Expanding an Oil and Gas Facility? Consider 3D Laser Scanning Services

3D PrintIf your organization is considering making an update or addition to an existing oil and gas facility, there are no shortage of issues you must account for. You must be able to design your addition so that it can quickly and easily integrate with the existing facility. This is the only way to ensure that the facility won’t have to go offline for longer than necessary during the construction process and will be up and running at its full potential as soon as possible after the addition.

Unfortunately, the addition of new elements requires you to have exact measurements of the existing facility. This is where using the latest land surveying technologies can be beneficial. By using employing 3D laser scanning services to create exact models of your existing facility before you begin working on the addition, you’ll be able to take exact measurements, allowing you to determine things like pipe configurations in advance. In turn, this will ensure that your oil and gas facility addition project will proceed according to schedule.

In this post, we’ll talk a little bit about how 3D laser scanning services work, go over some of the specific benefits it can offer your project, and describe how you can get started making the most of this technology.

3D Laser Scanning: A Brief Overview

3D laser scanning works by setting up a series of scanners around the facility that is to be scanned. These scanners will then user a laser, then track the flight path of those lasers as they bounce back off the surface of the facility. By combining data about the flight paths of these many different laser points into a single data cloud, the 3D laser scan provides very detailed information that can be used to create extremely realistic and accurate 3D models of the facility in question.

By conducting a 3D laser scan of a facility before the project enters the design phase, organizations will start with a baseline of their current facility, making it quick and easy to design a plan for the new elements that are to be added on to the facility during the construction phase. Since these new pieces can be configured early on in the process, instead of an organization having to wait until later in the design process to configure the components on site, 3D laser scanning can lead to a greatly expedited timeframe for an expansion or upgrade project.

3D Laser Scanning Services Can Help Save Time and Money

The actual on-site scanning of an oil and gas facility can be completed in as fast as a single day, while finished deliverables can often be turned around in less than a week. This makes 3D laser scanning a much faster alternative for gathering information about a facility than traditional scanning methods. In addition, since 3D laser scanning helps provide detailed information about a facility, including exact measurements and potential areas for concern, it contributes to a project that is quicker and more efficient overall. Finally, since 3D laser scanning can help engineers and designers spend less time on measuring and gathering information and more time on actually executing the project, it also helps to cut down on the total costs of the project.

In order to pursue the many benefits of 3D laser scanning for oil and gas facilities projects, it’s important that you work with a trusted, experienced partner that can help you make the most of the technology. This is where Landpoint can help. Review some examples of our recent projects to get a better idea for what we can do with 3D laser scanning, or contact us today to get started.

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.

Tips for Getting Detailed 3D Models of Your Site

3D-Laser-ScanningThere are many reasons why construction companies might choose to create 3D models of their sites, including using the models for pre-project planning, as-built drawings, and ensuring that quality assurance measures are being followed. No matter how you’ll be using your 3D models, it’s important that they be accurate and precise in order for you to get the best results from them.

Accurate and precise 3D models are dependent on collecting complete data from your site. In this post, we’ll cover what it takes to get complete, accurate and precise data, which in turn helps ensure that your 3D models are a true representation of the site. Follow the tips outlined here, and you’ll be able to get 3D models that meet your needs, no matter what those needs may be.

Tip 1: Make sure your surveyor offers 3D land surveying

3D laser scanning is one of the most advanced land surveying technologies in existence today, and working with a partner that knows how to properly take advantage of this advanced technology is one of the most important factors involved in getting good results for your 3D models.

Here’s how 3D land surveying works: a series of scanners let out thousands of individual laser bursts every second. The laser beams then bounce off the building or terrain that’s being surveyed, before returning back to the scanner. The scanner then tracks the phase shift and time of flight for the individual beams. The results of the thousands of different laser beams are combined into a single point cloud, allowing the land surveyor to form an extremely detailed depiction of the building or terrain as it actually exists.

Insist on a land surveyor that provides 3D laser scanning, and you’ll get better site representation as a result in the 3D models.

Tip 2: Use aerial scans, if possible

Aerial scans are another example of a technology that has greatly increased the accuracy at which scanning data can be gathered. In fact, aerial data scans have developed to the point where scans can be performed at a resolution of 1 centimeter per pixel.

