How Solar Energy Projects Benefit From 3D Laser Scanning Technology

3D Laser Scanning Technology,As more and more people continue to show an interest in renewable energy projects, solar has emerged as one option that provides many of the benefits people look for in such technology. However, in addition to being safe and clean, solar energy must also be affordable. This is why running the most efficient, cost-effective solar construction project possible is so important. In this post, we’ll examine how 3D laser scanning can play a key role in helping solar energy projects live up to their fullest potential.

What Is 3D Laser Scanning?

In 3D laser scanning, a surveyor uses a scanner to emit a series of lasers toward a building or area of terrain. Once the laser points bounce off the feature being scanned, the scanner tracks their flight paths as they return. Data about these flight paths is then consolidated into a point cloud, which can, in turn, be used to create an extremely detailed 3D model of the scan.

How Can 3D Laser Scanning Benefit Solar Energy Projects?

While there are a variety of industries that could benefit from applying 3D laser scanning practices, there are also some benefits that make 3D laser scanning a good fit for solar projects specifically. A few examples of these benefits include:

  • Supporting solar projects at scale by surveying large areas quickly
  • Identifying proper positioning for solar installations
  • Quick, detailed and accurate results

Surveying Large Areas Quickly

The larger a solar project is, the more effective and cost-efficient it has the potential to be. Larger solar energy projects can take advantage of a number of cost benefits, including economies of scale, repeatable processes, and consolidated permitting.

While the cost benefits of larger solar projects may be the clear, the tradeoff is that they require larger areas to be surveyed, which in turn slows down the project and makes it more difficult to begin seeing a return. 3D laser scanning empowers solar companies to complete these large surveys in a reasonable amount of time.

Identifying Proper Positioning

Finding the ideal spot for a potential solar installation is another important factor in ensuring a successful deployment. For one, it’s important to select an area that isn’t overly shady, as this shade can interfere with the project’s ability to collect as much energy as possible. In addition, selecting an area when work can begin immediately, without the need to remove trees or brush, can help streamline the project process and accelerate profits.

Building a detailed 3D model based on data gathered from laser scanning can give you the insights you need to make informed decisions regarding the positioning of your solar project.

Quick, Detailed and Accurate Results

For many solar projects, the land surveying portion of the project is looked at as a necessary evil. The project leaders would prefer to finish it as quickly as possible so that they can move forward with actually making a return on their investment. However, it’s important that the results of the surveying also be very detailed and accurate, as failing to meet this standard could interfere with the project’s ability to be as successful as possible.

This is part of what makes 3D laser scanning so ideal for solar projects. Land surveyors can complete their work significantly quicker than they could using traditional surveying methods. At the same time, this speed does not prevent them from turning out high-quality results that can support more informed decision making.

Contact Landpoint to learn more about 3D laser scanning for solar energy projects.

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Satellite Versus UAV Mapping: How Are They Different?

54410761 - communication satellite orbiting earth. realistic 3d scene.The cornerstone of any successful development is starting out with a good assessment of current site conditions. In order to initiate the assessment that your project requires, it’s essential that you understand the different technology that is available to help you gather the needed information.

This is particularly true when it comes to satellite mapping and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mapping. Of course, these technologies are alike in the fact that they both support mapping functions. However, if you’ve only heard about these two technologies in passing, you may be confused about how they differ from one another and which one might be right for the needs of your project. This post aims to clear up some of this confusion by providing a closer look at both satellite mapping and UAV mapping.

First of all, it’s important to make the distinction that satellite mapping and UAV mapping are not competing technologies. Rather, they are complementary technologies, in the sense that each can do something that the other can’t. This is why it’s so important to understand the differences between the two if you’re going to make an educated decision about which one best meets your needs.

About Satellite Mapping: The Wide Eye In The Sky

It may help to think about different mapping technologies on a spectrum: the further away from the Earth the technology operates, the wider coverage it can provide. However, this wider coverage comes with tradeoffs, in the form of a much lower level of detail and a view that can often be blocked by clouds or other obstacles.

On one end of this spectrum is satellite mapping technology. By definition, satellite mapping technology operates at a plane that is further away from the Earth than any other technology. As a result, satellite mapping provides a level of coverage that is much higher than that offered by any other mapping technology. However, the images gathered using satellite technology are typically very low in resolution, and so may not be useful for projects that require a very high level of detail and accuracy. In addition, the high costs of taking advantage of satellite mapping technology may make it a bad fit for all but the very largest projects.

About UAV Mapping: Filling In The Gap

Several layers down on the spectrum of land surveying technologies is where you will find UAV mapping. As a relatively new surveying technology, UAV mapping fills in an important gap that has existed for decades. This is because UAVs can operate at a much higher altitude than traditional land-based surveying techniques, while of course operating on a much lower level than satellite mapping.

When land surveyors started taking advantage of UAV technology, they opened up a whole new set of possibilities. UAVs provide a level of detail that is comparable to that which can be achieved using land-based surveyors, but is much quicker and safer, and can, therefore, make it easier to begin seeing a return on a project. In addition, UAVs are relatively affordable to use, making them a good fit for many types of projects. Since they are so much closer to the ground than satellites are, they can also provide a much higher level of detail and accuracy.

As this post illustrates, choosing the right land surveying technology for your project is essential to achieving the results you’re looking for. To learn more about how to select the technology that’s right for you, contact us at Landpoint today.

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Three Benefits of Using Drones for Pipeline Surveying

drone surveying

Building an oil and gas pipeline project is a major challenge for any organization to undertake. When it comes to building a successful pipeline, the costs and time requirements are high and the margin for error must be minimized. As a result, if organizations hope to complete a successful pipeline development project with no major interruptions and minimal unforeseen costs, it’s essential that they take advantage of the most advanced technologies available to them to collect as much data up front as possible.

