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3D Models / Point Cloud Mapping in Modern Industrial Inspections

In today’s society, advanced scanning systems have become essential tools for various industries, enabling them to capture accurate and detailed 3D models of objects, environments, and structures. Three popular scanning technologies used by industries are laser scanning, terrestrial scanning, and LiDAR scanning systems. While all three technologies use laser light to capture 3D data, their scanning process, range, and application differ. Industries, ranging from construction to agriculture, are using these scanning systems to increase efficiency, improve accuracy, and reduce costs. This article explores the differences between laser scanning, terrestrial scanning, and LiDAR scanning systems, and their significance in industries today.


Terrestrial Scanning Systems: High-Resolution 3D Models of Environments & Large Objects

Terrestrial scanning systems are ideal for capturing precise 3D models of large objects or environments, such as the inside of large assets, buildings, or even landscapes. They can capture high-resolution data from a wide range of angles and produce highly accurate models. However, terrestrial scanning systems typically take longer to acquire data than a LiDAR scanning system and have a limited range; most scanners can only capture data from 80 – 150 meters away.

Terrestrial scanning systems use a laser beam and a rotating mirror to capture data from a scene. The laser emits a beam of light that is reflected off the surface of an object or scene and returned to the scanner. The rotating mirror directs the beam to different angles, allowing the scanner to capture data from all sides of an object or scene within line-of-sight to combine the data and create a high-definition 3D model.


  • Monitor construction progress
  • Structural analysis
  • Engineering
  • Forensic Investigations


Trimble X7 Scanner

Trimble X7 Terrestrial Laser Scanning System

LiDAR Scanning Systems: Autonomous Navigation and Highly Accurate 3D Models of Large-Scale Operations

LiDAR scanning systems are a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances to objects and generate 3D models of environments. The system works by emitting a pulsed laser beam and measuring the time it takes for the light to bounce back after hitting a surface. By calculating the time and distance, LiDAR can create highly accurate 3D point clouds of the scanned area, which are used in applications such as infrastructure digital twins, surveying, and mapping.

SLAM, or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, is a common technology used in LiDAR systems for autonomous unmanned vehicles & 3D mapping. SLAM-based LiDAR systems can simultaneously map and localize the surrounding environment while the vehicle is in motion. This allows the vehicle to navigate in unknown or changing environments with high accuracy and precision.


  • Autonomous Navigation
  • Construction
  • Forestry
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Digital Twins of Infrastructure

Emesent Hovermap LiDAR Mapping & Navigation system

SLAM-based LiDAR systems are widely used in various industries. They can be a solution for high-volume mapping exceeding the limitations of a terrestrial laser scanning system but with slightly less detail and accuracy. The SLAM-based LiDAR systems that MFE offers are all-encompassing solutions for large-scale ground or aerial mapping operations that often include autonomous capabilities to navigate the remote-operated vehicles that they’re attached to or can even be used as a real-time navigation system in areas where a GPS signal cannot be obtained.

Laser Scanning Systems: Creating Detailed 3D Models of Small to Medium-Sized Objects or Scenes.


Laser scanning systems use a continuous wave single laser beam that is directed towards an object or scene, and the laser beam is then reflected back to the scanner’s sensor. The scanner detects the time it takes for the laser to return, which provides a measurement of the distance to the object. By repeating this process from different angles, the scanner can create a point cloud of the object or scene. Typically, laser scanning systems are used to capture detailed models of smaller objects or scenes, while LiDAR systems are more suitable for larger applications.


  • Quality Control
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Asset Management


Looking for Laser Scanning Solutions for Inside Diameter Pipeline Inspection?

Introducing our latest addition to our laser scanning solutions – the CRM-180 Laser Sensor! Our CRM-180 Sensor is a cutting-edge advancement in laser measurement technology that can measure the internal geometries of bores, pipes, containers, and other cavities. With its radial laser scanning capability, the CRM-180 Sensor can scan the inner surface of a cavity over 360° at 4096 angular points, providing highly accurate and detailed 3D models of the interior surfaces of the pipeline. The CRM-180 Sensor is available with different measuring ranges to cater to a variety of pipeline sizes. Contact us today to learn more about our CRM-180 Laser Sensor and how it can provide a complete and efficient solution for your pipeline inspection needs!

Get in touch with MFE Inspection Solutions today

If you are interested in leveraging the benefits of 3D models and pointcloud mapping in your industry, don’t hesitate to contact MFE Inspection Solutions today. With our expertise and cutting-edge scanning technologies, we can help you improve efficiency, accuracy, and reduce costs. Contact us now to learn more about how we can assist you with your specific application.