Long Range 3D Laser Scanning

3D Engineering Solution’s metrology and data collection services include Long Range scanning technology.  This is useful for 3D data collection in aerospace, nuclear, automotive, power, architectural, civil engineering, construction and industrial markets. These tools complement our other advanced inspection tools, CAD modeling and reverse engineering capabilities for an integrated approach that meets the needs of Building Information Modeling (BIM modeling), facility mapping, wind energy blade/turbine manufacturing, MSR replacement and much more.

Mounted Long Range Laser Scanning Equipment

This technology involves using a tripod mounted long-range laser scanning equipment to capture large indoor or outdoor environments.  Our scanners are mounted in extreme locations with ease. The scanners capture a spherical area that extends up to 350m radially. Our systems employ a phase-based approach to capturing data versus the traditional time of flight method.  This means that the data we collect for you is the most accurate that is available in long range laser scanning. Our systems capture data in the millimeter range. For comparison, traditional systems capture data that is in the centimeter range of accuracy.  The data is captured as a point cloud in grayscale or color. The grayscale point cloud represents a reflectance value map from the surfaces that are hit by the laser. This allows incredible detail to be seen in the scan and even allows text to be read on various surfaces in low or no light conditions (in a tunnel, well, tower etc).  When light is available, digital color information is mapped to each point in the point cloud. This colorized scene allows an easier and more natural interpretation of the data for post-processing and analysis. These scanners scan at up to 1 million points per second and generate a dense cloud of points giving our customers a more full representation of their sites.  Each individual scan is aligned to each other scan to provide complete mapping of the site. This alignment of the data occurs by using measurement targets or/and the natural geometry of the scene being captured. Targets include precision spheres and paper targets that are spread around the scene and then removed after scanning. These serve as alignment points for the overall dataset.  Each scan includes overlapping regions with adjacent scans to help ensure correct alignment. If control (survey data) is provided, then those points can be added to the point cloud data to align more properly to the world and local coordinate systems.

Point Cloud Data

Once the point cloud is aligned, there are multiplicities of things that can be done with the data.  The following is a partial list. Have an idea but don’t see it listed here? – just ask:

CAD Models Already Exist

If CAD models already exist for the structure or architecture being scanned, then the point cloud can be overlaid to determine the as-built condition of a structure.  This can be useful for understanding the impact of future additions or modifications.

Create a CAD Model

The point cloud data can also be used to create a CAD model that can be used for duplication or addition to existing structures.  Modeling of the point cloud data into CAD is accomplished through Revit or one of our industrial CAD packages (SolidWorks, NX, Creo).  Our internal degreed engineers use the point cloud as the starting point to create geometry that is imported or natively brought into one of these CAD packages. Note that we have methods that allow us to idealize objects (parametric modeling) in the scene or to keep them in their natural non-perfect or deformed shapes (NURB modeling).  All know that ‘straight’ long sections of wall, flooring or pipping are not actually straight and level. We have developed methodologies to allow for modeling these non-perfect conditions when needed. Whether you require a high level of detail or a lower level of detail modeling of your site, we can help.

Compare Scans

You can also compare a point cloud to a point cloud to see effects over long periods of time.  For example if you have a structure that is slowly moving or deforming, scans taken at different seasons or over a period of years will give you analysis information on viability or stability.  These multiple point clouds are overlaid and then a color map can be given showing the high and low points of deviation or movement.

Exact Location

With 3D laser scanning, you no longer have to rely on a simple 2D tape measure or Laser Distance Meter field measurements that may be of the uncertain exact location.  The 3D laser captures everything in its exact location every time. Long range laser scanning can be used to capture data from remote locations for future use in upgrades and auxiliary measurements. You then have a virtual geometrical database of your remote sites that can be called upon at will.

Moving Large Structures

3D scans can be used for clash detection when moving large structures inside or within buildings. Are you moving large new manufacturing lines or equipment into your existing buildings?  Do you want to be sure that they will be able to be transported to their final location without issue? We can scan the existing areas and overlay CAD models of the new structures you want to put in place and then communicate if and to what extent there are inference or clearance issues.


The mapping of underground caves and tunnels with this 3D technology is a quick and efficient process.  We can deploy our teams to these low light level areas and fully capture all line of sight areas at all levels throughout the structure.

Overhauling large pipping networks is made possible through this technology as well.  With time, materials transported through piping networks erode then and replacement is required.  Having a 3D map of the existing network allows for easy quotation and eventual replacement.

Buildings, ships, and bridges are easily captured and digitized.  You can even capture this data over multiple periods of times or seasons and then compare them to each other.  This allows you to assess changes in these structures over time which can serve for understanding when replacement or repair is needed.

Damaged structures can also be captured for use in litigation or failure analysis.  This tripod mounted long range equipment is ideally suited for the remote data capture of hazardous areas where it is not safe to allow people to enter.  Once the data is captured, clean up can start and you are assured that the exact conditions are digitally preserved.

Archeological applications are numerous.  Long range data capture is excellent for preservation and the academic study of ‘one of a kind’ ancient treasures.

All Data Belongs 100% To Our Customers

All data captured and created by 3D Engineering Solutions belongs 100% to our customers.  You can also request a copy of the raw point cloud data for your own post-processing or modeling needs.  We also keep, with permission, a copy of that data indefinitely in case future needs from you require it.

Our 3D scanning services are available 24/7.  Please contact us with your long-range scanning needs today.  Our large friendly degreed engineering staff is ready to serve you.

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