Frequently Asked Questions
My company tried laser scanning in the past and it did not work. How is Meridian 3D going to be different?
At Meridian 3D, Inc., we watch Engineers, Architects and Designers successfully implement our deliverables on a daily basis. Through our extensive experience, we have developed a process that produces results our clients can depend upon again and again. We have one of the most successful track records in the industry because the professional services we provide truly produce real-world, cost-effective solutions. Put simply, what we do consistently works for our clients, some of whom we have been providing professional services to for the last ten years. So if you are not completely satisfied with the results you have been getting and suspect there is a better solution to minimize your risk, you are correct. We have helped thousands of professionals who found themselves in your position – until they began working with us.
All of our scanning is based around core fundamental measurement science. Although we are not "surveying," we are a licensed survey company backed by professional liability insurance. We provide registered data supported by rigorous and repeatable surveying techniques performed by trained surveyors or graduates. Our project surveyors and scanners are some of the most highly trained and compensated specialists in the industry.
What kind of Laser Scanner do you use?
What kind of deliverables do you provide once scanning is complete?
As a service provider available for hire anywhere nationally or internationally, we have developed a "vendor neutral" approach to all of our deliverables based on our core values. We firmly believe that full access to the point cloud data and the models via the client's existing hardware and software is a key to the successful uptake of the technology and repeat business for us. Rarely is it in the best interest of the client to recommend purchase of any expensive or proprietary software to view point clouds or models.
Therefore, we deliver point clouds that have been optimized for the individual needs of each client. The optimized data may be full data registered raw files or heavily decimated generic point files depending on the client expertise or hardware. We may recommend 3D geometry models solely, a hybrid approach, or even 2D detail drawings for fabrication, depending again on the level of expertise of the end user.
In short, we can deliver any type of point cloud or CAD based information in the market today. We have experience in all types of deliverables and own processing software suites from all of the major vendors including but not limited to; AVEVA, Leica, AutoCAD, Revit, Microstation, 3DS, and PolyWorks.
How do you price jobs? By the day, hour, or Sq. Ft.?
The way we bid a project is pretty straight forward, but scanning is not a "commodity" that is easily transferred between every situation. To put it simply, on the field side of things we are going to make a detailed assessment of the number of scan positions that will be required to achieve 100% scan coverage with no gaps or shadows of the area you need. We can use that count to determine the number of hours that will be required along with how much data, and therefore processing time, will be required to deliver the finished product deliverables. Due to the unique conditions of every site, we may have to individually evaluate each effort.
For the more "intangibles" we need to account for, we need to know a little about how you operate. For example, do we need a full day for on-site training or permitting? Also, do you want the entire project at one time or do we need to expedite any priority areas to facilitate your design process? We can always deliver priority units as opposed to the entire data set so you can get started right away without waiting for the entire scanning project to finish. Are you looking for a fixed cost bid inclusive of expenses or cost plus? Do you need unit pricing or day rates for your situation?
Keep in mind that after 10 years' worth of experience to draw on; we are very comfortable with fixed priced bidding where we take the risk on cost over-runs. We have successfully completed single fixed cost projects up to 2.5 mil USD and have seldom missed a quoted a job by more than a few percentage points of scan count.
What do you need to be able to price a job?
To facilitate the scan count: We need a general arrangement type drawing or site plan marked up with what you want scanned. Even if this is very rough or outdated, it will help as a base. If the data needs to be broken into specific units, those should be highlighted with priorities and define the site limits. Since we are in 3D, we also need a height so that we can determine if we need to scan from stationary platforms or we can use man-lifts to ensure coverage. Pictures from inside are always very welcome but may not be easy to provide (this generally tells us about density or obstructions). We will take this plan and plot out coverage to determine the number of scans we need.
To facilitate the deliverables: We need to understand what you are trying to achieve or how you intend to use the data. We understand that you might not know what to ask for in this case depending on your experience, but in general are you going to create yourself, or have someone create, an existing condition model or a 2D plan supplemented by 3D scan data? If you are interested in model or CAD deliverables, do you have a CAD standard that we need to meet and what software formats.
I have asked several different scanning companies to price a job and received wildly varied prices and approaches. How do I compare vendors?
The above can be pretty overwhelming if it has not been done before by your company. We have helped numerous large companies to develop their scanning scope packages and have a lot of experience in this regard. In our industry right now, you will receive a wide and varied set of responses that may be difficult to compare if you do not have a stringent bid package because laser scanning does not yet fall under state boards of registration as a licensed profession. Our best practice suggestion is to require a thorough description of the scan plan, methodology, and expertise so that you can compare “apples to apples” on every bid.
How do I take the next step?
Contact us today for a discussion of your upcoming project or a free no-cost proposal. Our managers are more than happy to come to your site and or office to review the project prior to bidding. When we come and walk a site, we are getting a feel for exactly how much effort it will take to complete the work. We will also discover what you are trying to achieve so that we can optimize your deliverable and our approach to provide you a fit-for-purpose solution. When we meet we can show you detailed descriptions of what we usually get to bid, how we figure the cost, and how we would bid your job.
How do I learn more or convince my team and managers?
Often, we provide talks to groups and clients that review 3D scanning technology, the correct application for projects, and how construction companies and architects are using our services today while preparing for the future. We have many projects that you might find interesting, all of which we can provide detailed presentations and live demonstrations for discussion. We have a number of visuals that can describe how laser scanning and BIM has benefited projects. Our managers travel and provide talks and discuss how our services benefits companies like yours all the time. If you are interested, we would be happy to introduce Meridian 3D and our services in a meeting or lunch and learn type setting at your convenience.