Laser Use Rising

Studies show laser use – especially LiDAR – on the rise. POB examined the 2019 Survey & Mapping CLEAReport and the earlier report Survey and Mapping Deep Dive – GIS and Laser Scanning.

Respondents to both studies were screened for familiarity and involvement with 3D laser scanning. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to the 2019 Survey & Mapping CLEAReport were from companies that described their principal business as surveying or surveying and civil engineering. One-fifth of the respondents were from companies primarily engaged in construction, and another 10 percent were from government agencies. This ties in well with the global trend of increased growth for construction and infrastructure applications of 3D laser scanning and imaging.

Lasers are used for a variety of applications in surveying and geospatial data collection. On the simpler side, laser levels are relatively common. At the upper end, 3D scanners are currently in use among a third of respondents in the CLEAReport study. This number has increased in the last few years, perhaps as some basic total stations have been replaced. An interesting indication in the most recent study was the rise in the number of respondents reporting use of handlheld lasers. New offerings in this product category have demonstrated increased capabilities.

3D Scanner Current Use
2019 2018 2017 2016
3D Laser Scanner 31% 30% 25% 19%
Data Collector/Controller 69% 76% 82% 88%
Data Collector-Onboard 22% 26% 24% 28%
Digital Level 37% 34% 40% 35%
Laser Handheld 32% 19% 21% 15%
Laser Rotating Level 27% 19% 15% 16%
Total Station Basic 41% 47% 49% 57%
Total Station Motorized 19% 22% 15% 19%
Total Station Robotic 46% 49% 54% 56%
UAVs 26% 22% 17% 11%

Source: 2019 Survey & Mapping CLEAReport

For the full 2019 Survey & Mapping CLEAReport, please visit: