3D laser scanning technology is increasingly becoming a staple, rather than a luxury, for geospatial professionals across a wide swath of industries. However, the decision to employ 3D laser scanning is not always a quick and straight-forward one. More likely, it’s a longer evaluation involving extensive research, a variety of assessments, cost comparisons and levels of approval.
This POB Magazine article, written by Trimble’s Chris Trevillian, explores the benefits of 3D laser scanning technology. Trevillian also shares ways in which professionals are utilizing scanning today, as well as obstacles they face when deciding whether to invest in such a solution.
As Trevillian notes, “the technology’s ability to capture millions of highly accurate data points quickly on a project can vastly boost productivity and minimize rework by distinguishing any deviations from design before they affect the schedule and budget.”
Geospatial professionals who’ve already embraced 3D laser scanning as part of their daily workflows are finding these benefits:
Capturing more complete information. 3D laser scanning’s point density is very rich, so the context is immediately recognizable, as opposed to traditional scanning methods that require relating data points to one another through line work or feature coding.
Time savings. 3D laser scanning for data collection takes 1-2 days at most, instead of several days or weeks with traditional scanning. This process also results in fewer field visits, so there is a cost savings, as well as time savings.
Safety and ease of use. Utilizing hand-held tools in challenging terrains can be risky and also lead to inaccurate measurements. Since 3D laser scanning doesn’t require direct physical access, it’s ideal for hazardous environments.
3D laser scanning users come from a myriad of industries and with a variety of applications. Trevillian shares some of the more conventional applications of 3D laser scanning, including replacement for traditional survey methods, roadway and bridge design, forensic/crime scene investigations, archeological records and building construction, to name a few.
Even though many geospatial professionals are embracing 3D laser scanning technology across a variety of industries and applications, many companies have yet to employ this exciting technology. So, what’s holding them back? Trevillian describes several concerns, including lack of understanding of how to use the 3D laser scanning to achieve cost and time savings, as well as unfamiliarity with the variety of uses. He also notes as these tools become more mainstream, those concerns will dissipate and we’ll see a more companies embracing the technology.