Below are some frequently asked questions about SAM and the 3D services we provide. Do you have a question not listed below? Please e-mail us or telephone us at 800-656-9525.

What is 3D Laser Scanning (3DLS)?

3DLS is the process of taking real world objects and generating 3-Dimensional data from them, within a digital environment. Typically 3DLS involves the use of point clouds to, 2D Plans, 3D models, BIM models, visualizations, images, video, and other objects.

What is a point cloud?

A point cloud is a collection of data points that are located in a 3-Dimensional Space (typically numbering in the hundreds of thousands to millions), that are obtained from a 3D imaging machine or 3D Laser Scanner.

What is BIM?

The National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee defines BIM as: “Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition. A basic premise of BIM is collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility to insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder.

How big are the files?

A single raw scan file averages approximately 600 megabytes, but can be as large as several gigabytes. As the points are processed and multiple raw scan files registered together, the file size can grow to be tens of gigabytes (hundreds of gigabytes for large projects). Our 3DLS modeling technicians work with the registered data sets to create models and plans in AutoCAD and other platforms that are a fraction of the original data set (typically less than 10 megabytes).

What is Leica TruView?

SAM publishes point cloud data for web-based sharing and viewing allowing access from anywhere in the world. Using the FREE Leica TruView (Internet Explorer Plugin) panoramic point cloud viewer, users can view, zoom in, or pan over point clouds naturally and intuitively. Using a simple “panoramic” or “bubble” viewer approach, you see 3DLS point clouds on the computer screen just as if you were standing right where the laser scanner captured the scan data. To download your free copy of Leica TruView, go to the Leica website.

I don’t see my specific project type listed; can 3DLS be of use to me?

SAM can perform documentation services for nearly any project type. Just because your project type isn’t listed doesn’t mean that we can’t assist. With individual staff having more than 10 years of experience in documentation, we will do our best to determine a cost effective way to achieve the best possible results for all our clients. Occasionally there are projects that are not suitable for 3DLS or where 3DLS is not a cost effective solution, in those cases we are not afraid to let you know.The uses of 3DLS are continuously expanding and our staff has always been on the cutting edge of uses and applications for it. Please contact us with your project details and information so we can evaluate your project needs.

Is 3DLS Expensive?

The price of laser scanning is based on a number of factors including the size, detail, location and accuracy of the feature(s) to be located. In addition, there are a number of different deliverable options that change depending upon the requirements of the client. Laser scanning equipment and software is quite expensive, so we offer our services for those customers who do not want to purchase their own scanners. In some cases 3DLS can be more expensive than other means of documentation, however the data set acquired will be of more value, and provide a value added service.

Is 3DLS safe?

As with all equipment, if the correct safety procedures are implemented, 3DLS is completely safe and it does not impact people or objects. SAM utilizes a variety of instruments, however the primary instruments are classified as a “Class 1 Laser Product”, according to IEC document 60825-1. Class 1 Laser (IEC 60825-1) A Class 1 laser is safe under all conditions of normal use. This means the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) cannot be exceeded when viewing a laser with the naked eye or with the aid of typical magnifying optics (e.g. telescope or microscope). Occasionally H3DS will utilize laser scanners with the following classes: Class 2 Laser (IEC 60825-1) A Class 2 laser is safe because the blink reflex will limit the exposure to no more than 0.25 seconds. It only applies to visible-light lasers (400–700 nm). Class 2 lasers are limited to 1 mW continuous wave, or more if the emission time is less than 0.25 seconds or if the light is not spatially coherent. Intentional suppression of the blink reflex could lead to eye injury. Many laser pointers and measuring instruments are class 2. Class 3R Laser (IEC 60825-1). A class 3R laser is considered safe if handled carefully, with restricted beam viewing. With a class 3R laser, the MPE can be exceeded, but with a low risk of injury. Visible continuous lasers in Class 3R are limited to 5 mW. For other wavelengths and for pulsed lasers, other limits apply. In cases where a Class 2 or 3R Laser is utilized, H3DS project managers will work with the client and/or the site safety representative to ensure that proper safety precautions are taken.

Is your 3DLS equipment portable?

Each of our 3DLS instruments and supporting equipment is portable and ready for travel. Depending upon the equipment required it may be transported as a carry-on, check-in luggage, or may need to be shipped by an independent company, possibly as freight. Mobilization and shipping costs vary depending upon the specifics of the project and tasks required.

My project is sensitive; can you sign a Confidentiality Agreement and undergo background checks?

SAM participates on many projects that are of a sensitive nature or are in varying levels of the legal system throughout the US and Internationally. SAM will sign confidentiality agreements to those who request it and our staff will respect and honor the conditions of that agreement. SAM staff has worked on projects requiring extensive background checks and certification at some of the most prestigious sites in the U.S. and internationally and is ready to meet any challenge that is presented. If you have any questions about confidentiality agreements or our background checks, please contact us.

What are your deliverable formats?

Data can be delivered in a variety of formats including images, videos, digital files, point files and CAD files. For design professionals, we can deliver files in AutoCAD, MicroStation, REVIT and a variety of other formats. We can also deliver point files to supplement the models created. Models can also be created in a variety of file types such as STL, STEP and IGES that will directly import into industry standard packages such as Solidworks, Pro engineer, Maya, Catia and Rhino. For visualizations, deliverables can include Leica’s TruView package, images, videos, animations and other media formats of the data. If you are not sure what format you need contact us and one of our staff will be happy to help you.