3D laser scanning was recently selected as the #1 top ROI AEC Tech strategies in Building Design + Construction’s 2020 Technology and Innovation study, and 51% of respondents said they were using some kind of 3D laser scanning on many of their projects, and nearly two thirds use 3D laser scanners on at least some projects. But hidden within that data is an inherent question – is the construction industry using the right scanning technology to get that ROI?
Handheld scanners are built for usability, portability, and speed, and utilize Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM) lidar to scan while being held and walked around a jobsite. There are some clear benefits that handheld scanning can bring to construction that can push the ROI of 3D scanning even higher.
1. You can scan as fast as you can walk
Traditional tripod-based scanners require a stop-and-start workflow that involves alternating periods of setup, scanning, takedown, and transport to the next scanning position. In addition to being tedious, the time that it takes in between each scan point is time that could be spent doing other work on a jobsite.
Rather than spending a majority of the time not actually scanning, handheld SLAM scanners allow workers to scan continuously as they walk. Walking while you scan is an obvious time saver, but it can even provide a less tedious and more comfortable scanning task, making it something that employees want to do, rather than dread to do.
2. Get more information while logging fewer FTEs
nmcn, a general contractor based in the United Kingdom recently performed a head-to-head test to demonstrate whether handheld lidar could compete with traditional terrestrial scanners. The area to be scanned was a complex of buildings that was 57 meters in width.
Two employees first scanned the area with tripod-based scanners and laser distance meters, and completed the scan in 32 field hours. One employee then took a handheld lidar to the same area, and completed the scan in only 4 field hours. The workflow with the handheld lidar was eight times faster, and also used one fewer employee. In the end, when costs were compared, the handheld scanner also came out as 10 times less expensive.
Implementing handheld lidar scanning was transformative for nmcn’s digital transformation – to get more information, you can watch the webinar archive on SPAR 3D.
3. Grab photos and point clouds together
Some handheld lidar scanners include a build-in camera to simultaneously capture color imagery while a scan is taking place. This saves the step of separately capturing imagery with an external camera, and does not require extra time to capture.
The end result of a scam is a colorized point cloud – a merging of the lidar points and color image. The images are also available to view on your own, to assist in identifying and modelin
g elements from the capture, or simply as a quick way to look back at a specific location.