Laser Scanning


Laser Scanning

By: James R. Grey Jr., Engineering Technician (EDT)


The accuracy and speed of a laser scan make it a valuable tool when documentation is required. There’s nothing new about laser scanning. This technology has been around for years, as early as the late 1960s. Scanner technology has developed through the years as newer models capture more detail at a faster rate of speed. However, the lack of knowledge about this technology can devalue its true capabilities. Laser scanning has made it possible to overcome the challenges of achieving speed, simplicity and accuracy simultaneously.

Precise scanning and measurements are achieved by collecting millions of highly accurate data points in seconds, thereby, reducing the time and resources needed to complete a project. The ability to access essential data in just a few minutes enables the creation of complicated design drawings, and 3D models and allows any required changes to as-built construction to be applied much more quickly to the drawing or model environment.

In addition to being the quickest method for data collection, laser scanning has the ability to document any project site or component. Scans can be used where space is limited, in bright sunlight or in complete darkness. Laser scanning can also reduce health and safety risks by keeping the operator out of harm’s way, such as being able to collect data from a safe distance in off-limit areas, unsafe sites and structures, and dangerous and hard-to-reach locations. Because laser scanning is non-contact, sensitive objects or areas can be documented. When physical evidence is key, laser scanning can be used to obtain accurate data without disturbing any evidence.

Whether we want to determine the plumbness of a wall, the topography of a property, the configuration of a mechanical component, the layout of a vehicle collision site, or the arrangement of a fire scene, the capabilities of a laser scan are limitless. Laser scans record the scene or object in three dimensions, capturing every detail, measurement, and placement with an accuracy of less than 2 millimeters.

When used, a laser scan results in accurate and efficient data collection, true as- built documentation, and improved project visualization. Cost and time savings are achieved through fewer hours on-site, minimal disruptions and reduced down time.


About the Author

James R. Grey Jr. is an engineering technician with our Columbia, SC office. Mr. Grey creates drawings using computer-aided design (CAD) software, including 3D models and animations using 3D modeling and rendering (3ds Max and Adobe After Effects) software. He also assists engineers in the area of collecting field data using 3D Laser Scanner, Survey Total Station, and photography. In our laboratory facility, he prepares metallurgical samples for testing and examination. You may contact any of our Columbia engineers for your forensic engineering needs at or (803) 791-8800

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