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LiDAR Scanning on the Go: SiteScape for iPhone / iPad


Can a regular mobile device, such as an iPhone or iPad, be used for LiDAR scanning on the job site? 

The answer is Yes.  

iOS devices have rapidly evolved in technology to provide some amazing features both for personal as well as professional use. 

SiteScape was one of the first construction-focused smartphone apps to utilize the LiDAR sensor built into the iPad Pro and iPhone Pro. 

Not surprisingly, the AEC sector like other industries was quick to come on board. SiteScape, a free iOS app that allows 3D scanning to anyone with a LiDAR-equipped iPhone or iPad, will be released in December 2020. 

LiDAR Scanning Capabilities on iPhone & iPad  

iPhone added another feature to its arsenal. The ‘Pro’ models can now scan a space using a built-in LiDAR sensor, generating point clouds with millions of points. 

The software was created to make LiDAR more accessible to architects, engineers, and builders. It begs the question: why use an expensive laser scanner or handheld SLAM, or even pen and paper when a regular device can instantly record certain characteristics of a site? 

After being collected, scans can be exported to the .PLY or .E57 file formats (and soon RCP) and imported into CAD, BIM, point Cloud, or collaboration tools like Revit, AutoCAD, Archicad, Sketchup, Navisworks, Recap, CloudCompare, Revizto, and many others. 

Read More >> Benefits of 3D Laser Scanning in the AEC Industry

SiteScape on Integrating LiDAR Scanning on iOS Devices 

“It’s not just about the data; it’s also what you do with it.” 

SiteScape CEO Andy Putch says he sees a major opportunity for optimizing workflows. “The capture side, just being able to create the content, is increasingly becoming a commodity”. For us, it’s all about providing a complete end-to-end service, particularly in the construction industry.” 

“We’re removing the scan from the silo that is your iPhone or iPad and putting it on the web so that all of the various stakeholders can have incredibly simple access.” “There is now a single location where you can find all of that information,” Putch added. 

That solution is now available in the form of SiteScape Pro. It’s a subscription service that allows users to sync their 3D scans to the cloud. They can then be securely accessed or shared with collaborators via a shared link on any platform (desktop or mobile on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC). Users can also add comments and measurements to scans.  

SiteScape Pro is available now, starting at $49.99/month for unlimited storage and unlimited collaborators. 

SiteScape Applications for the AEC Industry 

  • Ease of Laser Scanning

SiteScape has been compared to a digital spray can. To scan an area, simply point the iPad or iPhone Pro at it. The software is capable of collecting hundreds to tens of thousands of points each second. The team is attempting to increase the current limit of roughly 12 million points for each scan, which can capture over 2,000 square feet, to around 20 million. 

The system utilizes Augmented Reality to deliver real-time feedback on what’s been filmed to help guarantee users obtain comprehensive coverage of the as-built reality. What you see on the iPad as you capture those dots are the actual points themselves tracked in AR and then layered on top of their real-world area. 

  • Accuracy 

SiteScape facilitates users to easily acquire high-resolution 3D scans that are accurate to within +/- 1 inch on average. This is adequate but not as precise as high-end laser scanners. Putch concedes that drift can be a concern, but it can be reduced by performing numerous scans and sewing them together in a third-party tool. 

“It’s critical to us that we set the correct expectations for the types of judgments that can be made with this data and where the true boundaries are,” Putch adds. 

  • Design Planning at an Early Stage

An architect just needs to take stock of what’s there at the start of a project, especially for renovation or retrofit work, and incorporate it into their design.  

SiteScape can assist them to manage their understanding of the physical area so they can make informed judgments about what stays, what goes, and what new things need to come together. 

  • Resolving On-Site Issues

Many construction firms are leveraging the capabilities of SiteScape as it shows you exactly where the issue is, as well as where things will be tight and where they won’t be.  

SiteScape to assist in the resolution of difficulties that arise on the job site when retrofitting structures. 

  • Capturing As-Builts

SiteScape can also be used at the end of a project to document as-built conditions and ensure that everything that was scheduled to be installed was. 

When it comes to simply documenting MEP and utility areas, SiteScape plays a critical role. 

However, when it comes to matters like construction code compliance or LEED certification, where the stakes are so high, SiteScape isn’t the greatest answer because companies must put in extra work to ensure everything is verified precisely. 

Future of SiteScape  

Point clouds and reality meshes are increasingly being used in a wide range of workflows, from scan-to-BIM and design visualization through construction verification and as-built documentation. 

SiteScape, like photogrammetry, provides an alternative to AEC businesses. Yes, the scans are less accurate than traditional laser scanning or SLAM, but as long as users understand the constraints of the SiteScape datasets and use them appropriately, there appear to be numerous beneficial uses. 

SiteScape has made a lot of progress in a short time, but Putch is always constantly striving to improve the software. 

The next stage is to add additional scan segments, capture larger regions, and capture across many floors. His team is working on better compression to enable larger datasets in web browsers and to make data movement easier. 

The most difficult element as always for any technology would be being able to address any conceivable scenario. 

INDOVANCE Inc with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free. 

With our team of 400+ CAD specialists, we have successfully assisted in the development of various infrastructure projects in retail/commercial, resort, mixed-use, industrial, office, residential, recreational, educational, and municipal domains. With years of experience and extensive technical knowledge behind our back, we deliver sustainable, skilled, competent, cost-effective, and comprehensive infrastructure engineering services right from the planning stages to permitting and construction. 

Follow INDOVANCE Inc for AEC Industry Updates and Global Construction News. Feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on +1-919-238-4044. 

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