3D scanner takes the guesswork out of planning floor space use

By 2nd Lt. Briell Zweygardt
Public Affairs Office

In the fall of 2018, the Kansas National Guard Public Works started using a 3D GeoSLAM scanner to make detailed maps of all Kansas National Guard buildings and properties. The GeoSLAM — Simultaneous Localization and Mapping – uses laser technology to create detailed, 3D maps. The scanner is being used in the Kansas facilities to provide the Public Works department with essential data for creating spill plans and making floor plans.

Prior to the introduction of the GeoSLAM scanner, floor plans use to take a long time to create and weren’t always accurate.

“We use to tape measure and hand draw the floor plans.” said Paul Harper, Installation Geospatial Information and Services Manager. “I looked into some new technology that could aid our efficiency.

“Initially, we thought about just doing a laser measuring device, but it wasn’t as practical,” said Harper.

The lidar scanner is portable, making it faster and easier to collect the data they need. The scanner operator walks around a building and into each room. The GeoSLAM scans 43,000 points per second while also capturing images with the attached camera. After a building scan, Public Works can create 3D elevation maps of buildings and floor plans which can be viewed with or without furniture in 3D, 2D, or grayscale using the GeoSLAM Draw software.

“The actual field survey is not that long, just the pace of walking around the building,” said Harper. “Post-processing is a couple of hours for an entire building.”

Public Works has received requests for floor plans for various reasons including remodel/construction planning, lease agreement documentation, safety evacuation plans and hazardous material storage plans. However, the primary use of the 3D lidar scanner is for creating spill plans based on elevation. The spill plans are critical to have for the six Kansas National Guard Field Maintenance Shops. These scans provide an accurate and detailed picture of potential chemical spills — where, how much, and how far the spill may end go.

“We can scan the outside of the building and it will color it differently based on the elevation,” said Harper. “If we were to have spillage of an oil tank, our colored elevation scans can tell us how it will pool up and flow, allowing us to create spill plans for situations like that.”

So far, about 1,100 rooms in 10 National Guard sites have been scanned with plans for doing all facilities over the next two years. A new scanning cycle will start after the completion to ensure they have the most accurate information.

“We purchased this device for an environmental purpose,” said Harper, “but we are trying to utilize it as much as we can.”