Have you ever wondered how scale models of massive landmarks or buildings are created? Learn more about 3D building scanners in this detailed guide.
Models of large structures, such as buildings, are sometimes required for a variety of reasons, such as restoration, documentation, or archaeological study. There are two ways to get a model of a building: measure every dimension you need or simply 3D scan the whole thing.
In most cases, it’s easier to scan a building rather than measure every window, doorway, and facade. So in this guide, we’ll break down the process of 3D scanning a building.
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Two of the most common types of 3D scanning techniques are LIDAR and photogrammetry:
With the right gear, there are no limits to these building scanning techniques. Some lasers are capable of scanning an area with a radius of up to 350 m (around 1150 ft) with one take. These laser systems can even be mounted on a drone to scan high rooftops or towers.
On the other hand, photogrammetry depends mostly on the number of pictures taken and the quality of the photos. That said, it’s best to avoid sunny days when using photogrammetry since the presence of shadows can easily confuse the software. Drones can help in this case, capturing photos of hard-to-reach places.
As we said earlier, 3D scanning is used widely in architecture and construction. It can help restoration projects by capturing a lot of data about the existing building, and designers can better visualize their designs using the real-world building data as a foundation.
Another interesting use of 3D scanning is in archeology. Scanning archaeological sites can be useful for planning excavation or studying a structure that’s too fragile or dangerous to study in person.
Photogrammetry is more suitable for hobbyists compared to LIDAR, as it requires no technical training to use. Hence, we’ll be using it for our in-depth example.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll be using 3D Zephyr, a photogrammetry tool that allows us to create 3D models from 2D photos. The free version allows us to import up to 50 pictures, which is more than enough for some projects. Try out the trial version of this software for this guide:
This approach to 3D scanning a building might not be the most practical, efficient, or professional, but it’ll give you a taste of the real deal!
(Lead image source: landairsurveying.com)
License: The text of "3D Building Scanner: How to 3D Scan a Building" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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