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Case study: comparing 3D scanner accuracy in construction

Posted by Sean Higgins on 8/23/19 2:41 PM

Earlier this year, UK-based general contractor nmcn tested a PX-80 against a tripod-based scanner. The main objective: Determining whether the handheld SLAM-based scanner was accurate enough for building documentation.

You might expect them to answer this question by scanning a site once with the tripod-based scanner, and once with the PX-80, and then comparing the two point clouds.

However, nmcn's head of digital transformation Gary Ross argues that comparing raw data couldn't tell them whether the handheld SLAM-based scanner was accurate enough for their needs in real-world use cases. That's because nmcn doesn't use the raw point cloud as a final deliverable for any of its projects—they use it as a transitional step while generating a final deliverable like a 3D CAD model. Ross holds that if you're going to test whether a scanner is accurate enough, you have to do it by quantifying the accuracy of the final deliverable you generate from the scan, and not the scan itself.

That's why nmcn scanned the site once with a PX-80, and once with a tripod-based scanner, and then converted each set of raw data to a 3D CAD model for a comparison. This enabled them to determine how the handheld SLAM-based scanner stacked up against the static scanner in their real-world workflow.

The results? When comparing the final deliverables, nmcn found that there was negligible difference between the 3D models generated by the two scanners. That means nmcn gained the time and cost savings of handheld SLAM-based scanning, but without any tradeoff in the quality of the company's work.

Click through to our resource portal to read the full case study, which includes hard numbers, images, and a cost-savings analysis that compares the expense of using PX-80 in-house vs contracting out to a team of service providers. Once you're done with that, check out some of our other quantitative comparisons, technology beginner's guides, and step-by-step case studies for PX-80 applications ranging from 2D floor-plan generation to forest inventory.


The cover of nmcn's PX-80 case study


Topics: construction, Accuracy, Case Study