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3D Surveying and Scanning New Possibilities for Building Construction
The construction industry is notorious for being a slow adopter of innovations, especially when it comes to new technology. This is largely due to the complex nature of designs, which make it difficult to steer away from what have been already established to work in the past. Today, however, design and construction professionals are more open to challenging themselves to use new technology for faster, more practical, and more efficient design and built projects. Though less publicized and still in its adoption phase, 3D laser scanning is starting to be recognized by different surveying, engineering, and consulting firms in their operations.
3D laser scanning is an innovative technology that digitally captures the spatial relationship and dimensions of objects with the use of laser lights. The scanner produces a point cloud image, accurately replicating the scanned area/objects. Depending on the type of scanner used, objects and areas can be scanned from up to several hundred meters. Data points also have an accuracy of less than 5 mm at several thousand to hundred thousand points per second. Overall scanning speeds depend on the required or desired density of the point cloud. Multiple scans from varying lines of sight can be linked together when the object is too large or the area too vast for a single scan to capture. The point cloud images can then be linked together to complete the diagram. Once finished, the data can be exported to a wide range of common CAD and modeling/BIM programs to generate models or drawings.
Today, the primary uses of 3D scanning are for transportation, utilities, process plants, building, and facility renovation, off-shore oil production, and forensic evaluation. 3D scanning offers a wide range of benefits over traditional surveying methods and techniques, making it an excellent supplementary method, if not an alternative to some outdated options.
Point cloud based drawings and 3D models improve designs and concepts as they allow for a thorough analysis of clashes between newly designed elements and the existing objects/conditions. This allows construction professionals to evaluate alternative designs before construction. Accurate dimensions from laser scans also mean improved planning not only for building up but also for removal/demolition of certain unneeded components. This minimizes error, waste, and changes in the field during construction. 3D scanning also enables better compliance with safety and regulatory standards, not only during the construction phase but also during the planning phase, especially when dealing with exposure to harmful environments.
About the Author:
Armando Dupont, a professional land surveyor started his career in surveying in 1977 and has extensive experience in managing personnel and projects. His experience includes: topographic mapping, boundary surveys and analysis, construction and control surveying, preparation of tract and parcel maps, earth work calculation and quantities, targeting and control for photogrammetric, and land title surveys in accordance with the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Mr. DuPont founded Calvada Surveying, Inc. in 1989 and is a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in the State of California.