The invention of 3-D laser scanning has been an important milestone in the field of land surveying. This technology uses a laser light beam to scan an area — land, buildings or any formations — and automatically creates a point cloud of data. A point cloud is an image formed by millions of points of data.
The laser is amazingly accurate in measuring contoured surfaces, to a degree that is not possible with more primitive measuring tools. See a computer demonstration of a 3-D laser scanner here.
The convenience this new tool brings is a marvel to surveyors everywhere. What do they love about it?
- It’s faster. What used to take days or weeks with a physical measuring tape now takes only one day at most. The flyover technology means information can be collected quickly and accurately in less time. This means fewer field visits — sometimes only one. This not only saves time, but money as well.This is a boon to the industry because there are times when the number of land surveyors available falls short of the amount of work that needs to be done. With each project taking so long, many other jobs need to be shelved, thereby stalling progress on developing the land.The availability of such a powerful, time-saving tool means land surveyors can complete a much larger workload in a much shorter period of time.
- It’s easier. Accurately and carefully measuring property, buildings, and landforms with hand-held tools is time-consuming and difficult. In fact, sometimes it’s impossible. Some terrain is just inaccessible to humans. And even terrain that is accessible is sometimes difficult to measure, due to trees, rocks or other large objects in the path of the surveyor.Even in situations in which a surveyor can measure the land accurately, the quality of the picture they are capable of creating cannot begin to match the one a 3-D laser scanner can produce.
- You get more complete information. With previous surveying methods, you would get the length and width of the parcel, some rudimentary topographical information, and some photos. With 3-D laser scanning, surveyors can generate a 3-D model of the land.Further, the laser scanner can more easily map areas that are difficult for humans to access, such as caves or dangerously rough terrain.
3-D laser scanning is also useful in historic preservation projects. The technology allows surveyors to scan historic buildings and create models in their likeness. This can be used to help plan repairs or renovations to the buildings or to keep records on file to be used in case of an emergency like fire, flood or earthquake.
Having detailed renderings on hand allows for faster and more accurate reconstruction to take place if damage from a natural disaster occurs. And, because laser scanning is noncontact, there is no potential for damage to the historic structure from taking the measurements.
Recent advancements in the field of land surveying have drastically changed how the job is done. Learn more about land surveying with PDH online courses.