Multirotor (UAV) Laser Scanning – Eckartsau Palace

Old but gold. The video below, filmed back in 2013 shows how 4D-IT had the vision to revolutionize the measurement business.After months of development and multiple hurdles, they finally reached their goal:”Project Kronos” came to life!

It was the first time worldwide, that a FARO laserscanner was used on a multirotor aircraft (UAV) and the results were very promising!


FARO scanners adapt to the access constraints of Mont Saint-Michel

Known worldwide and welcoming about 3.5 million visitors each year, the Mont Saint-Michel abbey is a major centre of attraction. As it is exposed to bad weather, it benefits from frequent restoration work. The French Centre for National Monuments (CMN) is currently focusing its efforts on the Merveille building, located just to the north of the abbey’s church, and containing the cloister, refectory, work room and chaplaincy. Together, these structures make up two sets of three-storey buildings, resting on the slope of the rock and extending approximately 90 m in length, 40 m in width and up to 50 m high.


“To prepare for this restoration the CMN  asked us to produce a detailed digital rendering of the  site so they would have access to a very precise survey, which was not available from the existing plans they had access to,” explained Lazare Grenier, Topography and Survey Engineer at Art Graphique & Patrimoine (AGP). The company, with long experience in using FARO equipment, decided to use scanners for this application. The topography of the site is complex and they needed to work outside of visiting hours. Simply put, a maximum of efficiency was required in a minimum of time. In these conditions, AGP was able to get the most out of the methodology they use in this type of application. This consists in defining all the locations where scanners will be placed in advance of placement to limit the amount of overlapping, and above all to avoid forgetting a hidden area. “This task led us to select almost 700 locations for placing the scanners.”


For the Mont Saint-Michel site, AGP used the FARO Focus 3D X 330 over a period of four weeks in late 2014. Certain parts of the site, notably the exterior walls above the cliff, were not visible from any position on the surface, so the digitisation was done using airborne equipment: to achieve this, AGP relied on traditional photogrammetry, since the onboard scanners did not have a high enough precision. The assembly of the scans is done using SCENE software from FARO.

With many years of experience under his belt using FARO scanners, Lazare Grenier takes stock of lighter and more compact than their predecessors. They are more precise, easier to use and work off batteries. They also have increased their depth of field and are able to record scenes which are much closer, as well as much further away. These scanners also allow for digitising buildings in complete darkness or in full sunlight ensuring total safety for the public in terms of their eyesight. All of this is particularly important in an application such as that of Mont Saint- Michel, where there are many constraints for scanner placement, requiring the scanner to be placed very close to the target in some cases, and farther away in other cases.”


FARO UK @ GeoBusiness 2015

An opportunity for geospatial technology manufacturers and service providers to meet face-face with their users to demonstrate the latest technological advances in equipment, explore solutions and capabilities and to collaborate on design issues and options for future developments and requirements.

GeoBusiness London 2015 - The Geospatial Event

FARO will also be in attendance promoting the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner with accompanying FARO Scene Software. The smallest and lightest laser scanners on the market – FARO Focus3D X Series are ideal tools for indoor and outdoor applications. The fast and accurate laser scanners Focus3D offer everything you might expect from professional 3D laser scanners – with FARO’s established and well-known level of simplicity.

Also being demonstrated will be the groundbreaking FARO Scanner Freestyle3D. The new FARO Freestyle3D is a premium quality, high-precision handheld 3D scanner that can quickly and reliably documents rooms, structures and objects in 3D and create high-definition pointclouds. The highly efficient scanner is suitable for all applications in which installations or properties must be precisely and quickly measured from various perspectives. Thanks to its lightweight carbon fibre body, the FARO Freestyle3D weighs less than a kilogramme, rendering it extremely portable and mobile.

Date:27th-28th May 2015

Location: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London, N1 0QH, United Kingdom


PX Engineering Refine Bio-fuels Manufacturing Plant

The PX group is a fully integrated infrastructure solutions business that has earned an excellent reputation for delivering enhanced operating performance to commercial and industrial facilities. Improvements are produced through a strategic divisional structure that is focused upon three key delivery areas – Engineering Consultancy, Operations & Maintenance and Energy Trading.

