Choosing when to use 360° photo capture and 3D laser scanners on your job site

3D laser scanners
© Kawee Wateesatogkij

When you have both 360° photo capture and 3D laser scanners in your toolbox, you have two incredible resources at your disposal that can increase the efficiency of your project delivery, saving time, money and material waste, but how do you decide which to use on site?

Both 3D laser scanners and 360° photo capture serve a broadly similar purpose in the architecture, engineering and construction industry: capturing reality data at job sites. And each has its particular uses and specialties. But, what if you’re on the job site and you’re not sure which to employ? Deciding which of the two tools to use comes down to speed and frequency of capture versus accuracy of capture.

Often the best approach is to work backwards. This means evaluating your job site environment, determining what you need to communicate and to whom, and then deciding if you can achieve that with either a laser scan or 360° photos.

If you are looking for speed and rapid capture of site conditions, then 360° photo capture is probably your tool. However, if you need precise data for as-built drawings before you collect your final payment for the project, or you need to make sure that an element is in exactly the correct location for design or BIM, then a 3D laser scanner is probably a better tool for the job.

360° photo capture: Speed and immediate visual feedback

The attributes of 360° photo capture, along with having the data immediately available through enterprise-grade online storage, encourage higher frequency site data capture and increased collaboration by offsite project stakeholders. Although weekly data captures are most common, with fast-moving projects and increased team rotations, you can increase this frequency to a daily capture without needing to allocate excessive additional resources.

3D laser scanners: Highly accurate data to make informed decisions faster Besides the savings in time and money, if your organisation has sustainability goals, laser scanners are also an excellent tool to help reduce rework and material waste. Knowing the exact as-built conditions of your project ensures your designs fit the first time and reduces scrap. And monitoring construction progress regularly in 3D helps you identify issues before they become costly and delay your schedule.

Reduce rework and material waste

On the job site, you’re under constant pressure to stay on schedule, increase efficiency, improve quality and stay on budget. Working harder with the same old tools is not enough. Both 360° photo capture and 3D laser scanning methods dwarf the amount of time it used to take with traditional methods like a tape measure, paper and pencil.

Having a 3D laser scanner and 360° photo capture in your toolkit puts your organisation ahead of the competition. It allows you to finish the job faster, thus winning new business downstream. These two complimentary tools also allow your construction company to communicate better and in a clear, visual fashion with remote stakeholders, which is essential to today’s working world.


FARO Technologies UK

Tel: +44 2476973000



*Please note: This is a commercial profile 


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