3D Laser Scanning at Fraport / Project Report

3D Laser Scanning at the Frankfurt am Main Airport

The status quo in the building and construction industry in Germany and all over Europe is characterised by the fact that more than half of all civil engineering projects are fulfilled in the context of existing structural conditions. A reconstruction is often enough so that a building can be revitalised and brought back to active life.

Reconstruction operations require structural surveys. The more precise a structural survey is, the more time and costs can be saved in project planning and execution. That is easier said than done because the plans, which have to be utilised, are often only on paper in 2D. They are regularly not even up to date or they do not exist anymore. What should be done? Manual measurements or photogrammetry are expensive and quite imprecise. However buildings and facilities can be documented in 3D via remote 3D laser scanning.

In some cases detailed structural survey documentation should be created not only before the project planning and execution but also during the ongoing constructional measures.

As an innovative corporation, the Fraport AG, the operator of the Frankfurt am Main Airport, utilises the 3D laser scanning technology in order to document the structural conditions as well as to create effectively construction-accompanying project documentation. The advantages of the 3D laser scanning technology are presented on the basis of two projects, which the 3D-Scanline Engineering Office has executed at the Frankfurt am Main Airport during the last two years.

For a start: What is 3D Laser Scanning at all?

Surface geometries can be documented in 3D by means of a 3D laser scanner. The surfaces of objects are scanned by a laser beam point by point. In such a way a discrete 3D scan points set, which is referred to as point cloud, is created. The light that is reflected by the objects is recorded. The distance data arise as a result of the measurement of the light beam run time and of the phase difference, so that an authentic 3D point cloud occurs.

Scanners are very expensive devices. Their operation and the administration of the captured data require a lot of experience. That is why it is worthwhile to use the support of a service provider for surveys and for the subsequent data processing. Some service providers cover the entire workflow: from the survey planning through the scanning itself to the CAD modelling. The 3D-Scanline Engineering Office provides complex services of 3D laser scanning, CAD modelling, and visualisation. Furthermore 3D-Scanline develops the ScanManager Software in co-operation with iQsoftlab GmbH (Ltd). Black-and-white and coloured scans from high-definition 3D laser scanners are viewed, analysed, and managed by means of the ScanManager Software. 3D-Scanline works also in the area of architectural design and reconstruction planning.

Project 1

  • Structural survey of Gate C6 at the Frankfurt am Main Airport by means of 3D laser scanning.
  • Creation of 3D CAD documentation of Gate C6 on the basis of 3D scan data.

In 2006 the 3D-Scanline Engineering Office, Munich, has run a structural survey by means of 3D laser scanning in the course of the rehabilitation works at Gate C6. The ca. 4.300 sq. m. of the three storeys (basement, ground storey, and first storey) have been documented via 220 scans within two weeks. Subsequently, precise 3D CAD structural survey data of the C6 construction site and of the associated building services were compiled. The structural survey data of 3D-Scanline were the basic prerequisite for the successful planning and execution of the reconstruction measures at the Frankfurt am Main Airport

Gate C6, Frankfurt am Main Airport, 2006

Gate C6, Frankfurt am Main Airport, 2006

Project 2

  • Creation of construction-accompanying project documentation of Gate B at the Frankfurt am Main Airport by means of 3D laser scanning

You can imagine the following scenario: An extensive reconstruction has to be executed in a building. No plans of that building are available or only outdated 2D plans exist in paper format. You do not know the actual state and as usually happens the short project execution deadline applies an enormous pressure to you. It is understood that for a start a structural survey has to be fulfilled. But how? The access floors and the suspended ceilings cover all building services. Moreover a section of the building is in operation. What should be done?

The Fraport AG was familiar with that project scenario when the future-oriented project managers of the corporation decided in May 2008 to utilise the advantages of the ultramodern and highly efficient solution of the construction-accompanying project documentation. The 3D-Scanline Engineering Office again was entrusted with that task. The 3D laser scanning technology was taken as a basis of the construction-accompanying project documentation

The most important stages of the construction process at the Gate B of the Frankfurt am Main Airport were documented via 3D laser scanning in several phases between May 2008 and February 2009.

