3D laser scanning
Just a few years ago laser scanning was a novelty which only large companies could afford on large projects. The technology has matured in recent years; it’s not only viable but an indispensable tool to stay competitive. Laser scanning allows us to capture areas that would otherwise be too dangerous, impractical, or impossible to document with a tape measure or traditional methods of field measurements. The other advantage to using a laser scanner is that it is non-contact, which makes it perfect for documenting historical structures, reducing the risk of further deterioration, and pinpointing areas for restoration and conservation.
In addition to scanning, we are also able to convert the laser scans to BIM for clients who want to extend the usefulness of the point cloud. As a general rule we can scan and 3D BIM model a project faster than a team can document it using the traditional methods and we can guarantee 1/8th inch level of accuracy. You cannot get this level of accuracy with a tape measure or disto.
Laser scanning is the industry leading 3D reality capture process. The scanner emits a laser that is interpreted by proprietary software which creates millions of points in a CAD format. These points, when viewed from a distance, look like a grainy or low resolution picture, but the image is actually millions and millions of individual points. There are two basic types of scanners: Time of Flight and Phase Shift. Time of Flight scanners measure the time it takes the light to bounce back from the surface. Phase Shift scanners measure the change in the color spectrum of the light. The software then converts that to an X, Y, Z coordinate. Individual points are accurate to within +/- 1/8” of the true position. We use the Phase Shift scanner which is significantly faster and more accurate.
When you consider the cost of sending a team to be on site for days or weeks to gather a few hundred to a thousand measurements using traditional methods – and compare it to being on site for a fraction of that time and picking up millions if not billions of measurements – the cost of laser scanning pays for itself.