Uses of Lidar In Construction

Lidar is fast becoming one of the most important tools for construction companies across the world, it can be deployed in every stage of a project’s life cycle. Lidar technology helps to speed up construction projects by increasing not only the procedure productivity but the cross communications between teams as well.

Just like in archeology, the speed in which lidar can survey and process information is changing the way construction sites now operate.

Even though lidar technology is commonplace among many surveying teams and construction companies, there are some who have yet to adopt the practice. Additionally, those who are using lidar may not be taking full advantage of the survey data available to them.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve in construction, you need to know about lidar now a days. Here’s a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about this game-changing technology.

What is Lidar?

Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR), also known as laser scanning, is a surveying technique that shoots laser light pulses onto the ground to create “points” (3D coordinates) from the earth’s surface.

Millions of these points are recorded and combined to form a point cloud. A digital 3D model of the scanned area may be generated from this point cloud.

This 3D model of the surveyed area can help you understand the landscape and make better construction or renovation plans.

Lidar Can Better Predict Construction Project Costs

Beginning with lidar to properly survey building sites, point cloud data software can predict the costs of a project before it’s carried out. By predicting project costs, managers can more accurately plan the budget for the overall project.

Construction teams may use lidar to examine the progress of their projects in 3D. They can also analyze digital surface models (DSMs) and point cloud data to figure out what tools, materials, and equipment will be required when finished. There’s less risk of unanticipated expenditures occurring at later phases as a result of this information.

Easy Collaboration Between Teams

The typical process of collaboration between engineers, project managers, and architects can often be quite lengthy. However, point cloud processing software provides the ability to store lidar data, thereby supporting collaborative efforts by making necessary information accessible to everyone on the team.

The improvement in collaboration allows for contractors to be brought on board faster and in the earlier stages of a construction project. The teams can work together throughout the planning process with improved productivity. All this data can be shared easily, which allows for less risk of miscommunication.

Virtual 3D Construction Models

Using lidar data and point cloud software, construction teams can create 3D models of scanned areas. This allows them to plan and even test various stages of the project in a virtual world.

Simulations help ensure that designs and structures are practical before actual building begins.

With point cloud software, you can identify land boundaries and even simulate vehicles through the 3D digital model to locate safety risks quickly, such as when buildings encroach onto public roads or railroads.

Lidars Mapping Speed

Lidar surveying is a game-changing technology that enables rapid, comprehensive surveys of terrain and building projects in hours rather than days. Traditional topographical land surveying is time-consuming because it necessitates on-foot labor with line-of-sight measurement instruments.

Lidar has a height advantage, it can quickly scan and map large areas from above.

A single building inspector with just a terrestrial lidar system can achieve amazingly fast results. The array of laser pulses covering entire areas can have complete and 100% accurate data within the matter of minutes. This is compared to the old method of measuring by hand with the mechanical instruments.

Land Surveying with Lidar From Above

Way before breaking ground on a construction project, engineers need to know if the land is indeed good to build on top of. Land surveyors can now capture very accurate 3D images of all the slopes, contours, and gradients in a construction site and make the necessary calculations.

This is achieved by lidar, using topographical sensors mounted on helicopters or construction drones. The high altitude ensures that the process of scanning happens extremely quick compared to traditional methods.

Bathymetric Lidar is an essential tool for surveying the stability of underwater landscapes, which helps engineers determine if it’s safe to construct submerged tunnels, pipelines, and bridges abutments.

Thanks to lidar, we’re now capable of surveying areas previously considered too difficult to map due to things like forests and other vegetation. The density of plant life and height of canopies are just a few examples of the challenges that this technology is able to overcome.

While other 3D mapping tools like photogrammetry might have some difficulty gauging this type of terrain, lidar can generate highly detailed maps of heavily vegetative areas with much more ease.

Lidar’s ability to penetrate dense, thick vegetation has made it an essential tool in modern archaeological discoveries. Lidar technologies may also be used to identify aspects in metropolitan environments, such as power lines or bridge cables.

It can even analyze the soil’s chemical makeup, giving construction professionals an unrivaled insight into the earth they intend to work on.

Of course, paired with Ground Penetrating Radar engineers will have a complete understanding below the ground as well. Allowing for a complete picture to built on the construction site.

Lidar’s Building Information Modeling(BIM)

When it comes to visualizing the building itself, lidar also plays an important role. Construction projects have up until recently been done with blueprints, CAD files, or 3D printed models. However, the latest and most advanced method of visualization- BIM (or Building Information Modeling) – outdoes all of these methods.

With BIM, construction teams can build sophisticated 3D simulations to test a building’s design and function collaborate before its creation.

To create the highest quality BIM model, professionals in the construction must first have a thorough knowledge of the terrain where a project is located. That’s when lidar enters the picture.

The point cloud data recorded by lidar when combined together form the most solid virtual foundations for a BIM model, giving clients and stakeholders a view of what the completed project will look like in its natural setting.

Real-time tracking of construction progress can be monitored by using terrestrial LiDAR scanners. This generates images of a building’s structure as it is being built, which can then be compared to the BIM model for accuracy. Consequently, this allows for greater quality control.

Lidar Provides Detailed Structural Analysis

Lidar’s usefulness does not end even after the construction has been completed, even sometimes long after.

Eventually, all buildings and roads will succumb to wear and tear. The damage might not be noticeable at a cursory glance, but it becomes clear as day with a dense point cloud from a lidar scan – especially when trying to spot cracks in walls.

Entire sections of highway can be rapidly examined for surface damage with an overhead lidar sweep. Much needed for aging US infrastructure. The technology has also been shown to be helpful in surveying the levels of building damage after natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.


It is evident that lidar technology is quickly becoming an indispensable tool for the construction industry. It not only allows us to see things we couldn’t before but also provides crucial data that helps us make better decisions, avoid potential disasters, and save time and money.

Like in so many other industries lidar is leading the charge.