What is Laser Scanning?

What is laser scanning?

Laser scanning is a non-contact measuring method which uses a laser beam to find the 3D position of a point on an objects surface. By repeating this process several million times the laser scanner is producing a so called “point cloud”. This point cloud is a precise capture of a physical object’s size and shape and can be imported to a computer for further treatment and visualisation.

There are different types of laser scanners. They can be separated into several types including terrestrial, aerial, mobile, desktop and hand scanners.

What are possible applications for 3D Laser Scanning?


  • Save and reliable planning in complex environments
  • Project time reduction due to precise information
  • Cost saving due to project time reduction

3D Modelling and Design

  • Input for 3D modelling
  • Crosscheck of new design with as-built situation

2D Drafting and Documentation

  • Easy creation of 2D plans and drawings

As-Built Documentation

Reverse Engineering

3D Printing

Animations and videos

Who uses 3D Laser Scanning?

  • Plant industry (e.g. power, chemical, oil, gas plants and facilities)
  • Civil industry (e.g. building and infrastructure companies)
  • Manufacturing (e.g. factories and ship yards)
  • Archaeology (e.g. museums and institutes)
  • Heritage and historic preservation (e.g. communities and organisations)
  • Law Enforcement (e.g. forensics)
  • Art (e.g. artists and museums)

Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning


  • Scans with many million points in just a couple of minutes
  • Reduced survey and inspection times


  • Depending on application millimetre or even sub millimetre precision
  • Enables to reduce fabrication tolerances


  • Scanning over far distances possible
  • Less exposure to hazardous environments


  • Data can be transferred to almost any CAD system
  • Easy site setup helps flexible scheduling
  • Complicated objects and structures can be measured


  • Shorter planning and design time
  • Less rework
  • Less engineering errors due to missing information