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Sight Lines: Thinking Outside the Box

October 26, 2009
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I’m at the Leica HDS Worldwide User Conference in San Ramon, Calif., this week. The attendees I’ve talked to are at the conference to learn how others are using scanning technology, and they’re primed to use those examples to launch their own creative ideas. There are no boxes here.



I’m at the Leica HDS Worldwide User Conference in San Ramon, Calif., this week. Attendance is down about 10 to 20 percent from previous years, but it’s still a good crowd.

I had the opportunity to speak with several surveyors at the welcome reception on Sunday evening. Most expressed the same sentiment: The business environment remains challenging, and prospective clients don’t care about scanning. One surveyor noted that he often has to backtrack in the deliverables he provides to his clients because they don’t know how to use all of the data. It’s frustrating, he said, that most clients don’t understand the value.

Does that mean that the future of scanning is limited? Not at all. The same surveyors I talked to admitted that they’re using scanning in some innovative ways to achieve higher accuracies in a shorter amount of time with fewer disruptions to their clients’ operations. Marketing and selling these services remains a challenge, but firms have found ways to package their capabilities so that scanning is simply an understated part of an overall project where the focus is on meeting the client’s needs faster and cheaper. And there’s an education component involved, too. One surveyor noted that he has to work closely with all of his clients to show them how to best utilize the data he can provide and educate them on the value.

Is it worth the extra effort? These firms are still in business; more than that, they’re doing well. They’re here at the conference to learn how others are using scanning technology, and they’re primed to use those examples to launch their own creative ideas. There are no boxes here.

I’m looking forward to the presentations as the conference officially kicks off this morning. Look for updates in my blog tomorrow. You can also follow me on Twitter.


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