3D laser scanning services are often spoken about as being the new frontier in the surveying and engineering industry, particularly where detail, as-built and engineering surveys are necessary. Comprised of hardware and software elements, the technology of 3D laser scanning benefits both the surveyor and the client by providing both timely surveys and spatial data sets that can be reoriented for numerous purposes. But for companies and organizations that have never employed laser scanning and are currently considering what type of surveying will best accomplish their goals; It helps to elucidate the basic technology and applications associated with three-dimensional laser scanning.
Also referred to as "real scene copying technology", laser scanning can be used as a scanning application in environments and spaces of varying complexity. When applied, laser scanning can collect the three-dimensional data of any object or scene, regardless of its size, complexity or relative irregularity. The data is recorded to a computer that then expresses the data three-dimensionally and cartographically in terms of line, space, body and surface. In addition, the data can be post-processed for purposes of mapping, inspection, emulation, VR, display and measurement, among others.
The ultimate value of 3D laser surveying technology is that it provides a means for quickly recording spatial data and then allows the data to be reoriented to serve a variety of purposes. In most cases, companies and organizations view the data through different orientations to examine the harmony of a proposed building or object with neighboring buildings, or to observe the design aspect of a building or object from a variety of design perspectives.
Although three-dimensional laser scanning is commonly spoken about in relation to the engineering and construction industries, its application far exceeds these areas and is beneficial to a wide variety of industries and endeavors, including archaeology, aviation, military concerns, medicine, natural conservation, film, scientific research and shipping. The primary value of 3d laser surveying to these and other pursuits is its ability to record the data of a "real scene", which makes it ideal for analyzing objects and scenes that traditional methods of surveying would define as "irregular" in relation to the data expression limitations of older surveying methods.
Although three-dimensional high definition surveying is a futuristic technology, it actually costs less to apply than would older methods of surveying, making it an effective cost saving measure for companies that have a defined surveying budget. The main cost benefit of laser scanning stems from the fact that it provides clients with a user interface whereby they can reorient spatial data without requiring the continued assistance of the surveyor. In older methods of surveying, the surveyor is typically retained long term in order to provide new survey drafts as a surveying project grows in complexity and specificity.