laser scanning captures as-built conditions rapidly and precisely. Once assembled, the scanned images reveal building relationships in ways difficult to imagine, let alone measure. Our desire is to provide detailed spatial information to architects, design professionals, engineers, and builders. Most of the world has already been built, but is still poorly documented. 3D imaging provides the best foundation for understanding what you want to change.
- As-Built Deliverables: plans, sections and elevations
- 3D modeling
- Heritage surveys
- Site planning
- Animated fly-throughs
- MEP and Electrical layouts
- Reverse Engineering
- Clash Detection
Accurate measurements have always been a crucial element in the design process, from initial design studies through final construction documents. This is especially true for as-built conditions that require a thorough building survey before design work commences. In the past, measurements were typically taken with a tape measure, paper and pencil. The structure was pieced together from countless dimensions, photos, and experience. As the project evolved, frequent site visits were often necessary to fill out gaps in the information. With diligence, a typical drawing set would be accurate enough to guide the project through the planning department to the builder, who was left to sort out remaining irregularities. 3D laser scanning provides a better way to quickly and accurately capture as-built conditions for building documentation.
3D imaging is a relatively new development for architects, though it has been a valuable tool for engineers, surveyors and cartographers for the past decade. As scanner prices have declined and CAD software packages evolved to accept scan data, 3D laser scanners have finally reached architects and design professionals, improving dimensional accuracy and hastening as-built documentation, leaving more time for creativity and innovation.
Laser scanning is essentially the swift capture of three-dimensional information reflected from an object or surface to a light sensor. It creates a 3D construct called a “point cloud” made from multiple scans that have been unified through a process of “registration”.
Once the point cloud data is consolidated, traditional deliverables; 2d plans, elevations, and sections can be readily extracted, or used for fly-throughs and contextual purposes. While 3D modeling (BIM) is simplified using the point cloud data as the initial reference, the point cloud by itself can serve this purpose, saving many hours of digital model building.
Precise measurements can be taken between individual scan points, edges, and planes. Laser scanning reveals deformation from poor construction or the cumulative effects of time. After the scans are registered, a three dimensional database is established that can be used throughout the building’s lifecycle, or to aid in reconstruction should damage occur in the future.
Additionally, remarkably sharp and descriptive photographic data is fused with the point cloud and can be easily viewed as dynamic panoramas. These images are dimensionable and can be annotated in most cases.
Similar to a camera, a laser scanner is a “line of sight” device: it sees what the viewer observes -it cannot see through objects. Dark, shiny surfaces do not scan as well as lighter, non-reflective materials.
- Deliverables are tailored to the individual needs of each client:
Post-processed point clouds can be directly exported to Autocad, Revit, NavisWorks, Microstation, Rhino, and other CAD platforms.
- Post-processed point clouds are simply traced as vectors (polylines) for 2D, scaled, dimensionable, plans, sections, and elevations, for a variety of CAD platforms.
- Point clouds can be geo-referenced to existing site dimensional survey control.
- Almost any project that requires accurate as-built information can benefit from 3D imaging:
Measurement accuracy of ±2mm (depending on distance to measured object).
- Unobtrusive data capture methods.
- Reduced costly ‘return’ site visits.
- Rapid data capture of large volumes with increased accuracy.
- Measurements can be made quickly and easily when required without the need for return site visits.
- Shorter project times with a rapid turnaround of information.
- Point clouds can be checked and measured using free viewing software, from any scan location.
Laser Scanning Applications
- Architectural design
- Heritage surveys
- Structural engineering
- Deformation analysis
- Clash detection
- Commercial real estate
- Insurance documentation
- Documenting construction progress
Example of a 3D walk-through courtesy of Nexvid3D