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LADAR Sensing Applications for Construction



Geraldine S. Cheok, William C. Stone


One potential breakthrough technology that stands to revolutionize construction surveying and status monitoring is known as laser range imaging. The device used to obtain the field data is known as a LADAR (Laser Distance and Ranging). With LADAR it is possible to rapidly capture true 3D data for an entire construction scene. Essentially, the LADAR acquires hundreds of thousands to millions of survey "shots" that cover a field of view from the viewpoint of the sensor location. It is possible to do this rapidly because, unlike traditional survey, no target reflectors are required -- range is determined based on either time-of-flight or the phase shift of the signal reflected from the natural objects in the scene. The resulting flood of raw data form a "cloud" of three dimensional points.In the land surveying and stake-out business, such point clouds could be considered as instantaneous "stake-outs" with a degree of precision and speed that lends itself both to web-based volume take out determination and billing and, even more powerfully, enables the automation of the machines that move the dirt. In the case of constructed facilities such data could be further processed to create accurate 3D surface models from which the positions and orientations of individual parts could be deduced automatically to high accuracy through object recognition -- thus producing automatic "as-built" models of the facility. In short, LADARs will likely pave the way for improved survey accuracy and speed; will make possible automated construction status assessment; and will enable the first instances of truly automated construction processes.


LADAR, survey


Cheok, G. and Stone, W. (2001), LADAR Sensing Applications for Construction, Other, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 28, 2024)


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Created June 1, 2001, Updated February 19, 2017