Laser scanning is defined as the controlled steering of laser beams followed by a distance measurement at every pointing direction. The points collected and assembled by the scanner are used to produce a model that will define the shapes of objects, buildings and landscapes.

The ease and speed of the random mass data acquisition method utilized by laser scanning incurs definite precision limitations. With millions of points being collected automatically without respect to incident angle, reflectivity, range, or geometry of the component, thousands of points will contain a high degree of error. These “out of tolerance points” ultimately result in design errors that must be resolved in the construction phase of the project.

Rework and the need for leave-long field fits due to dimensional control issues are still a concern for both revamp and turnaround projects when using scans as the basis for design.


  • Low cost dimensional capture when large volumes are involved

  • Global data capture for a fast start of multi-discipline project teams

  • Fast data capture when working with larger areas



  • Lower precision when compared to total station modeling or photogrammetry

  • Rework will often occur due to precision limitations

  • The need for leave-long field fits due to precision limitations

  • Low precision data is not useable for post engineering activities such as spool checking, trial fitting in model space and construction field support

  • Variable precision limits for different areas within the same model