Laser Scanning

Southwest Scanning uses LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology to capture three dimensional measurements of structures and create digital models that can serve as the basis for 2 dimensional drawings, be imported directly into 3D modeling software for additional design work or be used for digital documentation.

LiDAR scanners send out hundreds of thousands of pulses of light per second, in all directions and then catch them as they reflect back off of the objects around them. Each of these pulses precisely measure the distance and angle from the scanner to what they have hit. These millions of measurements, when combined, create a three dimensional model of the environment around the scanner known as a point cloud.


drone laster scan for architecture, construction and preservation by southwest scanning in New Mexico.

In a few minutes the laser scanner takes measurements of everything that it can see. By taking multiple scans the resulting individual point clouds can be stitched together to create complete and highly accurate 3D models of entire structures. Inside, outside and from structure to structure.


  • As-built drawings: Point clouds can be imported into CAD software and sectioned to create plan views, sections and elevations of existing conditions. Southwest Scanning offers as-built CAD services.
  • Modeling: Scanner data can be brought into modeling software such as Revit and used as a basis for further modeling of new design work.
  • Historic Documentation: Laser scanning is a great way to document current conditions as a way to monitor historic structures as well as provide a base line for future restoration.
  •  Volumetric calculations: LiDAR data can be used to calculate stockpile and borrow pit volumes.
  •  Construction documentation: Laser scanning during the construction process gives builders and their clients an accurate record of the building process that can be compared to the original design work.

Laser scanning has multiple advantages over traditional measurement techniques. Instead of coming back to the office with a notepad full of sketches and dozens of measurements that need to be converted into a drawing; with scanning you have millions of accurate measurements covering everything in the scanning area. Once you have a point cloud of a project you will never have to make a trip back to the job site for that one measurement that you didn’t think you needed or forgot to get. High and difficult to reach measurements are taken as easily as any other measurement and unusual or out of square geometry is captured much more accurately than possible with other measurement methods.

Inaccurate as-built drawings lead to project delays and cost overruns. Laser scanning can save time and money and avoid headaches.

More Services

Takes a series of overlapping two dimensional photographs and combines them to create accurate 3D digital models
Structured Light Scanning
Projects geometric patterns of light onto objects and use the distortion in the reflected patterns to infer the geometry of the object being scanned
Aerial Mapping and Photography
From simple aerial photography to complex maps with three dimensional outputs