3D Laser Scanning

3D Scanning (Terrestrial LiDAR) has been around for almost two decades now. With the invention of 3D scanning, items that could never be measured with accuracy can now be measured in high definition and in 3D. 3D laser scanning is a non-contact technology that digitally captures the shape of physical objects using a line of laser light, also known as LiDAR (Light Distance And Ranging), and was invented in the 1960's, but wasn't used commercially until the 1990's, where it first appeared in airplanes. In the late 90's the technology progressed to a point where a LiDAR sensor was small enough to be mounted on a survey tripod. 3D laser scanners create ‘point clouds’ of data from the surface of an object. In other words, 3D laser scanning is a way to capture a physical object’s exact size and shape by measuring millions, even billions of points (x,y,z position) on structures. When the density of points is great enough, it creates a 3D point cloud that emulates the structure in real life. Through the use of intensity values and digital imaging being combined with the scan, you can create a colorized point cloud. When the point density is great enough for the human eye not to be able to identify the open space between points, you now have the beginnings of virtual reality or a digital twin of the real world. 


LiDAR sensors have now become efficient and small enough to be mounted on numerous platforms, including UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles [drones]), USVs (unmanned surface vehicles [remote control boats]), cars and trucks. SurvTech collects LiDAR data from all of these platforms. To collect LiDAR data from moving platforms, it requires additional equipment, such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems), also known as precision GPS, and IMUs (Inertial Measurement Systems) to accurately position the sensor position and orientation (trajectory, heave, pitch, and roll). Mobile scanning was limited to the outside world until recently, when GPS could be used for precise positioning. Then the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) algorithm was developed, allowing mobile scanning without GPS positioning, which has enabled mobile indoor mapping. SurvTech offers a solution for every one of the platforms mentioned above. We have airplanes and UAVs that collect LiDAR (See Aerial and UAV pages), mobile mapping from trucks and boats, 3D scanning (terrestrial LiDAR from tripods), and mobile indoor mapping. Our team can capture data at a rate of up to 1 million points per second from static and mobile platforms. As a result, measurements can be made quickly and easily without return site visits, and we can transform that data into any deliverable.

Industries/applications who benefit:

  • Replication / Recreation

  • Facial Scanning

  • Recreation for Film

  • Television Piping

  • Ductwork Design

  • Installation

  • Retrofit

  • Crime Scene

  • Animation for Crime Scenes and Safety Videos

  • Emergency Response for Military and Muncipalities.

  • Navigation on large campuses or structures (Conference Centers or Airports)

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning 

  • Safe -- Our scanners have ranges of up to 330 meters, which allow us to scan in less than ideal or even hazardous conditions.

  • Accurate -- 3D laser scanning shines with accuracy.  At ±1mm, you can depend on the data for design work with no field fabrications needed.  

  • Minimal Impact -- Allows us to not interrupt processes in plants, construction sites, and industrial facilities.

  • Efficient -- 3D laser scanning collects more data in a shorter amount of time than traditional methods of surveying. 


SurvTech is a geospatial company, so any of our scan deliverables can be georeferenced if requested. By georeferencing the point cloud and/or model, the end user can combine the scan data set with surveys, or add to the scan data at a future time with ease. SurvTech recommends georeferencing the cloud, if the project includes any work outside the building envelope, if it's for design purposes, or if it's to be used for emergency response or navigation.


  • 3D Model -- Allows our clients to insert models into their drawing and design directly on existing conditions in a 3D environment. 

  • 2D Line Work & Floor Plans (BOMA) -- We extract two-dimensional features in order to fit into your company's workflow more easily.  

  • Point Cloud Files -- Allows ​your firm to extract information from the 'point cloud' using your company's methods and work flow. 

  • Point Clouds and Model Combined -- Combined model with point cloud to allow end user (designer) to see any items in point cloud that were NOT modeled.  

  • Viewer -- Allows the end user to store point cloud and imagery information on a user-friendly viewer that can measure, navigate and store information about the data set. Advanced viewers can turn into 3D information models for storing information about equipment installs, maintenance, replacement, startup and shut down procedures, and other miscellaneous information.

  • Intelligent Models (Plant Information Systems) -- CAD or BIM with intelligence, including storing information about equipment installs, maintenance, replacement, startup and shut down procedures, including equipment manuals, and training and safety videos.  

  • Animation -- Existing structures, industrial plants, or even accident scenes can be scanned. From the scan, a virtual 3D realm can be created where animation can display historical events such as "accidents", or training videos for potential events. 

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3D Modeling and Animations

In some cases a model isn't enough, so for some clients presenting a model might be their best option.  SurvTech Solutions has the ability to make 3D animated presentations for projects that fall into this category. Some examples may include accident recreations that are similar virtual reality. We make a 3D virtual reality of the existing site and then show the cars crashing into each other or the crane falling over.  SurvTech also provides renderings for situations that do not involve movement. For example, a 3D virtual reality would be created of just the 3D space, object, or structure.  

Interior Space Measurements Per BOMA Standards

Interior space measurement is the process of measuring the inside of any building or structure. 

Below are some of the types of clients that have benefited from this service: 

  • Design Engineers

  • Architects

  • Construction Companies

  • Landlords

  • Tenants

  • Interior Designers

  • Decorators

  • Drafters


Structures and Deliverables

Types of Structures 

  • Industrial

  • Commercial

  • Residential 

Types of Deliverables

  • 3D Model (BIM)

  • 2D Floor Plans

  • Renderings 

  • Animations 

Request a Service

Do you have a project that needs 3D services?  Contact SurvTech today to find out how we can help.