Operating globally, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, px’s wide range of capabilities have been developed and expanded throughout the group’s 20 plus years of experience in managing, operating and maintaining some of world’s largest industrial facilities.

The recent use of an advanced FARO Focus X330 laser scanner illustrates px’s use of cutting-edge on-time, on-budget delivery of complex projects.

point cloud data px engineering

Following px Engineering Consultants Limited (Part of the px Group) recent completion of the design and construction of a large extension to an existing Biofuels Manufacturing Plant, a FARO Focus X330 was used to precisely scan the completed project. The comprehensive, as-built 3D scans of the prestigious Teesside, UK plant, that produces biofuel from waste oils, were then compared to the original px 3D design model by using Autodesk Navisworks software.

As-built surveys, using high precision 3D laser scanning technology, such as the FARO Focus3D X 330, provide users with detailed point clouds which enable 3D modelling for a range of diverse tasks, including building reconstruction, plant layout and enhanced data presentation with augmented reality.

With the ability to deliver impressively quick turnaround times on scans of buildings and entire environments, the FARO Focus3D X 330 can deliver fully surfaced CAD models for a variety of industries. Architectural design, civil engineering and construction, facility management, and cultural heritage sectors have all benefited from FARO’s advanced 3D solutions.

ScanData PX Engineering

The Focus3D X 330, as used by the px group on the Greenergy, Seal Sands, Biodiesel Plant project, is the extra-long range – 330m, version of the range. The extremely compact light weight unit – 240 x 200 x 100mm – 5,2kg is ideal for outdoor applications. Simple scanner control is assisted by touchscreen operation a clear display and WLAN.

With an impressive distance accuracy of ±2mm, the Focus3D X 330 has an impressive measurement speed of up to 976,000 points/second and features an integral colour camera (up to 70 mio. Pixel), a multisensor: GPS, a compass, a height Sensor and a dual axis compensator.



FARO UK @ Integrating Emerging Technologies in the AEC Sector

Exploring new technologies and their application within the Architecture, Engineering & Construction sector

Leading with a discussion on the significant impact of 3D printing within the world of architecture, INITION will highlight how this and other cutting-edge technologies continue to advance, enabling new ways to present and understand data.


With live demonstrations of in-house 3D scanners and printers, haptic interfaces, augmented and virtual realities, and diverse high-end visualisation systems, INITION and FARO will help impart an understanding of how these solutions can be used to improve all stages of project developments including planning and engagement, ultimately increasing visual impact and the overall delivery of information.

The evening will feature keynotes from:

Dave Southam, Regional Manager Europe, Faro

Dave will be presenting the latest laser scanning equipment including the newly released FARO Freestyle 3D and taking a look at the latest software developments are making it easier to use and share the results.

Stephen Holmes, Digital Media Editor, Develop3D

Size Isn’t Everything: 3D Printing Buildings Big and Small, Stephen will explore how 3D printing can impact the AEC sector in a variety of ways.


Quick Facts

What: AEC Sector Networking Event
When: 16th April 2015, 6-9pm
Where: Our Shoreditch Demo Studio, 23 Curtain Road
Who: Professionals within the Architectural, Engineering or Construction sectors
Tickets are available here.



FARO Laser scanner at the service of historic Italian religious monuments!

The Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is therefore a building of superb beauty dating back almost one thousand years, with an absolutely unique feature: it is “the other original”, an almost exact copy of the church at Montecassino which, as is well known, was destroyed by bombing during World War II and subsequently rebuilt. The two buildings differ only in the number of naves: Montecassino has five, while Sessa Aurunca has three. The Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is one of the infinite “pearls” of Italian artistic heritage. Indeed, it stands out for its beauty and historical significance: despite the changes made over the centuries (Baroque and eighteenth-century additions), the cathedral still bears direct witness to the typical religious architecture of the period, combining structural rigour, Christian symbolism and a number of refined Byzantine-style elements (such as the splendid mosaic floor).


