Asian Surveying & Mapping
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3D TLS is ideal for users who need high levels of detail and precision in their 3D models. Today’s 3D laser scanners are capable of acquiring large volumes of data at high speeds, creating high-fidelity virtual copies of reality in millimeter-accuracy in a short time. Users who require a non-contact form of measurement — when an object of interest cannot be touched — will also find 3D TLS useful. Some instances of “untouchables” include objects at extreme temperatures, objects of extreme plasticity or malleability, or objects of large scale (e.g. buildings, caves).

In fact, 3D TLS can be used to replace many of its predecessors, given its high-functionality, improved outcomes and ease of use. 3D laser scanners are now designed with intuitive controls similar to digital cameras and smartphones, allowing entry-level users the access to a world of possibilities previously thought to be too complex.

When the technology was first introduced, it was offered at premium prices. However, with technological advancement, 3D TLS has become much more affordable, making it possible to pack more features in a compact device. It is a misconception that the technique is exclusive to experts in surveying or metrology, and for organizations with large budgets.

Practical Applications
3D TLS has a multitude of applications in a variety of industries. Improvements on 3D laser scanners have made them highly versatile, able to withstand both indoor and outdoor conditions. 

Architecture and civil engineering industries utilize 3D TLS for building documentation, structural analyses and maintenance, inspection of facades, as well as construction progress monitoring. Other vocations that favor the usage of 3D TLS outdoors include historians and geographers, who may require documentation of historical sites and landforms for heritage preservation or academic research.

Manufacturers who require dimensional inspections of large, complex components, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering of products also find the technique of 3D TLS very helpful. This group of users span across industries such as aerospace, metalworking, shipbuilding, as well as oil and gas.

Lesser known, yet equally relevant applications of 3D TLS include creation of 3D virtual reality for the film and gaming industries, as well as documentation and recreation of crime scenes by forensic scientists. In this unique application, the non-contact nature of 3D TLS is a crucial requirement as police departments cannot risk contaminating evidence. 

3D Terrestrial Laser Scanners
Current models of 3D terrestrial laser scanners offer long range scanning capabilities, high resolution colored images and precise measurements all rolled into one. Some boast of ergonomic designs, portability, wireless connectivity, better workflow, or ease of use. 

The FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner combines these benefits into a smaller, more compact “package” for users, with a size of only 24 x 20 x 10cm3 and a weight of just 5.0kg. As a standalone solution, the scanner does not require external devices to operate. Data management is convenient with an SD card and secure web sharing functions. The latest hardware update includes new sensors that simplify post-scan data processing, allowing quicker set-up and a better workflow.

Author: Poh Fatt Mak is product marketing manager at FARO Asia-Pacific.