Laser scanners are gaining speed and finesse, just as tools for handling their clouds of data are coming down to earth.

(Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

At a CAD conference in May, Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, Pa., said it will distribute CloudWorx, a plug-in from San Ramon, Calif.-based Cyra Technologies Inc., that meshes raw point cloud data with CAD software. It lets users work with subsets of data, such as sections, for use as backdrop for detailing retrofit plans.

At the same conference, iQvolution, Ludwigsburg, Germany, introduced a small, fast and versatile new scanner called the iQsun that collects 200,000 3D points per second to an accuracy of 4 millimeters at 50 meters. It can scan 360° horizontally by 320° vertically in 160 seconds, leaving out only its own tripod. "Set-up takes about 10 minutes," says Reinhard Becker, iQvolution president and CTO. See for details.

(Photo courtesy of iQvolution)

Cliff Marks, technology services manager at Paragon Project Resources Inc., Dallas, says he was impressed by the iQsun technology but is still unsure about which hardware is best for his purposes. Cyra's CYRAX 2500 scanner is also fast, as demonstrated during the conference when a large hall and its audience were scanned during a speech and shown on screen at the end of the presentation.

Bentley will offer its select customers a free-trial, MicroStation version of Cyra's plug-in. An AutoCAD version is also available at Normal suggested retail price is $995.