How Civil Engineers Can Benefit from 3-D Laser Scanning Technology

7 March 2018
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Civil engineering projects are almost always large-scale and any organisation taking on such a challenge has to take advantage of state-of-the-art products and technology in order to complete the project successfully. On the technological front, one of the more advanced tools is a 3-D laser scanner, which can be used not only in new projects that are being created from the ground up, but also to streamline work on an existing structure. What is this technique and how can it be beneficial?

How Technology Helps

Typically, civil engineering projects will require detailed surveys to be completed over a large area of land. Traditionally, this would be very labour-intensive and require the attention of a team of experienced surveyors, adding to the time element of the budget. 3-D laser scanning technology can, however, slash the amount of time needed and cut down on the labour required as well.

How It Works

Once the machinery is in place, laser signals are sent out simultaneously to each part of the land or existing building in question, gathering millions of data points to create a huge "cloud" of information. Each laser beam will "hit" an object or distant terrain and return to the scanner, enabling a very detailed three-dimensional model to be created once all of the data points have been analysed. The scanner can operate over particularly large distances and gather information at high speed, which will undoubtedly be quicker than the old manual method.

Working with Existing Structures

The 3-D laser can also be pressed into service to analyse the structural integrity of an existing building infrastructure, to give decision makers plenty of information and enable a maintenance plan to be devised. Once again, a very accurate 3-D model can be developed using millions of data points that will reveal if there are any inconsistencies or flaws and form the basis for accurate planning decisions.

Utilising the Technology

Organisations involved in complicated civil engineering projects often have to answer to many different "task masters" and ensure that they go through every potential cost with a fine tooth comb. It's important, therefore, to not only work with civil engineering experts who have experience in this type of project, but also those who work with the latest technological innovations, like 3-D laser scanning. To satisfy narrow budgets and ensure satisfaction all-round, have a word with your advisers about using this type of technology on your next project.