What is a 3D Laser Survey?


Since before the Egyptians built the pyramids surveyors have needed to record site measurement data to assist them in their designs.  However, it has not been until the introduction of the 3D laser scanner that these recordings have been able to leave the surveyors notebook in anything but the written numerical form.  Even though the past three decades have seen great advancements in technology, digital survey data has mainly been confined to specific teams within a projects design process.

That is until now.  Now an entire project team, supply chain and even client have the ability to visualise the data in a format that is instantly recognisable.
Its important to remember that we all make important decisions in 3D every day. As a result when we view scan data we are able to process it with more clarity, improving decision making and ultimately inspiring a more comprehensive design.

The science behind it.

By projecting a laser at an object the scanner detects and records changes to the wavelength as the light returns from hitting a surface.  Because light travels at a known constant speed any variation in the wavelength can be converted from a time into a distance.   3D laser scanners record these points up to one million times per second. Multiply this multiple times from different locations and it builds up an accurate representation of its surroundings comprised of millions of points. 

PointSCAN Lidar explained
3D laser scanning throughout the UK
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Targeted Performance

The quality of each scan is determined by the distance apart each point is recorded.  A 3D laser survey may use differing quality settings to capture the overall data. Quality and distance from the target will also affect scan duration’s from between 1.5 minutes to 8 minutes.

Target and spheres are distributed to allow for easy registration of the scan data.

It is good practice to set out control targets and verify them using a total station. These co-ordinates can be imported into the scan data files.

GPS data can also be linked in the same way to allow point clouds to be geo-referenced.

Add some colour.

The application of colour is another factor which affects the time taken to complete each scan.

Multiple colour images are captured and overlaid over the scan data.  At this point the colour is transferred from the image to the corresponding point producing a colour point cloud making this an ideal for identifying specific items such as pipework, and changes in materials.  It also provides alternative options for  adding to presentations.

Full colour point cloud by PointSCAN 3D laser surveys
Volumetric measurements captured by PointSCAN 3D laser surveys

Safe, Fast & Accurate.

PointSCAN maintain the highest level of safety when attending clients sites.  We operate 3D laser scanners which can acquire accurate measurement data from up to 330m, this reduces the need for temporary access and working at heights by allowing us to capture data from a safe location.

Typical 3D laser surveys record information at nearly 1,ooo,ooo points per second.  Reducing site attendance by up to 80% when compared to  traditional survey techniques .

With each scan accurate up to +/- 2mm, 3D laser surveys recreate a true resemblance of their environment.

Line of sight.

3D laser scanning can only capture their data by line of sight. To allow for an object to be acquired accurately multiple scan locations are used to build up a 3D image.

Overlapping scan data increases the quality and improves registration.

3D laser scanner positioning with targets
3D laser scanning for confined spaces

Inverted scanning.

PointSCAN specialise in completing surveys within hazardous and confined spaces.  To improve safety 3D laser scanners can be remotely operated to minimise entry.

No light needed

Serving the UK water and wastewater industry, with over 20 years experience our team provides professional 3D laser surveys with the knowledge,  expertise and understanding to support your project.  By integrating accurate measurement data and visual imagery our surveys provide designers, engineers and project managers with the information they need to deliver efficiencies throughout their projects delivery

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Pump and pipework design with pointcloud created by PointSCAN 3D laser surveys

Final output

All of PointSCAN’s 3D laser surveys result in a registered point cloud which provides a visual representation of the scanned area without any further modelling.

Point clouds can be converted into many different digital formats and incorporated into most CAD software packages such as Autodesk, Bentley, Solidworks etc.

Additional services

PointSCAN provide a comprehensive range of additional services that compliment our 3D laser scanning capabilities.  These include:

PointSCAN combine GPR with 3D topographic surveys

Measurement data remains constant, regardless of environment.  Therefore a 3D laser survey can be applied to a wide variety applications.

Find out how we apply these to different industries


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