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The flexibility of Laser Scanning

Updated: Jan 31

With the introduction of laser scanners to the mainstream survey industry, do we still need to follow the same old survey principles of working from the whole to the part?

Laser scanners now enable us to scan anywhere at any time, with the ability to piece the data back together using advanced registration software. The jigsaw below represents the data collected from a site. Each jigsaw piece represents one scan. Each ‘piece’ may have been surveyed in a chronological order or they may even have been on different dates at different times of the day. In fact, adjoining pieces may even have been surveyed on different dates, due for example to access issues.

Laser Scanning

All we need in each of the scans is an overlap in the ‘pieces’ of scan data and the registration software will be able to combine them to form the full ‘image’. The more hard-standing features there are within the survey area, the better the registration will be.

Laser Scanning

Laser Scanning

Once the registration software has pieced together the data, we then have the complete image as shown above. This simple jigsaw example shows the flexibility that we have when using laser scanning.

Back to the question, do we need to follow the same survey principles of working from the whole to the part? The answer is yes, of course, we need to keep the same survey principals! But with the knowledge that if we cannot survey areas A to F in chronological order and must instead survey them in a random order, there is, in fact, a solution by using laser scanning!


Having this large amount of flexibility when laser scanning, allows SUMO to scan larger buildings. This includes office blocks, hospitals and schools without losing precious time. For example when waiting for access to restricted areas of buildings, can incur higher costs for the client.

Another benefit of laser scanning is that there is far less equipment needed on site. For example, if there are tight corridors or stairwells on site, we don’t need to have our ‘artificial geometry’ all over the site for people to kick or trip over. We also do not need to pick them up and move them from point to point, as the only item we need is the laser scanner and its tripod-mount.

At the same time, because of using less equipment, we can have a much lower carbon footprint. We can travel light, by public transport or on foot, making laser scanning a win for the client and the environment!

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