What Is The Scan-To-BIM Process?

By: Mica Benedikt
2022, March 9
How exactly does reality capture work and what is my final result? This workflow is the general process across all surveying firms.


A laser scan is placed at the site at various locations used to capture the as-built state of the building and surrounding areas in order to derive dimensions and square footage. The laser scanner used most often by our office is the Leica BLK360 in conjunction with the FIELD 360 APP on the Ipad. This workflow provides faster registration in the field as the scan progresses.


Once the laser scanning of the building is complete, the scanned data derived needs to be processed, registered, and indexed into usable formats. This is done using Autodesk ReCap Pro or Cyclone Register 360 on the desktop. This will result in a .rcp file which then can be imported into AUTODESK software such as Infraworks, Civil 3D, Revit, AutoCAD, and Inventor. The .rcp is also the deliverable format given to clients who prefer to view the finish point cloud for their own records. For buildings, this .RCP file will be imported to Revit for intelligent modeling, and extraction of CAD geometry from the .RCP file.


Once the processing of the scanned data is complete and a .rcp file is derived from ReCap Pro, the file can be imported into various software for data extraction. This can reduce manual modeling time by 50-70%, and further automate and streamline the modeling phase in Autodesk Revit.


The extracted data provides the drafter with a clear base to work from. The data is finally placed inside its deliverable software. In most cases that will be AUTOCAD, where details are finalized and drawings are placed on layers and annotated for clear building documentation. Another popular option is to save the model as a .nwd file in Autodesk Navisworks, which can then be overlayed relative to the point cloud in Autodesk ReCap Pro for enhanced photo-realistic visualization and verification. Autodesk Navisworks also provides the functionality to create panoramic virtual reality by utilizing the Autodesk Cloud Rendering feature, which can be shared in various browsers.
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