close as possible to the actual amount of light in a specific scene, creating and managing images with a high “Dynamic Range.”

The main post production phase of the point clouds was done with Leica’s Cyclone Register 360 software while the field scans were checked and pre-aligned directly at the survey stage using the Cyclone Field 360 application.

DTM production, discretization and cloud cleaning were done with Autodesk’s software: Recap Pro and InfraWorks.

Next, the creation of a single federated Data Model containing all the information inherent to the planned level of design/restoration was carried out; the creation of an accurate reconstruction of the built environment and the physical/morphological context of the area under consideration in order to carry out simulations of optimization scenarios for any operation related to port gate access.

BIM Authoring software was used for BIM processes for modeling, management and automation of work activities, aimed at increasing the quality of available information, ensuring a high degree of reliability on all operation and maintenance activities (facility management). Specifically, the software used to best execute the various workflows were: Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Civil3D, and Autodesk Infraworks (AEC Suite Release 2021) and special applications that enabled the management, visualization, and processing of point clouds within Autodesk software, so as to handle any kind of graphic/non-graphic information, and to enable the drafting of technical drawings (plan views, sections, elevations, etc.) and renderings (photorealistic 3D images).

The BIM approach is Level 2 and compliant with UNI 11337 and UNI EN ISO 16739, adopting BIM protocols for the development of 3D data models and IFC.

The LOD for BIM modeling, according to the general scale provided in the UNI standard

11337-4:2017 is the LOD E.

The resulting Federated Model, also framed in its context with a virtual representation from Autodesk Infraworks software, faithfully represents the actual state of affairs, ensuring that the quantities, dimensions, shape, position and orientation of each object correspond to the actual data.


3 road kilometers and 82,000 square meters

Type of relief


Total scans

198 setup

Cloud points

13338 million points

Instrumentation used

Leica RTC360 Laser Scanner

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