What Are the Benefits to Laser Scanning in Color?
Greyscale point cloud
Intensity point cloud
Colorized point cloud
The default for construction-grade 3D laser scanning is intensity or greyscale. This refers to the coloring of the point cloud inside of software such as Revit, Recap, and TruViews. Data can be viewed in intensity (RGB), or greyscale (black and white). The scanner does not need light to capture information in intensity or greyscale, it can capture data in complete darkness.
Some 3D laser scanners are equipped with digital cameras that capture high-quality color and texture information of a building or site. The scanner performs a second rotation after the initial scan is completed, takes hundreds of color pictures, stitches them together, and applies full color to a 3D point cloud. Color laser scanning combines the benefits of a photo (or photogrammetry) with the precision of laser scanning. To complete a full color laser scan, the building or site must have good lighting.
Color Laser Scanning Offers Many Benefits:
- Easier to Visualize
Color laser scans make point clouds easier to visualize. Construction materials, MEP, and GPR markings can be easily viewed and detected with color scanning. Color is most helpful in complex environments, when it can be difficult to orient yourself. For example, in a colorized point cloud, a client can easily follow a pipe or GPR markings by its painted/insulated color.
In a colorized point cloud, a client can easily follow a pipe by its painted or insulated color.
- Identify Pipes and Labels
In many facilities, pipes, especially those carrying gases, liquids, or other chemicals are color-coded for safety. Additionally, they may have labels identifying the material being conducted. Clients can easily follow a pipe through a building or differentiate one pipe among several because the colors are easy to see. Likewise, labels are easier to read because of the high level of contrast and clarity.
- No Need for Site Revisits
Laser scanning captures complete and accurate as-built data, eliminating the need for return visits to the site. With a color scan, clients are able to easily identify the elements they are working with from inside the point cloud, without having to reference outside images or record drawings.
- Capture Extreme Materials and Texture
A color laser scan can capture a nearly true-to-life experience, rendering high-detail photorealistic textures, materials, and other elements. For mixed reality, virtual reality, or augmented reality, color scanning can be used to create detailed 3D mesh files – the perfect element for most visualization applications. For construction projects, a color scan can be used to create a detailed mesh model of equipment or an entire space for clash detection or visualization purposes.
- User-Friendly Images
RealViews, TruViews, JetStream and BubbleViews offer user-friendly image style views for the client. In full color, these free programs provide complete project data including points, images, models, and more in the browser – no install or files required. Imagine an interactive 360-degree viewer that allows the use of HDR imagery and gives users the ability to fly through the point cloud.
- Virtual Design Planning
The data obtained through color laser scanning can be used as a tool for virtual design planning. That captured point cloud data allows engineers and contractors to see a virtual layout of complex spaces, such as a mechanical room, for example. The data collected helps design piping in a new space, and provides more accurate measurements when retrofitting an existing space.
Virtual design planning showing items to be removed in red.
Virtual design planning showing items to be added in blue.
An intensity or greyscale point cloud from a laser scan still provides vast amounts of data and information, particularly if the site’s lighting is not adequate. However, there are many benefits from a full color laser scan.