Aerial scans are performed using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are also commonly known as drones. Today’s UAVs can be equipped with high-resolution cameras, and the ability to relay data back to a data management portal. In addition to providing extremely detailed scans, UAVs also contribute to quicker scans, and a safer work environment. When land surveyors don’t have to cross difficult terrain in order to do their jobs, they can get their jobs done quicker, and at less personal risk.

Tip 3: Request that your 3D model be fully textured

The technology behind 3D models has come a long way in recent years, and it shows in the significantly improved details of what today’s 3D models can convey. In years past, companies were lucky if they could get a basic wireframe and a few texture-less shapes on their 3D models. While today, 3D models can now pick up on many different details, including things like colors and textures.

Depending on how you intend to use your 3D models, this level of detail can really make a difference. For things like project planning, having this level of detail is nice, but may not be essential. However, for things like training and marketing, it can make all the difference in the world, as these are the kinds of settings where you really want people to get a realistic view of what it is they’re looking at.

To learn more about 3D land surveying  and how to get the most detailed, accurate, and precise 3D models possible, contact us at Landpoint today.

Image by : New York District

How Terrestrial Laser Scanning Makes Pre-Project Planning a Faster Process

3D Laser Scanning

In today’s competitive oil and gas landscape, companies are looking for any advantage they can get to help them finish their projects on time and under budget. Unfortunately, many oil and gas leaders fail to recognize just how important it is for them to get their projects off on the right foot. When companies make an effort to start off a project right with pre-project planning based on complete and accurate land surveys, the rest of the project phases have a way of falling into place by themselves.

Today we’ll discuss terrestrial 3D laser scanning, and how it can be an important tool in getting off to the best start possible with effective pre-project planning. While 3D laser scanning can play an important role throughout a construction project, it has many special advantages when it comes to pre-project planning. As a result, there’s really no reason that anyone should ever consider beginning an oil and gas construction project without first completing a 3D laser scan of the terrain.

What Is 3D Laser Scanning?

Simply put, 3D laser scanning is a process that involves bouncing laser beams off of a building or a piece of terrain. As the light points bounce back, the scanner collects data about the laser’s flight and integrates this data into a point cloud. Companies can then use this point cloud to create detailed 3D models that support pre-project planning.

What Makes 3D Laser Scanning So Beneficial?

The hallmarks of terrestrial laser scanning are that it allows land surveyors to complete extremely detailed scans of an area in a very quick period of time. Traditional land surveying methods take significantly more time to complete than 3D laser scans, meaning that they also cause delays in the beginning of the project. In addition, the surveys that traditional land surveyors create are nowhere near as detailed as those created by laser scans, and often require the surveyors to place themselves in harm’s way on dangerous terrain.

After a team has a complete and accurate laser scan, they can begin working on the pre-project planning process with no delay. In addition to being quicker, 3D laser scans also support better decision making during the pre-project planning process. Team leaders will be able to make educated decisions about the best way to proceed with a project, while also feeling completely confident that their decisions are based on a complete and accurate understanding of the terrain as it actually exists, rather than the computer generated contours that go along with traditional surveying methods.

Finally, the accuracy and completeness provided by 3D laser scanning will prove to be an asset even when plans change. If, during the course of your pre-project planning, your team decides to move in a different direction with a project, you will most likely still be able to leverage information included in your original 3D laser scans, rather than having to take time out from your planning to complete additional measurements. 3D laser scans provide complete and detailed information that covers an entire area, meaning that you’ll never have to pay to bring surveyors out for another pre-planning site visit.

Simply put, 3D laser scanning is the best way to ensure that your oil and gas project gets off to the right start, while also ensuring that your team will be prepared to adapt to any issues that may arise along the way. With 3D laser scanning, you can help make sure that your pre-project planning process is completed on time and under budget, setting you up nicely for a successful project.

To learn more about how 3D laser scanning services from Landpoint can help your company conduct better pre-project planning, contact us today.

Why 3D Scanning is Critical to Building Information Modeling

3d-laser-scanningWhile 3D laser scanning has been used in various surveying capacities for many years, it has only been recently that companies have begun to apply it to Building Information Modeling. As both hardware and software have become more capable, applying 3D laser scanning to BIM has become more practical in a wider range of settings.

