LiDAR scanner? Point clouds? What to take for CAFM?

LiDAR scanner? Point clouds? What to use for CAFM? LIDAR RIB IMS

Even the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro can now come up with it: with a LiDAR scanner. The abbreviation stands for "Light Detection and Ranging" and means a technology that scans its surroundings with laser waves, similar to a radar. Was used Lidar in the 1970s to measure the surface of the moon in the course of the Apollo 15 mission. Today the application is more earthly and is aimed at real estate. A good way?

The 5-second fairy tale

It is often said that with lidar, like with point clouds, a room can be measured in a few seconds. That's true, but not for Apple devices: Your lidar has a maximum range of five meters and a resolution that is too low for professional measurement. More powerful systems are needed, but they do not deliver anything that can be used to continue working directly. Why?

Point cloud

Much Rework

After a few seconds, Lidar and the point cloud captured an environment. But neither the one nor the other technology filters and sorts. Your scan result is just a pile of disorganized data. Classifying these correctly requires a lot of rework. So why rely on lidar or point clouds at all, if so CAD- plans and BIM models are available?

Advantage: Real time

A CAD plan or a BIM model is only as up-to-date as the inventory has just been maintained. And only as informative as the width and depth were defined at the time of the request. If only room or building geometry was required, there is a lack of data on furniture and floor coverings, for example. A point cloud provides the data for a current image. And a lidar scan shows what is where - in real time. And with a color picture.

The use does it

Color is a good keyword because here too, lidar can be useful in FM practice. This is the case, for example, if it is to be clarified how much paint is needed for a room to paint it, measurements can be taken spontaneously with lidar. Or a visualization can be used to test how a certain color would appear on the surface and how another.

AR as a natural partner

In conjunction with augmented reality, lidar can provide useful planning tools. For example, furnishing variants could be played through directly on site, with the objects being inserted into the space on the screen true to scale and in the correct perspective - as clearly as if they were there. In the consumer sector there is already such an app from a large Swedish furniture store, so the principle already works for the consumer sector on a large scale.

AR - LiDAR scanner point cloud


It is also possible to use lidar to map indoor and outdoor areas in order to subsequently feed cleaning and mowing robots with the data. The cleaning machine then knows which flooring should be cared for and where, while Rasen-Robbi avoids the gravel path, does not mow flowers, refrains from banging on the lamps and does not throw himself into the well. Which would reassess the value of human work, but would somehow be a shame.

or simple just measure

Lidar can also be used simply, without AR and measurement apps. Namely when the folding rule is missing or the ceiling is much higher than the ladder. An app like Polycam then uses lidar to measure the distance - just like any other laser measuring device.

Many opportunities

As an interim result, it should be noted: Lidar is definitely an interesting technology that can already be of use in everyday life. Provided with suitable apps, it will enrich facility management in the future. And of course also CAFM software.

How exactly?

Future projects in FM will show that. Not only when planning the kitchen in the Swedish furniture store.


Best regards

LiDAR scanner? Point clouds? What to use for CAFM? signature MH RIB IMS

LiDAR scanner? Point clouds? What to take for CAFM? mh RIB IMS
Contribution recorded by: Dipl.-Ing. Michael Heinrichs, MA

Michael studied architecture before he discovered software - so sustainably that he has been a member of the RIB IMS management for over ten years. If you can't find Michael in the office or with customers, he's probably out and about with his family, relaxed diving or enthusiastic skiing in winter.

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