Why 3D Laser Scanning is Used in Civil Engineering Projects

3d-laser-scanningWhen it comes to executing a civil engineering project, one of the greatest challenges an organization is likely to face is the sheer amount of land that needs to be surveyed. Civil engineering and infrastructure projects tend to cover very large areas, and completing land surveys for these projects can be very time-consuming. As a result, the completion of such a project can be severely delayed.

In order to make sure that their infrastructure projects proceed according to schedule, organizations need to be able to take advantage of the latest in land surveying technologies, which can help survey large areas in a short period of time. One example of such a technology is 3D laser scanning. In this post, we’ll discuss why surveyors are using 3D laser scanning in construction, particularly civil engineering projects, and talk about how you can learn to make the most of the benefits 3D laser scanning offers for your infrastructure projects.

3D laser scanning helps survey large areas quickly

In order to use 3D laser scanning in construction, an organization would set up a series of scanners around the area than needs to be surveyed. The scanners would collect millions of points, which would bounce off the terrain or objects of interest, and then return to the scanner. The scanner would measure the flight path of the laser beam as it returns, and based on the path it takes, plot the coordinates for the surface that the laser bounced off of. By combining this information for thousands of different laser points, the scanners can assemble a data point cloud, which can be used to create a very detailed 3D model of the area that’s being surveyed.

Since laser beams can cover long distances instantaneously, the size of an area to be scanned doesn’t increase the amount of time it takes to turn around the finished land survey. This is what makes the technology a particularly good choice for civil engineering projects which cover large distances.

3D laser scanning for maintenance projects

In addition to its inherent usefulness for new infrastructure projects, 3D laser scanning can also be very beneficial to organizations as they perform maintenance on their existing infrastructure.

Over time, as infrastructure ages and structural integrity begins to falter, organizations must be vigilant to ensure that the infrastructure they’ve built in the past will continue to be useful for many years to come. However, the act of performing maintenance on infrastructure requires you to first know where the potential problem areas are. On large civil engineering projects, the very act of checking for potential problem areas can be a very time-consuming process, to the point where you might spend much more of your time looking for problems than you would actually addressing the problems.

With 3D laser scanning, you can remove the need for manual problem analysis altogether, and significantly speed up the infrastructure maintenance process. Simply conduct a laser scan of a piece of infrastructure, then create a 3D model of it and use that to identify what maintenance work needs to be done to it.

In order to make the most of 3D laser scanning in construction, you need to work with a surveying firm that has experience using the technology to successfully complete projects. That’s where Landpoint can help. Review one of our project examples to learn more about our capacities, or contact us today to get started applying 3D laser scanning to your infrastructure project.

The Environmental Review Process: What You Need to Know

Environmental ReviewFor the community, the goal of an environmental review is to understand the environmental impact of a project and make sure controls are in place to mitigate potential damage. For the business, the goal is to get permits granted so work can begin. Growing environmental awareness means regulatory entities may be stricter than ever. It’s important to treat the environmental review as a priority and give it enough attention. Here’s what you need to know to get through the environmental review process.

Start the Environmental Review Process Early

The environmental review can sometimes take a surprising amount of time to complete. This is because they can take into account a variety of factors such as the impact to local waterways, wetlands, air and wildlife. Getting a permit to work in or around wetlands can take nearly two years by itself. Even when the environmental review process ends with permits granted, they may incorporate restrictions based on the information presented during the review. This means that planning for the project is heavily impacted by the outcome of the review, which is another reason to try to complete the review as quickly as possible.

Begin by identifying all the permits required in each locality so preparation can begin as soon as possible. Multiple levels of government and multiple agencies within each level may be involved in reviewing your project.

Work With a Firm With Experience in the Environmental Review Process

Missing a required permit application can be costly. It isn’t always obvious when specific permits are required; the definition of wetlands and navigable waterways is the result of Supreme Court decisions. The best way to succeed in your environmental review is to work with an experienced company that knows what approvals you need to obtain. Work with a firm that has its own team and doesn’t use a subcontractor to perform this work.

An experienced firm will have relationships with the agencies that review the applications. This lets them keep up with changing requirements and avoid delays by preparing all the necessary documentation in the correct format.

Because multiple federal and state agencies are involved in some reviews, like the section 404 permit the Army Corps of Engineers issues for projects that impact wetlands, guidance from a team with a history of successful applications is crucial. There are multiple kinds of permits issued under section 404 and an experienced team can make sure your project applies for and receives the correct one.

Be Prepared for Both State and Local Regulations

Construction projects are impacted not only by federal environmental regulations like the Clean Water Act but also by state and local regulations. It’s important to realize that state definitions of terms like “wetland” can differ from the federal requirements. Plus, local standards often add additional requirements on top of the state’s. Depending on the location of the project, different reviews may be mandatory. In some cases, the local government may have the ultimate authority to issue the permit, while in others, the city can provide input but the state still makes the decision.

State and local requirements may be reviewed and approved on different timelines from the federal review, so working with a firm that knows the local process can help coordinate activity to meet the project’s needs.

Landpoint provides environmental services that span the entire scope of federal and state permitting, including wetlands and water permits, air emission permits, grassland surveys and site characterizations. Contact us to discuss how we can help you get through your environmental review.