Why applying 3D laser scanning to BIM makes sense

The value that 3D laser scanning can add to the BIM process is really quite clear: whether you’re scanning existing construction in order to plan updates or improvements, or scanning terrain in advance of new construction, using lasers to create BIM models allows you to optimize the BIM process, reduce the amount of project risk your company takes on, and reduce the cost and time to completion for the project.

In addition, converting your laser scanning point clouds into object-based BIM models opens up an entirely new set of possibilities for what you can do with that data. For instance, you can use the data to create 2D documents that are easier to share with team members and plan ahead for things like scheduling, quantities, and cost.

What is BIM, and how can it be applied?

To put it quite simply, Building Information Modeling is the process of creating digital representations of physical spaces. These BIM models are created using specialty scanning hardware and modeling software. BIM is important to the construction and land surveying industries because it allows companies to approach projects with a higher level of insight, since they’ll be able to view the building or landscape in question at their convenience, from a variety of different angles.

How 3D laser scanning works with BIM in Construction

With 3D laser scanning, a series of scanners lets off thousands of laser bursts per second and then measures the time of flight and phase shift as the laser beams return to the source in order to create a point cloud of data that provides an extremely detailed representation of the physical environment being scanned.

In order to apply your 3D laser scans to BIM in construction, you must first register multiple scans together, in order to create a full view of the building or terrain being scanned from multiple angles. Then, you can convert your point clouds into object-based BIM models using a software program or an external modeling application.

In order to get the best results from laser scanning, it is very important that you plan ahead, because the scanning process can be time consuming. In addition, you must be able to know what your objectives are in advance, and be able to describe exactly what you plan to do with the information you gather from your scan in order to get the best results possible.

How laser scanning leads to more accurate BIM models

Laser scanning takes something good and makes it even better. By providing highly detailed scans of a 3D building or terrain as it actually exists in the physical space, 3D laser scanning supports a BIM model that matches up closer with reality.

In addition to offering a more accurate model, 3D laser scanning can also offer the following benefits when applied to BIM modeling:

  • The ability to coordinate or prefabricate construction plans, saving time and cutting down on project risk
  • The ability to use quantity information to support estimation and scheduling

With the decreasing cost of hardware and software involved with conducting 3D laser scans, there is less reason than ever for companies to put off trying the new technology. Those companies that do take the time to try it will surely find that it supports a more thorough, accurate BIM experience. By partnering with a surveyor that is an expert in laser scanning and experienced in using BIM in construction, you can reduce or eliminate the time to learn about the process and receive the models you need without the headache.

Tips for Speeding up As-built Surveys

3D Laser ScanningFor construction projects, anything that gets in the way of the project progressing according to schedule is a roadblock that must be removed as quickly as possible. However, when it comes to as-built surveys, project managers may feel trapped: they need these surveys to make sure their project proceeds safely and accurately, but at the same time, these surveys frequently take weeks to turn around, which often gets in the way of established project schedules.

Since project managers need these as-built surveys to make sure their project are proceeding according to plan, most of them assume that there is nothing they can do other than wait patiently for the surveyors to complete their work. However, two technologies are showing that this no longer has to be the case. Using these technologies, project managers can get the as-built documentation they need, without having to wait too long for them.

Read on to learn more about these two new technologies, and how you can apply them in your own construction projects.

3D Laser Scanning

With 3D laser scanning, land surveyors no longer have to travel from point to point on a job site collecting the information they need to complete their as-built surveys. Instead, they are able to gather all of the information they might need using high-tech laser scanning, which in turn allows them to build accurate 3D models that can give them all the detail they need to complete their work. As a result, a process that once took weeks can now be completed in a matter of a few days.

3D laser scanning, also referred to as LiDAR data collection, works by bouncing laser beams off the area that needs to be surveyed. Then, the scanner records a point everywhere the laser hits a surface. After the laser has scanned the entire job site, the result is a massive “point cloud” made up of millions of survey grade points. These points can then be connected to form an extremely detailed representation of the environment at the job site. Finally, this representation will be transformed into a 3D model, which is then used to support the work of the land surveyor. All of this happens much faster than a traditional as-built survey, which should make project managers everywhere very happy.

Project Management Suite

Unfortunately, actually completing the as-built survey is often just one factor in the construction delays they can cause. Turning your land surveys around quickly is great, but if you can’t put those surveys into the hands of the right people as quickly as possible, then it won’t translate into quicker, more efficient projects.

