What is a 3D scanner?

Proud descendants of traditional laser rangefinders, with which they share common measurement principles, 3D laser scanners are the next generation of telemetry devices.

3D laser scanners include one or more LiDAR sensors that emit a light beam that scans the environment horizontally and vertically to capture it in 3D, thus making it possible to generate a point cloud (raw 3D data).

Depending on the model, 3D scanners can also collect image and thermal data.

3D scanners on the market

In the building sector, the most common 3D scanners are static scanners (tripod measuring devices), produced by manufacturers such as Leica, Faro or Trimble.

In recent years, mobile scanners have emerged and are proving to be a very good option for large projects, offering greater speed of acquisition. Among the main equipment manufacturers, we can mention NavVis or viametris.

The main uses of 3D scanning in buildings

3D building scanning is the gateway to a multitude of uses in the building. Among the main uses, we can mention in particular:

  • Point cloud inspection to detect building details;
  • The use of the point cloud for fine business analyses (e.g. flatness analyses);
  • Clash detection and updating of a 3D/BIM digital model;
  • The “scan to plan”: drawing a 2D plan based on the point cloud;
  • The “scan to BIM”: the 3D modeling of a building based on its point cloud.

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