Advantages of the construction-accompanying project documentation:

  1. The 3D scan data are documentation of the actual state. They serve as a basis of the creation and of the verification of the revision plans of the subcontractors. Any deviation from the detailed design is documented with accuracy to the millimetre.
  2. The 3D scan data serve also as performance record and as proof of performance acceptance for the contractee.
  3. When the building services have been already installed and have been hidden behind the access floors and the suspended ceilings, it is quite expensive to dismantle for example the suspended ceilings in order to record the installations because of the smallest maintenance, repair, or reconstruction measures. By means of the 3D scan data you know exactly what is where.

It is obvious to expect that the construction-accompanying project documentation, which is created via 3D laser scanning, will be introduced as a standard in the near future. In this respect the Fraport AG is one step ahead of many airports in Germany and worldwide.

ScanManager as a Smart 3D Scan Data Management System

The transformation of the 3D scan data into CAD data is a cost- and time-consuming component of the 3D laser scanning technology. The recognition of objects (planes, cylinder, spheres, etc.) in point clouds is associated largely with manual work as well as with low productivity. Diverse algorithms support the user, so that he/she can recognise objects in point clouds, but they are incapable to execute the object recognition automatically. Hence the question: Can the 3D scan data be utilised as basis of design works without transforming them into CAD data?

The high-performance 3D scan data management system of the iQsoftlab GmbH and of the 3D-Scanline Engineering Office provides the answer of that question: Yes. 3D scan data should not be regarded just as a simple basis for drawing over original images. ScanManager discovers the surplus value of your 3D scan data.

The ScanManager software of iQsoftlab Ltd is a high-performance, practice-oriented, and professional software tool for viewing, analysing, and managing black-and-white and coloured scans from high-resolution 3D laser scanners.

The most important features of ScanManager are the following:

  1. Converting 3D laser scan data. Supported 3D scan file formats of Faro, Leica, Riegl, and Zoller+Fröhlich.
  2. Visualisation of 3D scan data and point cloud sections.
  3. Allocation of the 3D Scans into Different Levels.
  4. Generation and export of horizontal, vertical, and at-will-leaned sections through point clouds.LT – jpg | PRO – jpg, dxf, iges, ptc, xyz.
  5. Measurement of distances in scan data:
    – Distance between two points
    – Orthogonal distance between a point and a surface
    – Distance between objects, recognised in a point cloud (e.g. between pipelines, walls).
  6. Interaction with Different Programmes (CAD, CAFM, etc).
  7. Point cloud export into DXF, PTC, ASCII, and IGES formats.
  8. Placement of comments, notes & links to certain scan positions. Export as txt and Excel data.
  9. Import of DXF data and overlaying point cloud sections with them. The DXF layer structure remains unchanged.
  10. Import of VRML data into point clouds.
  11. Variance Analysis of a VRML model and point clouds by means of distance measurements.
  12. Drawing lines, circles, ellipses, rectangles and polygons.
  13. Drawing polylines and automated data transfer into AutoCAD.
  14. Geometrical object recognition in point clouds (plane, cylinder and sphere). Recognition of object edges. Export into DXF.

Measurement of distances in scan data

Since recently it has been possible to integrate ScanManager into the facility management (FM) systems of clients. Thus quite new dimensions and further activity areas for the FM are discovered: management of real estates on the basis of cost-optimising 3d scan data. It becomes possible via the definition of evaluable objects within the 3D scan data. The iQsoftlab GmbH has already submitted a patent application concerning the innovative concept of 3D scan data integration with FM systems.

ScanManager + Facility-Management-Systems

ScanManager + Facility-Management-Systems

Merkmale der Anbindung der Software ScanManager an FM-Systeme

  • Visualisation of scans in FM systems.
  • Measurement of distances.
  • Placement of attributes to objects and surfaces.
  • Inquiry of processes states.
  • All persons, engaged in a project, have the scanned environment on their PCs.
  • Independence of project management in terms of location.
  • Intuitive communication tool for all persons that are involved in a project.

ScanManager pdf-Broschure