That’s where a good project management suite comes into the equation. A project management suite can provide a central hub for the entire project, giving all stakeholders a single place to go to upload and download vital project documents as needed.

With this technology in place, a project manager never has to worry about when the land surveyor will get around to sending in the completed as-built documentation. Instead, they can feel confident that they have the most recent and accurate versions of all documents, and that they will instantly be informed when the as-built surveys are ready. Then, they will be able to download and start utilizing those as-built surveys immediately, even if they are on the job site using a mobile device.

To learn more about these new technologies from Landpoint, and how they can help you get your as-built documentation sooner, contact us today.

Image Source: NOAA’s National Ocean Service

How 3D Laser Scanning Services Can Support Multiple Stages of Development

3D laser scanning servicesMore and more businesses are starting to realize the potential benefits offered by 3D laser scanning services. However, many of them fail to recognize just how helpful 3D scanning can be throughout the lifespan of a project. 3D scanning is so inherently valuable because it can provide key visibility at all three main phases of the project: the pre-design phase, the design phase, and the construction phase. Gaining a greater understanding of what role a 3D laser scanning survey plays in each of these three phases is key to understanding just how much of a competitive advantage this technology can provide.

Pre-Design Phase

In the pre-design phase, getting an accurate picture of the terrain and existing structures that are on-site is vital. With this visibility to guide you, you can make better decisions about the best way to move forward with your project. You can also feel confident that your decisions are based on real insights, and not on guesswork or outdated aerial photography.

A 3D laser scanning survey at the pre-design phase is particularly helpful for things like oil and gas facility location surveys and terrain surveys. In both of these examples, 3D laser scanning is both the fastest and most accurate way to get a complete look at the area that is to be developed, providing the right level of understanding to get your project off to a good start. As a result, your project will be better positioned to proceed according to plan, with no delays and no budget overages.

Design Phase

Once you have gained an accurate understanding of the site that is going to be developed, the next logical step is to consider how the development will fit together with the terrain around it. Fortunately, 3D laser scanning can help with this as well, by supporting 3D modeling.

3D modeling gives you greater visibility into how your development will look, in relation to the terrain and any enduring structures around it. This will also help you create the optimum design and identify any potential issues before they get a chance to wreak havoc on your project once the construction process actually begins.

A good example of a design processes where laser scanning surveying can be helpful is with field map preparation for oil and gas facilities. By creating 3D models before you begin construction, you can be more prepared and get started on construction sooner.

Construction Phase

Finally, once it’s time to actually begin the construction process, laser scanning surveying is there to help once again. By allowing you to quickly create as-built surveys, 3D laser scanning gives you greater visibility into how the project is improving the site around it.

Being able to turn these as-built surveys around as quickly as possible is a tremendous benefit for your project, as it insures that the construction process won’t grind to a halt while you are stuck waiting for the surveys to come in. Since 3D laser scanning represents one of the quickest methods of creating as-built surveys, it can be a tremendous value-add to the construction process.

In addition, laser scanning surveying can also help you to identify potentially unsafe environments. Safety should be a top concern for any construction project, and scanning can help project managers be more aware of potential safety issues before they can get in the way of a safe, orderly construction project.

To learn more about how Landpoint 3D laser scanning services can help your business gain visibility and drive value throughout the different phases of your project, contact us today.

Image Source : survcentex

Construction Site Safety: Surveying in Unsafe Environments

land surveying company safetyWorker safety should be the number one focus for all construction project managers. However, since construction work consistently rates among the most dangerous forms of employment in countries across the globe, it is clear that there’s still a lot more that needs to be done to address safety issues on the job site.

How a Land Surveying Company Addresses Construction Site Safety

Part of preparing for construction safety means getting an accurate understanding of what hazards are expected, so you can prepare for and mitigate them as much as possible. From a land surveying perspective, that means knowing where unstable work surfaces might be putting your workers at risk. Using traditional technology, acquiring a survey on a potentially unsafe terrain would require the surveyor to traverse through the rugged landscape in order to gather information. In addition to being extremely time consuming, this process also puts the surveyors themselves at risk.

In many cases, construction site safety can take a back seat when project managers are concerned that the construction project may not be progressing according to schedule. The process for issuing surveys is time consuming, and can lead to forced down time on the job site, which is something that every project manager wants to avoid.

