3D laser scanner underneath bridge

3D Laser Scanning

What is 3D Laser Scanning?

At Pinpoint Mapping we offer the latest advances in laser scanning technology and we use industry recognised survey equipment equipped with lasers to create high-density point clouds swiftly, safely and accurately – this is achieved by means of a rotating laser emitter that emits invisible light. When this invisible light impacts on a surface the 3D unit receives back from the surface a point of light. Every major component of a land surface or a building within a scanned image is captured as 3D points of light also known as a point cloud dataset.

On our return to the office we register the scans into a useable point cloud that enables the necessary measurements to be extracted, recorded and visualised according to a client’s specification, either in 2D format or 3D Building Information Models. 

How 3D Laser Technology Works

Firstly a laser contained within the device rotates at high speed projecting millions of points of invisible light onto surrounding features. Under those circumstances when this light strikes various surfaces it reflects back their individual positions relative to the scanner. Thirdly each reflection of light is digitally captured as a “point” recording its dimensions and spatial relationship with other objects. As the scan takes place, a large number of points, known as a 3D point cloud, are acquired. Simultaneously a high resolution camera incorporated into the scanner acquires images of the scanned area. Finally by combining the imagery and point cloud model this completes an accurate 3D visualisation of the site or structure. 


The applications of 3D laser technology are unlimited. For instance, the technology is deployed into civil engineering, architecture, land surveying and heritage building preservation.


To assist with architecture a building can be scanned in order to create a point cloud which serves as the basis for the drawing up of elevations, floor-plans and sections. Furthermore the position of doors, windows, rainwater systems, chimneys etc. can all be featured in the plans. A 3D point cloud can also facilitate the production of a Building Information Model – often referred to by those in the industry as a ‘BIM” (for more info about BIM please refer to our 3D BIM page). With further design work the BIM model can be enhanced by adding a true life render to it making it ideal for 3D visualisations and fly-through simulations.


Due to the complexity of architectural details, historic buildings can often prove difficult to measure with conventional total station survey technology. By lasering the exterior façade and the interior of the historic building a 3D point dataset of the entire building is produced. Consequently the point cloud can then be used to aid in the restoration and preservation of the building. In addition to our 3D Scanning service, we can also offer the heritage community our 3D Virtual Tour Service to help promote the interiors of historic buildings online. For more details click here

Civil Engineering

Employing laser technology for civil engineering developments can be highly advantageous when measuring complex structures such as bridges, pipelines and road tunnels. Not only are there benefits in terms of cost and time-effectiveness, it also improves site-safety – important as we value safety especially where our surveyors must contend for example with fast moving traffic on projects related to highway developments.


3D Laser Scanning

Land Surveying

The benefit of scanning a site to acquire its topographic surface is quite simple: more detailed data is captured. Furthermore scanning ensures there is nothing missed in the Area of Interest. Hence in the event we receive a subsequent request to update plans with additional features, we reopen the point cloud and the new item is drafted into place.

In short, here at Pinpoint Mapping we use 3D laser scanning technology to get the survey on site completed quickly. We can scan any existing as-built structure or site supplying you with a 3D point cloud suitable for accurate measuring. Call us on 01454 550067 and let us offer you a better value proposition.

Contact Us To Get a Quote

If you wish to discuss your next survey in Bristol, Bath or anywhere in the Southwest please call us on 01454 550067 today.

Alternatively you can reach out to us by email at office@pinpointmapping.co.uk or contact us by using the Contact Form below and provide us with an outline of the building(s) or area of terrain that you wish to have laser scanned. We shall respond asap with a no-obligation quotation outlining our time scales and professional fees on your current project.