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Characterization of the Range Performance of a 3D Imaging System (NIST TN 1695)



Geraldine S. Cheok, Kamel S. Saidi, Marek Franaszek, James J. Filliben, Nicholas Scott


A 3D imaging instrument is a non-contact measurement instrument used to rapidly obtain 3D information about a scene or object. The use of and the applications for these instruments have grown tremendously in the last decade. The expanded use of 3D imaging instruments has revealed a significant lack of commonly accepted methods and standards to both characterize and report the performance of these systems, and to develop confidence limits for the data and their end products. Industry, and in particular the construction sector, needs open, consensus-based standards regarding the performance and use of 3D imaging instruments for construction applications. To support this need, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing the measurement science (e.g., performance data) required to facilitate the development of standards for 3D imaging instruments. As a part of this effort, NIST conducted experiments to characterize the range performance of 3D imaging instruments. The objective of the experiments was to evaluate the effects of various factors on the range error of a 3D imaging instrument. The factors evaluated were: range, angle-of-incidence (AOI), reflectivity, azimuth angle, method of obtaining range measurement (measure single point on target or scanning target), and target type (planar vs. spherical). The results of these experiments are presented in this report.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1695
Report Number


3D imaging system, angle-of-incidence, laser scanning, performance evaluation, planar target, range error, reflectivity, test method


Cheok, G. , Saidi, K. , Franaszek, M. , Filliben, J. and Scott, N. (2011), Characterization of the Range Performance of a 3D Imaging System (NIST TN 1695), Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created May 9, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017