Everything You Need to Know About 3D Laser Scanning

5 July, 2015 | Blog

MARIO LAFLAMME, P.Eng.

Engineer, CAD and 3D Scan Technologies Expert

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A number of problems can come up when carrying out conventional site surveys. Obstacles include limited access, measurement accuracy dependent on the instrument used, hard-to-reach areas, and the risk of overlooking certain measurements. As a result, a detailed survey can be a long and costly endeavour-not to mention that current plans are not always available!

3D laser scanning, whether used to complement or replace conventional survey methods, leads to highly detailed surveys that are faster and safer to produce. They can also be used to model proposed changes to complex industrial installations.

Here are answers to the questions we hear most often regarding 3D digital scanning.

What does it cost?

When estimating survey costs, the following items must be considered:

  • The cost of renting the scanner
  • The time it takes the operator to perform the scan
  • The time an operator will need for post-processing

3D laser surveys can lead to substantial savings compared to a conventional manual approach.

Who can perform 3D surveys?

BBA has developed expertise in 3D surveys for a range of applications (e.g., electrical substations, control buildings, plants and mills).

How accurate are these surveys?

  • Accuracy: ± 2 mm
  • Resolution: 6 mm at 10 m from the scanner

How long does it take?

It usually only takes 15 minutes for one scan location. We can then calculate the time a site survey will take by figuring out the number of scan locations at the site based on its complexity and size. After the survey, post-processing tends to take as much time as was necessary to scan the site in the first place.

What conditions are needed for 3D laser scans?

When scanning outdoors, precipitation is the most significant factor to consider. In fact, certain devices can be damaged by water, which means a survey should not be performed when it is raining or snowing. The laser would also capture the water droplets and snowflakes, leading to poor quality point clouds that are hard to use.

For indoor scanning, there must be enough ambient light. Although a good laser can work in the dark, sufficient lighting allows for clear, high-quality panoramic photos as well as a colour point cloud.

How can I see the survey results?

There is freeware available on the Internet to view the entire point cloud that was shot.

In addition, 360° photos can be extracted and displayed directly in a web browser like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Does the entire point cloud need to be modeled for 2D drawings?

No. It’s easy to combine the point cloud of the scanned environment by modelling additions or changes to the 3D design. This produces a hybrid 3D design that can be used to produce 2D drawings-and save a whole lot of time and effort!

Contact us to find out more about 3D Scan.

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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