Vollmer introduces 3-D laser-scanning technology

News Vollmer Associates July 13, 2006
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Vollmer Associates is one of the first design firms in New York City to introduce a new technology called high definition scanning (HDS), which uses a laser scanner to reproduce exactly what it sees in three dimensions. The result appears to be a digital photograph but is actually a reproduction of hundreds of thousands of data points packed closely together.

The new technology offers significant possibilities for the real-estate market as well as structural engineers, architects, façade restoration firms and others who produce as-built drawings.

Using HDS, a freestanding office building can be scanned and the image will capture every feature of the façade as well as the adjacent landscape and street areas. Because the image is three-dimensional, it can be manipulated and rotated a full 360 degrees. The scanners are also ideal for bridges. An entire bridge can be scanned from various vantage points detailing the piers, bearings, stringers and vertical clearances.

This new technology will provide many benefits such as reproducing entire streetscapes with details such as buildings, sidewalks, curbs, trees, street furniture and lane striping captured in the image. Elevations and cross-sections of the area can be viewed or imported into CAD software to produce topographic maps. Window elevations and decorative detail also are captured and viewable. As-built drawings for many older buildings no longer exist, but with this technology complete as-built drawings can be recreated.

Scanning the interior of the building and incorporating those images with the exterior allows an owner, tenant or broker to walk through the front door and proceed floor by floor, getting a guided tour of the entire building in precise detail. The scanned reproduction is dimensionally perfect, giving exact room dimensions as well as the locations of all features within a fraction of an inch.

HDS will be an important tool for building renovation, restoration and historic preservation, since many older buildings have inadequate as-built drawings. It also will allow building inspectors to perform a visual inspection in a fraction of the time it would ordinarily take and with greater detail.

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