How a Cloud Turns into a Plan
30. August 2021
To ensure highest possible precision, we use a 360-degree laser scanner when taking the measurements of a space. Planning then proceeds based on thousands of data points gathered this way.
Every project begins with the measurements of a space. They provide the foundation for everything that follows. Precision, it goes without saying, is of the utmost importance in this process. Without it, efficient processes cannot be guaranteed, which is why we rely on a combination of digital and manual technology when sizing up a space.
Small Device, Giant Results
A 360-degree laser scanner is a relatively small device, just 11 centimetres in diameter and 20 centimetres tall. Put it on a tripod, and it breaches the one-meter mark (110 centimetres, to be precise). And it is light: when visting construction sites, we can take the device, which only weighs 1.5 kilograms, in a little bag.
Once on location, we set it up in several strategic locations. The built-in digital camera first takes a panorama photograph in colour, then the scanning begins: using a rotating mirror and a laser beam, the scanner records thousands of data points – called a «point cloud» – in each location, never taking more than three to four minutes per scan.
If the space is complex, that is, if it contains a lot of corners and angled surfaces, the scanner needs to be set up in more locations. We also gather additional data with a laser distance sensor to check and back-up the initial scans. There is another reason for doubling-down on data collection: Dobas is internationally active, and many of our projects happen abroad, which is to say that we would need to get on a flight in order to check a certain measurement.
This is also the reason the project manager, who usually is responsible for gathering the required data, sends it back to our draftsmen and -women in Lucerne before returning from the site. This allows us to immediately check the data and to confirm that everything worked as expected and that none of the required information is missing.
Behind a Screen but also Right There
Once the data from the various laser scans and the visual information has been imported, the program creates a 3D model of the space. Put very simply, the software combines all data, reconciles the point clouds, and imposes the panorama photos over them. The user can view the resulting object from different angles and move through it. Depending on how much you zoom in or out, you will get a different image (see image gallery).
From 3D to 2D
The information from the 3D point cloud will be manually entered into our CAD program by our draftsmen and -women. CAD stands for «computer-aided design.»
The CAD program creates a two-dimensional model of the space, which forms the basic reference for everyone involved in the project, including the interior architects, all the draftsmen and -women as well as the producers. The latter process the data once more for the implementation plans, increasingly doing so digitally.