One example of a technology that can help organizations experience better results with their pipeline projects is the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as the drone. Using UAVs to support the land surveying portion of a pipeline project can lead to a number of benefits. We will cover three of the most important benefits in this post:

  • Completing large surveys with a high degree of accuracy
  • Turning around survey results quickly
  • Sharing the data with key contractors and stakeholders

Completing Large Surveys With A High Degree Of Accuracy

One of the chief challenges of pipeline projects is the sheer amount of distance they must cover, and nowhere is this challenge felt more than in the land surveying stage of the project. Of course, pipeline projects require a high degree of detail and accuracy, but organizations need a way to ensure that getting this accuracy doesn’t slow down the project too much.

Some UAVs can cover miles of linear coverage per day, meaning that they can fly the large distances required by pipeline projects much faster than traditional surveyors traversing the land. At the same time, UAVs can fly close to the ground while using high-resolution image capturing technology that offers up detail as fine as one centimeter per pixel. UAVs truly offer the best of both worlds when it comes to covering long distances and providing high levels of accuracy.

By bypassing difficult terrain altogether, UAVs allow a land surveyor to gather all of the information they might need without actually having to put people on the ground. Instead, surveyors can operate the UAVs from a position of complete safety. Additionally, the amount of data that is collected is exponentially more than that collected by traditional crews.

Turning Around Survey Results Quickly

Another important goal for land surveyors should be to complete their work as quickly as possible so that the pipeline can begin construction. However, this can’t take place if the results of the land survey require weeks or even months of processing time before they can be used. Working with a team of experienced UAV operators is not just a great way to speed up the actual data collection process; such an operator can also begin processing and analyzing that data immediately after it is captured.

As a result, land surveying results captured by UAVs are often processed and available for use within 24 -48 hours of when they were originally captured. This extremely fast turnaround enables organizations to start building their pipelines quicker, which in turn enables them to start experiencing returns quicker.

Sharing the UAV Data

Collecting massive amounts of data is pointless unless decision makers have a way to access the information easily and extract what they need.

Key divisions / subcontractors that should receive access to UAV data at the earliest possible stages include:

  • Surveyors (internal use)
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Land / Right of Way
  • Project Managers
  • And any other companies (such as construction) who are authorized to view and bid on the upcoming project.

Sharing this data will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that bids are much more accurate since the most recent conditions along the route are available for analysis.

To learn more about how UAV technology can supplement traditional survey crews and support your pipeline development project, contact Landpoint today.

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Why Terrestrial LiDAR Surveys Should Be Standard for Municipal Projects

LiDAR survey, LiDAR scanningMunicipal agencies face a variety of challenges when it comes to planning and executing successful projects: everything from making the most of limited taxpayer funding, to ensuring the proper level of transparency, to serving citizens as effectively as possible. In order to address these different challenges, municipalities need to make sure they are investing in the best technology available to them.

An example of a technology that can help municipalities get better results from their projects is LiDAR, or light detection and ranging. With Terrestrial LiDAR, also known as 3D laser scanning, municipal organizations can get highly detailed and accurate mapping information, which can provide them with a number of different benefits.

Simply put, LiDAR is a method of gathering data about distances using lasers. When using LiDAR, a surveyor would set up a laser scanner that emits a series of light points. These points will then bounce off an obstacle and then return to the scanner. As the light points return, the scanner can gather very detailed information about how far away the obstacle is based on how long it takes for the laser points to return. By combining many different data points into a point cloud, surveyors can build a very detailed representation of the building or terrain that’s being scanned. In turn, the organization can then use the point cloud to create detailed 3D models, which can serve a variety of different purposes for development and maintenance projects.

Oil & Gas Facility
  • Before-Oil & Gas Facility
    After-Oil & Gas Facility
    Laser Scan Oil & Gas Facility Model
Power Facility
  • Before-Power Facility
    After-Power Facility
    Laser Scan Power Facility 3D Model
Production Skid
  • Before-Production Skid
    After-Production Skid
    Laser Scan Production Skid 3D Model

How Can LiDAR Benefit Municipal Agencies?

Although LiDAR can offer benefits that stretch across industries, there are a number of reasons that it’s a particularly good fit for municipal projects.

Making the most of taxpayer funding

Municipal projects must take their funding directly from the taxpayers of the city, which in turn makes it very important to make the most of that funding when pursuing major projects. LiDAR provides a relatively inexpensive way for municipal agencies to gather the data they need quickly and can also cover large areas with ease. In addition, the level of detail and accuracy that LiDAR scans can provide helps ensure that all projects can proceed quickly and smoothly. After a quick review of the point cloud, a project manager know exactly what they should expect before the project even gets started. This removes the potential for major delays later on in the project, which can add unexpected costs to the bottom line.

Detailed mapping and records

Every municipal project requires a high level of communication and data sharing in order to keep key stakeholders and contractors informed about what’s going on. Shared LiDAR data simplifies the process of compiling data, so that the project team can focus more of their time on actually designing and executing the project plan. Having a centralized shared site (link to: with a screenshot below as well) to share this data is extremely important.

If a municipal agency uses LiDAR to support a specific project, the value they can extract from that survey is truly limitless. Users are only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to finding new uses for LiDAR scanning and the 3D insights it provides. It’s no exaggeration to say that just about every agency within a typical municipal government can find some use for the valuable data turned out by Terrestrial LiDAR scanning. Once the results of these scans are added to government records, they represent a treasure trove of insights that’s waiting to be unlocked at any time. To learn more about how LiDAR scanning can benefit municipal agencies, contact Landpoint today.

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