Don't Model Points

Why modeling point clouds alone causes error

I remember the experience of seeing my first laser scan point cloud. I was at a conference in the early 2000’s. A strange instrument was set up on a survey tripod in a vendor’s booth in the exhibit hall. The technician manning the device also had a computer hard wired to it. As I stopped to investigate, I thought, “What in the world is this?” Gazing at his screen I watched with amazement at what I was seeing. There was a 3-dimensional image of the truss system holding up the exhibit hall’s roof rotating around on the monitor. “Wow! That’s crazy,” I thought. I asked, “what is this thing?” He said, “it’s a 3D laser scanner.” I asked what it cost, and he told me about $250,000. I thought, that is as much as a house. I guess I’ll never own one of those.