With the evolution of the digital revolution, several traditional processes across industry sectors are becoming redundant. This is proving to be the case in the engineering industry, with time old tools and processes being recycled for quicker, safer, and more cost-effective methods. One such tool that is becoming an increasingly viable option for spatial scientists, construction workers, and engineers aiming to streamline processes with more efficient operations is 3D laser scanning. In designing and building a project, this technology enables contractors and engineers to cut costs, reduce risks, and speed up operations.
The benefits derived from using 3D laser scanning in surveys, including improved efficiency, reduced risks, and lowered costs, greatly influence the world as outlined herein:
- Instead of using cameras to take virtual images of an object in space, accurate laser scanners are used to capture a highly detailed image of the object. The more advanced technology captures the shapes of physical objects with pinpoint precision and digitally converts them to three-dimensional models, plans, and elevations. The objects can then be duplicated using 3D printers with data captured by the scanner.
- 3D laser scanners have the ability to capture a rich detail of an entire scene, unlike the previous methods that could only capture individual points at a time. The instrument can record approximately one million points per second, rotating and throwing out minuscule dots that bounce back to measure any form of physical space. In turn, this creates a reality capture of what is there in point cloud form.
- In heavy construction industries, reality capture technology greatly increases efficiency in operation. The UAVs have been used in capturing vast areas from the air, alongside mobile mapping systems for road inspection and highway maintenance. In heavy construction, reality capture technology offers two significant advantages: completeness – the accuracy of capturing complex sites with different activities taking place. Measurements and data points, which can easily be missed on complex sites, are created into dense point clouds with reality capture. The other advantage is capture speed combined with personnel safety – the speed with which reality capture solutions are put to work in gathering data implies a reduced time for people working in what could be hazardous conditions. The survey teams are thus exposed to less danger with enhanced safety. Reality capture also enhances the visualisation of heavy construction projects, with the projects starting with the point cloud data, which can be transferred into 3D mesh models for efficient collaboration.