3D laser scanning has truly revolutionized the way land surveying is done. Over the last decade, the technology has been making waves in the profession and other related industries, transforming the way complex structure surveys, non-contact inspection, and data collection from construction sites are performed. 3D laser scanning saves land surveyor’s time, effort, and resources and reduces inaccuracies by guaranteeing precise measurements.
A non-contact and non-destructive technology, 3D laser scanning uses laser light to capture the shape and size of physical objects digitally. As laser light passes over objects, it creates data points, which are collected into what is known as the point cloud. These data points are accurate down to the millimeter, and all collected information can then be used to create a precise 3D model of the object or structure surveyed. Because data has been sampled and collected every few millimeters, the final image produced ensures precision and accuracy as data sets are transformed into a complete visual representation of the surveyed area.
Below are major impacts of 3D laser scanning technology on land surveying methods and results along with its benefits over traditional processes:
- 3D laser scans take a fraction of the time that older, more labor-intensive, manual scanning techniques require. This means faster completion of scanning tasks than conventional techniques, while also providing greater accuracy and collecting more information (a 3D scanner can collect as many as 750,000 data points-per-second). The speed and ease of data collection also allows surveyors to extend data collection to surrounding areas, which eliminates the need for return visits to the project site.
- Because laser scanning is a non-contact technique, surveyors have a way of accurately surveying and collecting data from unstable or dangerous areas from a safer distance. This also allows precise surveys of difficult to access areas, such as those surrounded by traffic-heavy and congested roads, which can be extremely useful in pre-engineering analyses.