Virtual Reality in Construction – Crossrail

Crossrail VR Site visits

A Virtual Reality toolkit for the Crossrail project.

Site visits to construction sites are essential. 

Crossrail is building a new railway for London and the South East England. As part of the project they are building 42km of new tunnels and eight sub-surface stations under one of the busiest cities in the world: London.

We know that it can be difficult to get everybody together in one location at the same time, and that site visits can have a disruptive effect on ongoing work.

More importantly, we also know that seeing what the site is really like is essential to fully understand what’s going on since things don’t always go according to plan.

Let's create a virtual reality toolkit that allows engineers to visit their building site.

Allowing engineers to visit whenever they want, from wherever they want. They can choose to visit the site on their own and leave comments for others to review, or to visit at the same time with colleagues anywhere in the world and share annotations together.

Showing the real situation.

We use data from laserscan and photogrammetry equipment to accurately map an environment. This can be done with tripod mounted scanners or dynamically with drones. The combination of these two types of data is very powerful.

Laserscan Data

The laserscan data is very accurate, displaying realistic dimensions, allowing users to make measurements in the virtual world that can be used for planning purposes.

Photogrammetry Data

Photogrammetry data is less accurate in terms of geometry, but gives an accurate colour representation. Combining the best attributes of both these datasets allows the creation of a functional virtual world.

Toolkit features.


Walk around the virtual environment naturally or teleport yourself to places that are further away.


Measure distances in 3D space and save them on your tablet. Pointing at measured distances on your tablet highlights them in the virtual environment.


An integrated camera function in the tablet allows the user to take pictures in the virtual environment that are saved for later use.


Leave Virtual post-it notes in 3D space for others to find.

Saving & Loading

Save your sessions and load them later. Or load the session of a colleague and see what comments they left.

Project Partner.

Helping us capture the data required for building the virtual models, using professional, high performance aerial drones.

This project was realised through Innovate 18, Crossrail's Innovation Programme in collaboration with Geocisa, Dragados and Hovering Solutions.