What is 3D Laser Scanning?

What is 3D Laser Scanning?

3D laser scanning delivers complete and accurate as-built site information prior to the design and planning of your construction project.

3D laser scanners capture every detail of your site – the structural, architectural, and MEP features, plus underground utilities and concrete reinforcements – at incredible speeds with unparalleled accuracy. 3D laser scanning delivers an overall site plan capturing exact building dimensions, locations, and layout.

Two GPRS Project Managers talking to each other next to a 3D laser scanner.
3D laser scanning delivers complete and accurate as-built site information prior to the design and planning of your construction project.

How Does a 3D Laser Scanner Work?

3D laser scanners employ LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to map millions of data points across a project site. The core mechanism involves emitting rapid pulses of light that bounce off objects and return to the scanner’s sensor. By measuring the time it takes for each pulse to travel to the object and back, the scanner calculates the distance between itself and the object. Each data point is then converted into a pixel with known x, y, and z coordinates.

Scanners capture millions of these data points from various positions and angles, which are then compiled into a point cloud. This point cloud forms a highly accurate 3D as-built dataset of the site. Modern scanners, like the Leica RTC360, can capture and process up to 2 million data points per second with an accuracy of 2-4 mm. The result is a comprehensive, real-time dataset that can be analyzed or converted into detailed 2D CAD drawings and 3D BIM models.

3D laser scanning technology offers a precise, cost-effective solution for as-built documentation and facility visualization. It minimizes costly errors and accelerates design, engineering, and construction processes. This technology provides the detailed information necessary for construction, renovation, design planning, prefabrication, asset management, and facility modifications.

An illustration of point cloud data being captured by a 3D laser scanner operated by a GPRS Project Manager.
3D laser scanners capture every detail of your site – the structural, architectural, and MEP features, plus underground utilities and concrete reinforcements – at incredible speeds with unparalleled accuracy.

What are the Applications of 3D Laser Scanning?

As-builts, reality capture, and existing conditions data

  • Construction verification, sequencing, scheduling, and simulations
  • Design engineering for facility upgrades or expansions
  • 2D and 3D laser map of a building
  • Prefabrication
  • Clash detection
  • Architectural documentation or historical preservation
  • Calculating volumes, deformation analysis, and overhead clearances
  • Virtual design and construction
  • Laser scanning for facility coordination
  • Collecting geospatial data
  • Creating a digital twin
  • Performing advanced analysis to easily aggregate, query, visualize, and analyze data in a 3D model
  • Augmented & Mixed Reality (AR & MR) for video games, television, film, and sports enhanced fan experiences

Knowing which application you need determines what 3D laser scanner is used on site, the necessary resolution of the point cloud and photography, and what kind of maps, models, drawings, or other deliverables your project requires.

What are the Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning?

3D laser scanning accelerates the as-built data capture process compared to traditional surveying methods. Laser scanners can quickly capture millions of data points within minutes, providing comprehensive data of the building or site.

  • Fast collection of site data with the highest-quality, survey-grade laser scanners
  • Expedite planning and design with accurate as builts
  • Capture exact dimensions and measurements of your project site
  • Eliminate site disruptions and revisits
  • Receive precise point clouds, 2D CAD drawings, and 3D BIM models to improve collaboration and coordination
  • Tour the location, add digital notes, and even measure with a virtual tour
  • Reduce project risks, change orders, delays, and costs

What Can Be Created from the Point Cloud?

Point clouds can be transformed into custom 2D CAD drawings, 3D BIM models, 3D mesh models, TruViews, and virtual tours, delivering the exact dimensions, locations, and layout of your site.

  • Point clouds can be delivered in a wide range of file types to be used in many different software packages, including Bentley, Autodesk, and more.
  • 2D CAD Drawings can be generated by importing the point cloud data into AutoCAD software to create floor plans, sections, and elevations to use for construction planning and building modifications.
  • 3D BIM Models deliver a geometrically accurate model of a building or site, capturing infrastructure, spatial relationships, maintenance information, product models, as well as additional property and layer information.
  • 3D Mesh Models allow you to view a site’s geometry inside a CAD environment without having to navigate a point cloud.
  • TruViews are 3-dimensional photographs overlaid on top of the point cloud data. A TruView lets you navigate a site, add markups and GeoTags, plus visualize designs in context to check design models against real work conditions.
  • 3D Virtual Tours allow your team to virtually walk through a site or facility in minutes, take basic measurements, estimate clearances and distances, and add digital notes.

How Much Does 3D Laser Scanning Cost?

Customized quotes are developed for each client based on the scope of the project and the deliverable requested. The cost of 3D laser scanning can vary widely depending on your project scope. GPRS customizes every quote specific to your project’s needs. GPRS Project Managers use 3D laser scanners to capture every detail of your site, delivering building dimensions, locations, and layout with 2-4 millimeter accuracy. This can include the aboveground structural, architectural, and MEP features, plus underground utility and concrete markings. Our Mapping & Modeling Team can deliver point clouds, 2D CAD drawings, 3D BIM models, 3D mesh model, TruViews, and Virtual Tours at any level of detail.

Why Choose GPRS?

You can trust our team to provide the best experience in laser scanning by walking you through the entire 3D laser scanning process from pre-planning through project completion.

We offer a consultative approach to project management, working with you to ensure our data, maps and models are the perfect solution for your project. The data delivered is accurate within 2-4 millimeters, and the maps and models provide complete as-built and location data.

Our elite team of Project Managers is required to complete an extensive training program before performing field services on your job site.

All GPRS team members work together to help you Intelligently Visualize The Built World® to help you reduce change orders and costs so that your projects come in on time and on budget. We are the best at what we do because it is all we do.

From skyscrapers to sewer lines, GPRS Intelligently Visualizes The Built World® to keep your projects on time, on budget, and safe.

What can we help you visualize?