Top 3 Trends in Laser Scanning
Clients often ask, “What do I see as the current trends in laser scanning?”. Currently, I see three trends in the laser scanning industry.
First, we are seeing the use of laser scanning become adapted as an industry standard. A couple of years ago many firms had never heard of laser scanning. Today we get calls from people almost every day that tell us that they have never used laser scanning, but have a project in mind that it might benefit. We are also seeing many firms that have recently tried laser scanning and have told us they want to use it on new projects.This tells me that laser scanning has become a mainstream way of creating as-builts.
The second trend that I find fascinating, and truthfully a little scary, is the use of drones in the world of laser scanning. A year ago I would have told someone that I probably would not be in the market for a drone within the next 3-5 years and I would have also said that the FAA would shut this market down before it ever became a reality. Today I would tell you that there are many out there purchasing drones and beginning to “play around” with them for this use. There are certainly some rules and regulations that will play out here, but it appears the FAA is losing the battle over the use of this technology. Our firm has not yet made the investment into purchasing a drone, however could in the near future. Many have probably heard companies like Amazon announcing that they are going to be delivering packages to our doorsteps with drones. Ready or not, here come the drones!
The third trend in laser scanning is the use of mobile scanning. Today, mobile scanning is used by DOT’s for roadways and bridges. Currently these mobile scanning systems rely on GPS. Although it is not to market yet, mobile scanning will be used to scan INSIDE buildings in the future. When this happens it will make laser scanning quicker, easier and more complete – which means the cost to capture a facility will decrease. There is no doubt that in the ever-advancing world of laser scanning; it is an exciting time to be part of this industry.
Speaking of technological advances, I thought you would enjoy these quotes:
"640k (of memory) ought to be enough for anybody." – Bill Gates was rumored to have said this in 1981; however denies ever making the statement.
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." – Ken Olsen (1977), founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (Olsen did actually say that, but he said later that the quote was taken out of context, and that he was referring not to PCs but to computers set up to control houses.)
“I think there is a world market for about five computers.” – IBM’s president, Thomas J. Watson in the early 1940’s.
"Technology eh? There’s no future in it." – Sean Brett
Often I am asked to justify to upper management that laser scanning is worth the expense. Truthfully, several years back it probably was not justifiable on many projects, but today with the advances in technology this is no longer true. Still, many people find themselves having to sell against this outdated idea.
Weighing the benefits of laser scanning versus using traditional means to “as-built” a site:
In summary, not only is laser scanning: safer, faster and more accurate, but all of this leads to it be a cost-effective method for creating as-builts of a facility.
One bit of advice – the sooner that laser scanning is used in a construction or renovation project, the more value the client will typically receive from it. First, the data or deliverables can be sent out with the Request for Proposal allowing bidders to have more information about the project. This will lead to less unknowns and more accurate proposals. Second, this will also minimize or eliminate change orders associated with these unknowns or not having accurate enough information for clash detection or pre-fabrication of expensive parts and also eliminating schedule delays due to these field changes.