Introduction: 3D Laser Scanning
Although the construction industry seems to embrace the rapid changes in technology which occurs almost on a daily basis, recent developments have revealed that this industry is catching up fast. State-of-the-art technologies have begun to be engaged in building projects faster, and one of such technologies that are being utilized in the building industry is 3D laser scanning. Even consulting firms, as well as engineering organizations, have recognized and taken advantage of the benefits of using laser scanning for their day-to-day operations.
But what is 3D laser scanning? 3D laser scanning uses digital technology to capture the three-dimensional relationship as well as the dimensions of objects by the utilization of a laser. Laser scanning has to do with the collection of surface data by making use of a laser scanner. The laser scanner effectively captures the exact distance of closely-scanned points over a specified object at a rapid speed. This process is usually referred to as LIDAR (light detection and ranging) or point cloud survey. By using this technology, 3D imagery is generated which can then be converted and used for modeling by making use of 3D CAD (computer aided design) or BIM (building information modeling).
The 3D laser equipment consists of an integrated camera that is mounted on a tripod with high-speed lasers. The laser equipment can operate at a speed of about 990,000 points per second and up to 180 meters in range.
How does 3D laser scanning help building companies?
Laser scanning has proven to be an invaluable tool in the construction and property industry as it enables easy access to surfaces that are difficult to get to as well as complicated geometry. Here are some of the ways by which 3D laser scanning helps building companies:
i. 3D laser scanning becomes useful when it comes to modeling interior decorations. Building planners make use of the images generated by 3D scanners to create plans for interior decoration. The equipment is ideal for use for buildings which are required to display a very attractive interior décor such as clubs, hotels, and spas. By using the images which are generated using 3D laser scanning technology, building planners can showcase the virtual interior of such buildings to potential stakeholders. The virtual interior design can then be animated to present a computerized tour of proposed facility.
ii. Repairs of buildings – It is not easy to detect any external damage in a large building with several stories with the naked eye. Such damages, if not repaired in time, could lead to the collapsing of such a building. But using the 3D laser scanning technology, such damages can easily be detected, whether it is on the roof or walls of the building. After that, adequate steps can be taken to repair the damages that are discovered before it gets.
iii. Land terrain – 3D laser scanning offers precise data when used for land surveying. This enables building planners to accurately visualize as well as to implement their plans on various terrains. Whether such terrains surround a building complex of offices or golf courses, experts at landscaping can make use of the scan models to reproduce exact results. 3D laser scanning also enables landscape experts to maintain terrains after comparing the available data with the original one.
3D laser scanning is still new; therefore, care must be taken to ensure that other traditional methods which are more cost-effective are not pushed completely into the back seat until building companies are ready to incorporate it into the industry entirely.