As a result, many project managers are content to proceed with their projects without waiting for the land surveys to be returned. While this may seem like a time-saving measure, it’s actually quite shortsighted, as injuries on the job site caused by lack of terrain visibility can be just as much of a time waster as waiting for land surveys.

Project managers need a solution that will allow them to balance the seemingly contradictory goals of ensuring project safety and avoiding unnecessary delays. With 3D laser scanning technology, there is no reason that project managers can’t achieve both of these important goals.

3D Laser Scanning Helps Balance Speed and Safety

3D laser scanning contributes to increased safety on the job site, as it removes the need for land surveyors to place themselves in harm’s way to complete their surveys. Since the surveyors no longer have to risk going from place to place to manually collect the information, 3D laser scanning can also help avoid project delays, as land surveyors will now be able to turn around their finished work much faster

By making quick and safe land surveys an integrated part of the organization’s construction process, 3D laser scanning can help project managers balance the competing goals of project speed and project safety in a manner that works best for everyone involved.

Aerial Mapping

3D laser scanning technology can also be supported through the use of aerial mapping. Using either fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, or unmanned aerial vehicles, land surveyors can get the visibility they need to complete terrain maps without having to set foot on dangerous terrain themselves.

When used together with 3D laser scanning, aerial mapping allows construction project managers to get the visibility they need to understand and plan for risk in the construction project, without having to wait for the land surveys to be completed. Together, these technologies are making it so that project managers no longer have to choose between speed and safety.

To learn more about aerial mapping and 3D laser scanning services from Landpoint, and how they can help improve construction site safety, contact us today.

Image Source : Michael Gil

How New Technology Equals Better Engineering Support

professional land surveyorToday’s civil and construction engineers need access to the right information at the right time in order to support fast, accurate and efficient work. In order to get the visibility they need, engineers depend on engineering support services like land surveying.

In the past, land surveying was a time-consuming process that could seriously delay an engineer’s work. However, there are new technologies in use today that enable engineers to get the visibility and information they need quickly, by significantly speeding up the land surveying process.

Read on to learn more about some of these surveying technologies and to find out how you can put them to work for your organization.

Laser Scanner Surveying

High definition scanning is an innovative technology that allows land surveyors to create detailed representations of a terrain and structures without having to individually visit each point of interest on the job site. Laser scanner surveying helps engineers do their jobs better by providing a more detailed deliverable, and doing it much quicker than a traditional land survey. With terrestrial laser scanning, a process that once took months can now be completed in a matter of a few days, making sure that engineers never have to wait to get the information they need.

High definition scanning, also referred to as LiDAR, works by bouncing laser beams off the terrain and recording a point everywhere the laser hits a surface. Once the area has been scanned, the result is a “point cloud” made up of millions of different points. These millions of points represent a level of detail that engineers could never dream of seeing in the past.

3D Modeling

Once a professional land surveyor has collected data using high definition scanning, they can use those data points to create a survey-grade 3D model of the area. Using this extremely detailed model, engineers are able to get an up-close look at the terrain, without having to waste time by traveling the location themselves.

3D modeling from the point cloud gives engineers a more detailed and accurate look at the terrain and structures they’re going to be working on, and does so in a fraction of the time required to complete a traditional land survey. Also, these models can be used to help inform the survey documents that will drive the entire project forward, ensuring that engineers and all other key stakeholders will always have the information they need right at their fingertips. It’s really no wonder that so many engineers are excited about the possibilities of using 3D modeling as an engineering support tool.

Aerial Mapping

Finally, today’s engineers no longer have to be limited to terrain visibility that is captured from ground level. Using either fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, or UAV’s, a professional land surveyor has the ability to conduct aerial mapping. This technique can work using a variety of different scanning methods, including the high definition laser scanning described above.

Unlike aerial photography, which merely provides a visual of what the terrain looks like from above, aerial mapping can give engineers a detailed 3D rendering of the terrain, displaying every crack and hole in astonishing detail. Since aircraft have a far greater range of visibility when operating from above than land surveyors do when operating from ground level, aerial mapping can allow quick and efficient scanning of a large area, making it the perfect technology to use on very large engineering projects.

To learn more about new technologies that help engineers work quicker and more effectively,contact Landpoint today.

Image Source : Laura