No, it is not. While I can capture items that are not modeled with great accuracy, it is just unintelligent, location unaware, points. In other words, dumb points.
Today I will talk about where I feel laser scanning is useful and where I think other solutions have greater merit.
Capturing existing conditions with laser scanning is still one of the best uses for the scanners. For existing conditions in coordination I want to know if I have interferences. The point cloud will let me know if I need to move new construction elements. Through the use of Navisworks and grouping the white noise of the point cloud is reined in to useable information and I am not relying on the human eye to verify interferences. I can even go one step further and convert that point cloud into a model; now this is not a push button affair, yet advances in technology have streamlined the process.
For as-builts, I feel laser scanning while the current buzzword, leaves much to be desired. First, to verify as-built conditions you have to scan, then stitch together the scans, and finally locate the scans with-in Navisworks to verify the conditions are correct.
That is not so bad; it beats a tape measure right? Not exactly. A tape measure, while time-consuming, gives you a pretty accurate measurement; if the person reading the tape knows how to read it. But I can just look at the scan in Navisworks and see if my elements match up or not, so it is better than a tape measure.
That is where a lot of people make a wrong assumption. Remember the points in the model are dumb, so if the person putting them in got it all right; no worries right? Not exactly, besides the data entry possibility for human error now you have the analytical possibility for human error. We all know humans never make mistakes, I mean take the US Congress for example; they saw the economic crash of 2008 coming and prepared our country and the world right?
You normally won’t see me shilling for software or hardware providers, unless I feel they offer a solution that is so outside the box and yet so practical its make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Get The Point (GTP) offers a software platform used in conjunction with a robotic total station (RTS) that does just that. The RTS is
aware of its location in real time and now with GTP it is aware of its location with-in the model also.
Now I can set the RTS to take predetermined shots to verify as-built conditions reflector-less, meaning no one is holding a prism. Now the points I get in the Navisworks model are easy to check against for verification of as-built conditions. In fact the RTS is smart; it will already have a list of points that are out of tolerance and generate a selection set for those points.
What does this mean? The white noise of laser scanning is now just white noise and the RTS combined with GTP gives me the points I need where I need them, sometime where I don’t because someone messed up installing.
Don’t believe the hype; laser scanning has some uses; just not for documenting as-built conditions. Don’t miss the point for the point cloud; you’ll be amazed at what you can find.