Despite its obvious significance, the Sessa Aurunca Cathedral is not well-known among the general public and is overlooked by “traditional” tourist flows. For this reason, the diocese and the municipality of Sessa Aurunca in the Campania region of Italy decided to launch the “Sessa Aurunca 3D Project”, a communications project designed to promote the Cathedral and provide the associated services and products.

The “Sessa Aurunca 3D Project” has several goals and is broken down into seven specific points that will explore new frontiers within the world of communications: the publication of academic and scientific reports and articles; the organisation of conventions, seminars and events; the production of stereoscopic 3D animations and videos, with the creation of a You- Tube channel and dedicated videos; the creation of a “360-degree Virtual Tour” with a database and “multidata” to “explore” the Cathedral using computers and mobile devices; the creation of thematic apps and a website; and the production of a “docu-film” about the project and the technologies used. Regarding this last aspect, Danilo Prosperi observed: “Part of the success of this initiative can be attributed to the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner, an extremely precise device that we used to scan the Cathedral’s architecture, which provided us with a point cloud or, more precisely, digital data that we were able to use in our various activities.” The data acquisition phase involved 38 scans made inside and outside the church, including the crypt, and took just over half a day. “The quality of the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner enabled us to acquire extremely high-resolution and high-precision images with very low margins of error, which was fundamental for the scanning of extremely beautiful details, such as the mosaic floor, the ambo, the spiral Paschal candelabrum and the crypt on the lower level.”


The data gathered was then processed in SCENE, the FARO software for the management of scanned data, designed specifically for the Focus3D. This software was used to create and edit videos and images for the 3D Virtual Tours of the Cathedral. “SCENE,” Danilo Prosperi specified, “allows us to easily process the scanned data and quickly generate particularly complex high-resolution equirectangular panoramic images”. Danilo Prosperi stressed: “We believe that the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner is the best technology on the market, not only due to its extreme precision, but also because it is so flexible, fast and easy to use. In fact, it is a compact instrument that is very lightweight and easy to move from one scanning position to another.” He concluded: “The collaboration between FARO and the Master’s in Architecture, Sacred Art and Liturgy at the European University of Rome has only just begun. Given the quality of the results, we plan to use the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner in the future for other projects aimed at promoting highly important monumental sites of great beauty.”


FARO FOCUS 3D X330 assists Bury Associates in their latest project

With Laser Scanning continuing to gain popularity, more workflows than ever now rely on the unparalleled precision and speed offered by the latest in scanning technology. We here at FARO continue to bring new instruments to the table, and legislative changes revolutionising the ways in which project data is handled, getting it right in terms of data capture, processing and modelling is more critical than ever. One company who pride themselves on being well ahead of the competition is Worcester-based Bury Associates: Opti-cal caught up with MD Steve to talk all things buildings, BIM and Bury.

In a rapidly changing project landscape, survey businesses like Bury’s occupy an increasingly pastoral role when it comes to guiding clients through the project lifecycle; and they’re not alone – with specifications now littered with demands for BIM, tighter phase collaboration and the need to navigate complex software suites, knowledge in the supply chain is king. They often say that a workman is only as good as his tools, but even with the FARO Focus 3D X330, what truly sets Bury Associates above the competition is the sheer breadth of knowledge, and committed attention to detail that has characterised the business right from its humble beginnings. Commencing back in May this year, their latest project has focused around the documentation and refurbishment of several of the core buildings of the one of the UK’s major academic institutions. With plans to overhaul the structure of the existing buildings, the University commissioned Steve and his colleagues to comprehensively scan, model and deliver a functional Revit BIM from which plans to renovate the central portion of the building could progress.

Having used cutting-edge data modelling techniques since the early 2000s, Bury Associateshave spent the past fourteen years building a reputation as one of the UK’s most experienced topographic and measured building surveyors around. “The project was essentially to carry out scans, and produce a BIM of several buildings and key external areas”, explains Steve; “Scanning started on site in May 2014 and the last of the models was issued to the client in October.”

Bury Associates Scan

“The FARO Focus3D X330 has already been used on several other prestigious projects, providing the point cloud for a large Rights of Light model in central London – again, it proved to be invaluable.”

