Laser Scanner Surveying – Frequently Asked Questions About Hardware

Laser Scanner Surveying – Frequently Asked Questions About Hardware

What is a Time of Flight Scanner?

A time of flight scanner emits a laser that probes the scanning subject. After reaching the object, the laser instantly reflects back toward the scanner where it is registered by a laser range finder, which measures the round trip time of the laser toward the subject and back to the scanner. As one might image, time of flight scanners are generally used to measure large objects or structures that must be scanned from a significant distance away, such as buildings and landscapes.

What is a Phase Shift Scanner?

A phase shift scanner works by emitting a ray of light at a specific frequency and then recording the “wave of light” that results from the light ray being shifted or displaced by the object’s reflective surface, with the displacement of the wave allowing for the calculation of distance between the light ray’s point of impact and the scanner. Phase shift scanners are known for their flawless accuracy. But their requirement of a reflective surface can be a drawback. While small to midsized transparent and semitransparent objects can be dusted to offer a reflective surface, extremely large, outdoor transparent objects make the process more difficult.

What is the Best Kind of Laser Scanner?

Choosing the best laser scanner means choosing the best laser scanner for your needs. While all laser scanners offer speed and accuracy, some scanners are more ideal for certain situations than others. For example, if you need to scan smaller objects, using a contact scanner that gently probes the object to record its data points may be the best choice, while for the largest objects, a time of flight scanner is often the preferred equipment. If you are in the market for scanning equipment and you have questions, the best idea is to consult with an impartial third party, such as a laser scanning surveying provider.

How Much Does Laser Surveying Equipment Cost?

Laser scanning equipment can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the grade and complexity of the equipment. A hand-held scanner would be an example of a more affordable scanner, while a commercial grade trip scanner from a maker such as Leica would be an example of higher end scanner. For most companies, the crucial consideration in whether to buy scanning equipment or outsource their scanning is how often they need 3D laser scanning. If a company needs scanning infrequently, outsourcing would be the more affordable option.

How Much Does Outsourcing Laser Surveying Cost?

Several factors contribute to the cost of outsourced laser scanning, such as: the equipment used, the distance that the scanning provider must travel and the duration of the scanning project. Therefore, the best way to get a ballpark estimate of outsourced scanning costs is to contact a scanning provider and describe your needs. Most laser surveying providers charge roughly the same rates.

Is Laser Surveying Principally the Same as Manual Surveying?

Both laser and manual surveying intend to accomplish the same thing. But their difference in technology means that manual surveying generally ends up taking longer than laser surveying and is therefore often more expensive. Whereas laser surveying can finish a surveying project in as little as one surveying session, the comparative slowness of method of manual surveying results in more billable time.