Completing a Laser Survey: What Equipment Or Services Are Required?

If you have surveying needs, using laser surveying instead of traditional surveying brings several advantages, including: lower surveying costs, a faster surveying process, and more accurate results. But for companies that are used to traditional surveying methods, how to complete a laser survey initially involves some mystery, particularly concerning what type of equipment to use; or, if their surveying needs don’t justify the purchase of equipment, what type of services are available. In this article, we discuss the ideal surveying equipment and what to do if purchasing laser scanners isn’t a justifiable expense.

Laser Survey Equipment
The type of laser scanner you need depends on the type surveying you’ll perform in terms of subject size and desired data results. While some scanners are ideal for reading smaller objects and infinitesimal data results, others are designed for reading larger objects for more general data results. Below, we describe the three most common types of laser scanners according to these criteria.

1. Contact Scanners
Contact scanners use probing appendages, which are operated from outside of a booth where the appendages are located, to gather a subject’s data points. Known for their impressive accuracy, contact scanners also have two drawbacks: they are only useful for scanning smaller objects, and their probing feature can damage sensitive objects. But for sturdy, smaller objects, contact scanners are an excellent choice.
2. Triangulation scanners
Extremely accurate, triangulation scanners are used to scan objects as large as automobiles, but they can also be attached to the surfaces of larger objects at various positions. In either case, the scanners work by projecting a pattern of light on a subject’s surface, the deviations in which are then measured by a special camera to gather the object’s surface data.
3. Time-of-light Scanners
Time-of-flight scanners employ a laser rangefinder to measure the round trip of a laser as it leaves the scanner, bounces off of the scanning subject, and returns to the scanner. Time-of-flight scanning is best used for buildings, large objects, and expansive environments where general spatial data but not infinitesimal data is required.
Laser Survey Services
Because a single tripod mounted laser scanner can cost over $100,000, companies that have occasional scanning needs usually hire a scanning provider instead of purchasing equipment. Scanning providers offer services in a variety of disciplines, including: law enforcement, engineering, construction, aerial mapping, preservation, and archaeology. If you can’t locate a provider in your area, contacting the nearest provider should suffice. Due to the portability of scanning equipment and the universal application of laser scanning, many providers travel nationally or globally to complete projects. Learn more on 3d laser scanning services.

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