“The end goal is to completely transform a whole major block of buildings so as to make more use of the space available”, he continues, “at present, the main courtyard surrounded by large U-shaped building isn’t really being used at all, so this projects aims to put the space to better use by installing extra glass blocks and lecture theatres. Much of the scanning has been carried out using our new Faro Focus3DX330,” says Steve; “There weren’t many vantage points from which the buildings’ high roofs could be seen – and those that were visible were a good distance away – so a high powered scanner with sufficient range was necessary to pick up the detail needed to model everything as accurately as possible. We were really pleased with the quality of the point cloud we got from the X330; it was clean with little or no noise, and with full coverage even in areas covered in dark slate tiles.” Even with the significantly reduced site time enjoyed by those opting to use high definition 3D data capture methods, the project still demanded a huge amount of raw data from which to accurately model the buildings in question: “In total we’ve performed well over 1000 scans, with more than 200 of those being taken in the voids above suspended ceilings,” says Steve.

“Although using 3D Laser Scanning for as-built projects such as this one has been documented to cause some problems in terms of attributing good, solid data to the resulting 3D model, I think this is where our wealth of experience comes into its own, because intuitively we’ve already got a fairly good idea of the kinds of features we’re likely to come across in a building of this kind. Obviously, it’s not a complete solution because every building is different, so where we could we were scanning up above suspended ceilings using elevated tripods, and putting the scanner up through ceiling tiles!

Bury Associates 1

As a company at the cutting edge of their art, Bury have always been eager to embrace the very latest in 3D data capture methods and their project solutions often stretch far beyond the initial remit of full three dimensional documentation. Now offering some of the most comprehensive project solutions around, Bury are no strangers to Laser Scanning; “The X330 has already been used on several of our other prestigious projects,” says Steve, “and once again it proved to be invaluable. The data collected using the X330 has been used to create a 3D Revit Building Information Model, which as well as basic structural information also includes detailed plant and MEP features.

As with many projects of this kind,it’s the work that takes place in the back office that often accounts for the majority of the time – and Bury’s latest endeavor is no exception, with months set aside for meticulous data processing. “The project has been quite a long one, and if we stay on track we’re due to finish around the end of this month,” he says, “Overall it’s progressed really well and we’ve had some excellent feedback from the design team; the challenge has been to ensure sustained collaboration between our team – using Revit to create our BIM – and the architects for the project who have been working in ArchiCAD, in order to maintain the smooth transfer of intelligent 3D information from one software suite to another.”


“I think it’s critical with all of the projects coming our way nowadays to get the modelling side of things right because so often we’re modelling everything – MEP and so on –not just the architecture,” Steve continues. Contrary to the swathes of survey companies seeking to harness the momentum of the industry ‘BIM buzz’ by simply outsourcing their modeling work,Bury are one of the few businesses who have taken the time to really perfect their modelling art in-house. With major legislative changes on the horizon for businesses at all levels of the supply chain, Bury Associates are way ahead of the competition; now proudly boasting BIM deliverables amongst their regular survey services. “We have been working with and modelling in Revit since 2007 – in truth way before many of our competitors – so in terms of the skill set we have at our disposal, we’re pretty confident in the quality of modelling services we can deliver from the survey side of things.”

“We always have, and will continue to be as hands-on as we possibly can with our projects”, says Steve: “The argument for outsourcing increasingly critical modeling work is often based on the assumption of cost-saving, but at the end of the day, saving twenty percent on modeling costs pales quickly when you consider the sheer amount of errors that so often occur as a result of businesses trying to cut corners. Maintaining the integrity and accuracy of intelligent data is crucial to the success of any project hoping to experience any kind of real success.”





FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Scanner – Efficiency in your hands

FARO Technologies, Inc., the world’s most trusted source for 3D measurement, imaging, and realization technology, announces the release of the new FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Laser Scanner, an easy, intuitive device for use in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), Law Enforcement, and other industries.

