London Heathrow is the UK’s largest airport and the world’s busiest international airport, carrying over 68 million passengers and 1.3 million tons of cargo each year. The airport was first opened in 1946 as a small grass airfield. Much has changed since then, with the total size of Heathrow now measuring 1,227 hectares and boasting 5 terminals with the refurbished terminal 2 being the latest to open in 2014.
Leica Geosystems was heavily involved with the building of terminal 5 in 2008. The project was huge; involving not just the terminal building and new control tower but also the two satellite buildings, 60 aircraft stands, extensions to the Piccadilly Underground line and Heathrow Express, an M25 spur road and multi-storey car park to house 4,000 vehicles.
Leica Geosystems supplied TCA2003 total stations to monitor tunnelling operations. The instruments were part of a fibre-optic network of data feeding into Leica’s GeoMos monitoring software. GPS instruments played a significant role and included two System 500 reference stations to provide permanent survey control for the site. Also supplied were 3D machine control systems for the paving machines laying tarmac and concrete, and a Leica HDS laser scanner for as-built surveys and software. Throughout, Leica GeoMoS software collected data from instruments to check that real-time accuracy was within the 10mm spec.