how to get the most from 3d laser scanning services

So you have decided to undertake the task of scanning your plant or facility, and have hired a professional 3D laser scanning services company to do so. Excellent choice; a complex task such as this is best left to the pros. Of course, we hope that it is Arrival 3D you have hired! Regardless, here we offer a few tips on how to get the most value for your dollars when spending money on 3D laser scanning services. 

1. Provide a clear, limited scope

At the beginning of a project, there is work required from you to clearly communicate your needs. This is an investment of time that some don’t want to make, which is understandable. You are busy and you are hiring another company to do this for you. But a diligent effort in gathering information up front such as drawings, photos and a clearly written scope will pay big dividends during the project. You may get lucky, but you may also end up getting something you didn’t want, or not get something you did. Customers that put in the effort early on seem to end up the most satisfied in the end. An example of a scope that is not clear would be forwarding a 50 page construction document, from which the 3D laser scanning service company is expected to extract pertinent information. Another poor project scope description would be just telling us it is a 100,000 building. We need a little more information than that to accurately assess the work scope. To get the most bang for your buck, you should limit the scope to what you really need. You might be tempted to say you want to scan “everything”, but in reality you only need to see the structure and MEP. 

2. be present for the scan

When the 3D laser scanning services technician is onsite, there is a unique opportunity to communicate exactly what is happening with the project. You can walk through the site and look at items of interest together, making sure that the scanning person will pay special attention to these areas. No matter how many photos and drawings you sent, nothing is better than a personal tour. You can also help smooth over any issue that may arise getting started. Even if you have to travel, if the project is of any substantial size, it is worth the money to be there in person.

3. have the site ready

To the extent you can, try to have the site in a condition conducive to 3D laser scanning services. The 3D scanning process is quite flexible in that we can work around and among personnel in an operational site. But the more you can make it easy for the 3D scanning technician to move around, the better things will go. Any barriers to access should be minimized. Doors should be unlocked and other work crews should be made aware of the 3D laser scanning service activities going on. If possible, access into extended hours should be arranged in case the scanning person needs more time. 

4. ask for the point cloud

Not everyone knows this, but with every 3D scan we do, there exists a 3D point cloud that is the raw data of the 3D scanning process. Often, the customer’s requirement is to receive an as-built CAD model such as one created in Autodesk Revit. A CAD model is ready to use and a lot more desirable than a point cloud in most cases. But the point cloud has advantages of its own. The point cloud is true record of what is actually there and contains a rich record of all visible items. There will be much more information captured in the point cloud than could be conveyed in a Revit model. This valuable record is something that you can keep and refer to later if any questions arise. You can view it with free software such as Autodesk ReCap. So our advice is to make sure you get the point cloud. After all, you paid for it. 

5. Provide timely feedback

When you receive the resulting output files from the 3D laser scanning service company, it will hopefully have been carefully reviewed through a QC process as we have do Arrival 3D. But do not be tempted to put the files aside and refer to them down the road. You should immediately review them to make sure you received the desired result. Occasionally mistakes, misunderstandings and errors slip through, and it is much easier to correct them while the project is fresh on everyone’s mind. If you wait 3 weeks to provide the feedback, the 3D laser scanning service company will probably be deep in another project, making it harder to bring yours back into focus to make the needed changes. 



You can get a whole lot from 3D laser scanning services especially when you invest a little more energy into the project. It is rare for things to go wrong when the customer is actively managing the project and making sure things go well. 

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