The FARO Freestyle3D is equipped with a Microsoft Surface™ tablet and offers unprecedented real-time visualization by allowing the user to view point cloud data as it is captured. The Freestyle3D scans to a distance of up to three 3 meters and captures up to 88K points per second with accuracy better than 1.5mm. The patent-pending, self-compensating optical system also allows users to start scanning immediately with no warm up time required.FARO Technologies Inc Freestyle3D

“The Freestyle3D is the latest addition to the FARO 3D laser scanning portfolio and represents another step on our journey to democratize 3D scanning. Following the successful adoption of our FARO Focus 3D Scanners for long-range scanning, we’ve developed a scanner that provides customers with the same intuitive feel and ease-of-use in a handheld device.”


The portability of Freestyle3D enables users to maneuver and scan in tight and hard-to-reach areas such as car interiors, under tables and behind objects making it ideal for crime scene data collection or architectural preservation and restoration activities. Memory-scan technology enables Freestyle3D users to pause scanning at any time and then resume data collection where they left off without the use of artificial targets.


To find out more about the new FARO Freestyle3D Handheld Scanner then head over to our website or check out some of our YouTube videos.





Q&A with Senior Technical Product Manager Oliver Bürkler – FARO SCENE Software

A scanner is not much use on its own – with SCENE software from FARO, all the scan data acquired on the set can be processed and – with the hosting service – securely shared worldwide.

FARO is a manufacturer of portable 3D measurement technology, and has developed the SCENE software package specifically for the FARO Focus3D laser scanner. However the SCENE software is not restricted to the laser scanners from FARO, but can also be combined with other makes of laser scanner.

Using this software, the user can process the photo-realistic scan data from the laser scanner with the aid of automatic scan registration and positioning methods, and then carry out measurements and 3D visualisations and export point clouds. New tools take care of automatic scan positioning without having to rely on artificial targets such as checkerboard markers or spheres. The range of functions of the software can be extended at will with plug-ins from the FARO 3D App Center, for example for creating a video, for volume calculations and much more. At the same time, FARO has published the new version 1.6 of the scan data hosting service, SCENE WebShare Cloud: This enables scan projects to be viewed, shared and published online. And all with the highest security standard.

SCENE is compatible with Windows from version 7, 64-bit, in addition to which at least a 512 MB graphics card with OpenGL-2.0-interface is required for optimum performance. For stereoscopic display, FARO recommends an Nvidia Quadro card. SCENE uses the manufacturer-independent, binary data exchange format ASTM E57, and the tool also supports all popular formats.



How many laser scanners should be used for a high-quality scan model of which magnitude?

Oliver Bürkler: The crucial factor is always the degree of detail required for a scan. The more accurate a scan is to be, and the higher the resolution it is to have, the longer the scanner takes to record the data. We are talking about a maximum of 15 minutes for a very detailed scan outdoors, within a surrounding radius of 330 metres. The larger and more complex the object to be scanned – for example a large, angular building – the more scans will have to be carried out in order to record all the surfaces. It can thus be an advantage in terms of time to employ several devices in parallel, but it is not absolutely necessary. As far as SCENE is concerned, the software can in principle handle projects of unlimited size, and map them with no restrictions.


How does the scanner store the data?

Oliver Bürkler: The scanner stores the scan data automatically on a normal SD card. If a computer is equipped with SCENE software, data transfer is started as soon as the SD card is inserted, following a brief request for confirmation.


There are two methods available for automatic scan positioning without markers: “Top View”-based registration and “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration. Which of these is suitable for which situation?

Oliver Bürkler: “Cloud-to-Cloud” registration uses all the scan data for registration. In order to be able to operate reliably, this type of registration needs in principle some initial information about the rough position and alignment of the scan. When outdoors, SCENE uses the GPS information saved by the scanner for each scan. Without this information, for example when indoors, the user has to align the scans roughly by hand in advance. In contrast to “Top-View”-based registration, this method requires a little more time but is potentially more accurate.

Prior information about location and orientation are not necessary for “Top-View”-based registration. This method is particularly suitable when there are enough vertical structures – such as walls, for example – available in the scan data.

However, in the case of targetless methods the user has to ensure greater overlapping between the individual scanning locations. So you need more scan positions but you save yourself the effort associated with transporting, fitting and managing the targets.


In which application situations is the use of targets as essential as ever?

