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When to Use a Scanning Total Station vs. a Dedicated Laser Scanner

When is it best to use a scanning total station versus a dedicated laser scanner?

It’s a question we’re often asked by professionals who want to improve accuracy and reduce rework on their construction projects. In both new construction and renovations, the rich, complete data captured with a laser scanner provides the required information with the accuracy needed for as-built documentation and construction planning. But what type of laser scanner is the best fit for your needs?

Benefits of a Scanning Total Station

For most concrete contractors, where the majority of the work is layout with the occasional slab flatness analysis, a scanning total station like the Leica Nova MultiStation is a good solution. One reason for this is that you don’t have to be a scanning expert to use it.

If you already know how to orient and “resect” or relocate, for example, then you are really just adding incremental knowledge with a multistation, and it can bring a substantial amount of value to your project because it’s so much faster than manual data collection for slab flatness.

You can also get a lot more data doing slab flatness with the MultiStation than you would with a manual total station, which requires you to manually shoot points along a grid created on the jobsite.

Benefits of a Dedicated Laser Scanner

Conversely, for general contractors who perform multiple tasks and plan to use a laser scanner on a more regular basis, a dedicated scanner makes the most sense. If you need to capture large areas, a dome scan-type will enable you to quickly capture and compare as-builts back with your as-designed models.

Also, if you are doing large areas of slab flatness analysis and as-built capture where there is a lot of complexity – say, a pre-construction as-built for renovation or a retrofit project – a dedicated scanner is likely the best fit for you.

Though dedicated laser scanning is more expensive than total station scanning and often requires more use to make the business case, the technology can be used throughout a project to ultimately save time and reduce rework, plus the data can be used by the owner in the maintenance and operations stage, which brings a ton of value.

Need help finding the best solution at the right price for your next project? Contact us today.

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