What is a Laser Survey? An Overview of the Laser Scanning Process

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This video shows a laser scanning survey taking place of a building outside and in to create a comprehensive point cloud model. A 3D model of the building is then created.

What is a Laser Survey? 

A laser scan survey is a fast and accurate way of capturing the spatial detail of an existing building in 3D. Surveyors use high tech HD laser scanners to capture this information.

Construction design teams use laser scanning surveys to capture the precise geometric data for their project models, which once created can be used to facilitate the BIM process.

Laser scanners use LIDAR technology

LIDAR technology captures large amounts of data in a fraction of the time taken by more traditional surveying methods. (LIDAR stands for Light, Imaging, Detection and Ranging)

The laser scanner emits a beam of energy and calculates the x, y and z coordinates for each point of physical contact.

There are two types of laser scanners:

Phase based laser scanners. By comparing the phase wavelength shift between the returning pulse and the stored pulse the scanner can calculate the distance the beam has travelled.

Pulse based (Time of Flight) scanners. These determine distances by calculating the time taken for the pulse to reach an object and return to the scanner.

The individual scans are registered to create a ‘Point Cloud’

We register the laser scans to form a Point Cloud data file. We can then quickly share these with the project design team directly to their desktops. The design team can then use the Point Cloud as a visual record of the building. They can also “walk through” the building taking accurate dimensional measurements as required.

Architects and the design team use the Point Cloud as a valuable reference tool throughout the duration of a project. Removing the need for costly return visits to site.

Laser scan data is used at various stages of the construction process

In addition to the pre-construction survey for confirming existing site conditions, architects use laser scan throughout a construction project.

During construction, the Design Team can use scans to check the progress of the building on site against the proposed designs. By comparing site data with proposed footprints, elevations and sections. In this situation the scan data forms a valuable part of the quality control process.

Post-construction the project manager can verify that the physical building matches the proposed designs. They can then handover the as-built model to the Facilities Management team for use throughout the life of the building.

If you’d like to discover more about the full range of Surveying Services offered by C A Design Services, please contact Mark Johnson or Iain Tubby on 01493 412806 or email sales@cadesignservices.co.uk