Oliver Bürkler: SCENE still supports spheres and checkerboards as targets. The user will normally still want to use targets if he/she wants to georeference the scans, for example, with tachymeter data. The type of most suitable targets depends on the individual case.


In which formats can data such as image files, CAD drawings or cards be integrated into the scan data?

Oliver Bürkler: The user can import files in .tiff, Geotiff, .jpg or .png formats into SCENE. The software then displays the file on a horizontal plane in 3D space. In the case of a Geotiff file, the position and scaling are extracted automatically from the metadata. With the other file formats, the user has to enter the position and the scale of the image, for example by means of a dialog box.


Does stereo 3D viewing work in real time in every situation?

Oliver Bürkler: The output of a stereoscopic 3D view can be easily defined in the 3D settings of SCENE. A stereoscopic view is always possible without any time delay then.


Is SCENE WebShare Cloud permanently integrated into the software or an optional feature?

Oliver Bürkler: It is an optional service from FARO, but from the technology perspective it is fully integrated in SCENE. Advantages of the Cloud service include the easy viewing of scan data in standard web browsers, as well as the provision of data in any size. Users do not need any special software for it. The scans are also displayed as panoramic images, so no knowledge of 3D programs is required. That makes it particularly easy in the case of complex projects to provide access to the data to everyone involved – all without any time delay. Even changes to the project become visible in real time. There is the choice of making the data public or of restricting access by means of username and password.


Is web-based collaboration on the model also possible?

Oliver Bürkler: Yes, that is also possible. Although we recommend that a web conference system such as GotoMeeting or WebEx be used for that purpose when several people are working at the same time. It makes cooperation more effective.


You also offer a free version of SCENE, called Scenect. For which target group is it intended?

Oliver Bürkler: Our intention with Scenect is to appeal to people who are not typical professional 3D scanner users, and to offer them an easy way into 3D scanning. All that is needed are inexpensive sensors such as the Asus Xtion or Microsoft Kinect. With Scenect, however, only one sensor can be used at a time.


Are there any imminent plans for a Mac or Linux version von SCENE?

Oliver Bürkler: There will be no versions of the software for other operating systems in the immediate future. On the other hand, SCENE WebShare Cloud is entirely independent of the operating system.



Vietnam: FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D encounters the ancient emperors!

SI2G S.r.l. (which stands for Sistemi Informativi Intelligenti p er la  Geografia, or “Intelligent information systems for geography”) is a spin-off of Marche Polytechnic University established in 2008 by researchers with many years’ experience in the various disciplines involved in the study of terrain and the environment based on computer science and photogrammetry. The company deals with the acquisition, analysis, processing, archiving and distribution of “environmental data” in digital format, using an integrated systematic multidisciplinary approach. It provides services such as remote scanning of terrain, photogrammetry, topography, cartography and ICT.

Eva Savina Malinverni, Associate Professor of Topography at Marche Polytechnic University, explains how SI2G recently came to invest in a Laser Scanner Focus3D, the innovative laser-scanning tool from FARO that provides extremely precise yet simple 3D scanning


The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D is actually a very compact device, weighing barely 5 kg and measuring just 24 x 20 x 10 cm. A technician can carry it around wherever and whenever it is needed. What’s more, the WLAN technology makes it possible to start, stop, view or even download scans remotely.

The imperial city of Huế, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, is probably the largest and most famous architectural site in all Vietnam. It was from here that the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945. Its design was based on the imperial palace of Beijing and comprises walls, moats, fortified gates, bridges and decorations that make it a truly atmospheric setting of great artistic and historic value. “Scanning it would have been very complex and time-consuming had we used the normal photogrammetry techniques.” The FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, on the other hand, enabled the SI2G team to complete the work in just a few hours and to obtain truly astounding results with just 17 scans.


Thanks to the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, a highly flexible tool that is very quick and easy to use, the technicians at SI2G S.r.l. were able to scan the magnificent East Gate of the imperial Vietnamese city of Huế, capturing every detail of its form and geometry with the utmost precision, despite the difficult weather and operating conditions.

If you want to find out more about the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D or any of our other innovative products, then visit our website.



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