What Is 3D Laser Scanning?
3D laser scanning uses either phase-based or LIDAR technology to accurately and efficiently capture 3-dimensional data in a wide variety of settings, regardless of size and surface features. Without physically touching what is being measured, 3D laser scanning creates clear and precise digital records of existing conditions. The scan produces millions of measurement points called “coordinates.” Together the points create the raw data in the form of “point clouds.” Each coordinate in a point cloud contains an x, y, and z value, which are also known as (Northing (y), Easting (x), and Elevation (z)). The intricate detail of these points means that a person can get an exact measurement from any one point to any other point in the point cloud.
What is 3D laser scanning used for?
3D laser scanning can be used to capture real world information. Common uses are:
- As-built survey, reality capture or existing conditions survey
- Construction verification, sequencing, scheduling and simulations
- Design engineering for facility upgrades or expansions
- Clash detection
- Architectural documentation or historical preservation
- Calculating volumes, deformation analysis and overhead clearances
- Virtual design and construction
- Laser scanning for facility coordination
- Collecting geospatial data
What are the benefits of 3D Laser Scanning?
- Fast—A single laser scanner can capture up to a million 3D data points per second, providing incredibly accurate and rich detail of every aspect of your project.
- Accurate—Individual measurements acquired by tape measures or hand-held devices are subject to errors. Laser scanning is the most accurate form of measurement available, delivering accuracy of a few millimeters or less.
- Reduce costs and change orders—Incorporating a laser scan into the design of your project assures accurate and complete information, avoiding the cost of equipment rental, manual measurement, clashes, change orders, not to mention project delays and headaches.
- Answers unanticipated questions—How many times have you left the job site only to discover you need a few more measurements? A 3D BIM scanning will capture extra data, eliminating the need to return to the project to answer unanticipated questions.
- Minimize shut-down times—Laser scanning is quick, safe and non-intrusive – eliminating or minimizing operational shut downs and client inconvenience.
- Safety—3D scanning can obtain measurements in hard to reach or hazardous locations while keeping workers out of harm’s way. Scanning is completed safely from the ground without the need for harnesses, lifts or cranes.
How is the information from a 3D laser scan processed (analyzed and defined)?
Once the thousands or millions, of points are captured, they can be provided in a variety of formats including AutoCAD Plant 3D, Navisworks, Bentley MicroStation, Revit, AutoCAD MEP, or simple AutoCAD solids.
Point cloud deliverables can include file formats such as:
- Leica (.pts, .ptx, .ptg)
- Autodesk Recap (.rcs and/or .rcp)
- Bentley (.pod)
Additional services include 2D site plans and 3D BIM models in additional Autodesk products such as AutoCAD Civil 3D. Leica TruViews and full color photographs complement the deliverables and further expand on details from laser scan data in a standard Microsoft Windows environment.