Astrolabe Engineering has been intensively engaged in activities related to 3D laser scanning and LiDAR technology since 2005. Over the years, our know-how and expertise has grown to cover different aspects of the technology in every possible field of application. 3D Laser Scanning is now considered to be the core competence of our company.
We currently use a wide range of terrestrial laser scanning systems, covering all kinds of applications. Starting from very short to very long-range, at accuracy from a few microns, we use static or mobile workflows. Thus, we can provide the best possible data capture solutions and post-processing scenarios for any 3D survey and modeling requirement.
What is 3D Laser Scanning?
It is a method of spatial data collection from a distance (non-contact / non-destructive).
It is based on LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging): detection and positioning of objects by sending and receiving a laser beam.
A Laser Scanner is similar to a highly automated topographic Total Station, but is able to measure up to millions points per second.
Beam is deflected by mirrors to scan the whole object with the required density / resolution.
Immediate product: a cloud of measured points (pointcloud) with additional grey-scaled intensity or RGB color information for each point (x,y,z,i) or (x,y,z,r,g,b).
It digitally captures reality and brings it to our desktop.
Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning
Extremely fast 3D geometry capture in the field, with simultaneous collection of color information (RGB pointclouds and panoramic images).
Transfer of the total object or scene to the computer minimizing the need for further checks and visits.
Incomparable density and detail, especially suitable for complex and irregular objects.
Highly accurate and reliable. Accuracy enhanced by oversampling and total geometry capture.
Suitable for objects of any size, morphology and complexity.
Can be applied for inaccessible / sensitive objects (non-contact, non-destructive method).
Can be applied during day or night, even at zero lighting conditions (intensity color only).
Produces a wide range of highly reliable products at low cost, increasing productivity.
Alternatives and Combinations
Depending on the nature and purpose of a 3D survey project and its accuracy requirements, 3D laser scanning may be replaced or supplemented by other 3D Reality Capture technologies. For closed 3D spaces, to reduce field data capture time and costs, we can optionally use a state-of-the-art high-resolution panoramic camera. This instrument records, apart from HDR panoramic photos, the 3D geometry of closed spaces via structured infrared light. While typically used for our True 3D Virtual Tours, this method can produce e.g. a building interior’s pointcloud with an accuracy better than 1%. In case of large horizontal areas or difficult site conditions, we can combine terrestrial 3D scanning with UAV/drone photogrammetry and processing via Image Based Processing software.
Therefore, our goal is not to adapt the project’s needs to our technologies. Instead, we apply the best possible combination of all available 3D Reality Capture technologies to ultimately create a solution fitting the client’s actual requirements. Following the data capture field work and depending on the combination of methods, we perform several pre-processing tasks to import, filter, clean, align, georefence and colorize the 3D field data. Finally, in all scenarios, even from different sources, with different accuracies and resolutions, we end up generating a unified colored georeferenced pointcloud. From this point on, we deploy different post-processing workflows based on the project’s requirements, for the production of ready-to-use deliverables.
Our 3D scanning Equipment
The continuous investment in the use of cutting-edge technologies and the acquisition of high-level know-how has been a key priority of our company since its establishment. In this context, we use various scanning systems or combinations thereof with topographic or photogrammetric methods, drones / UAVs, etc., depending on the application, size and shape of the object, the desired accuracy, the required range, etc.
The main 3D scanning systems currently used by the company’s field crews are:
ARTEC EVA 3D handheld optical scanner for small objects, mechanical parts, vehicles, architectural or archaeological elements, statues, details, etc., with accuracy up to 0.1 mm, range from 40 cm to 1 m, data recording speed up to 288,000 points / sec and simultaneous texture / color recording 24bpp.
3 FARO Focus laser scanners (X130 and M70) for infrastructure, architectrural, archaeological, short range mining, industrial, marine, forensic, and other short to medium range 3D scanning applications, with an accuracy of 2-3 mm, range up to 130 m, speed up to 976,000 points / sec and built-in color panoramic camera with total resolution up to 70 Mpixels.
TELEDYNE OPTECH Polaris laser scanner for wider areas, large infrastructures, open-pit mining, geology, and other medium to long range applications. Its scanning range goes up to 2000 m with an accuracy of 5 mm, speed 500,000 points / sec and a built-in digital camera with a total resolution of up to 80 Mpixels.
TELEDYNE OPTECH Maverick Mobile Mapping System for zone and corridor mapping (highway and railway corridors, airports, pipeline right-of-way, city modeling, etc). It is mounted on a backpack or moving vehicle and combines a 100 m range laser scanner of 2 cm accuracy / 700,000 points / sec speed with a 30 MPixels panoramic digital camera and a GNSS / IMU system for positioning and orientation. It is also suitable for mobile indoor surveys with Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology.
Ready to mobilize worldwide
For the field works, together with the use of the above equipment, we deploy worldwide multiple field crews of surveying engineers and operators. Our crews are specialized in 3D laser scanning and well trained and experienced in the most demanding 3D data capture workflows. Thus, we provide immediate availability and mobilization capability around the world to serve your needs.
Fields of application
Large infrastructure projects (highways and roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, etc)