New to 3D laser scanning?  Here is a handy list of common industry terms and definitions as they relate to 3D scanning. 

2D Drawings

 A 2D representation of a CAD model typically complete with
measurements and dimensions for use in many manufacturing processes. 

3D Laser Scanner

 A 3D scanning device that uses a laser, normally Class 1, to scan up to 1 million points per second in a 360 degree horizontal and 290 degree zenith. Every point has a corresponing X, Y, Z coordinate to precisely define a point in space also called a point cloud. This creates a digital 3D representation of the object you are scanning.  

3D Modeling

 3D modeling refers to the creation of three-dimensional objects that are
defined mathematically and geometrically (i.e. a circle extruded to a certain value to create a cylinder
defined by its location, radius and length). 3D modeling can be aided by the use of scan data
(see Reverse Engineering). 


The real world condition and appearance of the space or object you are referring to. 


Building information modeling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. 


Computer Aided Design.  Typically used to refer to the deliverables from programs like Auto Cad, Draft Sight, Sketch Up, SolidWorks and others. . 

Colour Map

 A color plot visually representing deviations from actual to theoretical.
Example: A customer requests a colormap inspection when needing to compare an as-built object to its
as-designed CAD data. 


The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) (pronounced eye-jess) is a vendor-neutral file format that allows the digital exchange of information among computer-aided design (CAD) systems. 

Point Cloud

A point cloud is a set of data points in some coordinate system. In a three-dimensional coordinate system, thesepoints are usually defined by X, Y, and Z coordinates, and often are intended to represent the external surface of an object. 


 The process of aligning two data sets together based on known
coordinates in each. Registration enables the alignment and integration of two of more point cloud
data sets to complete larger models that must be captured in multiple scans. 


 Measuring the part, capturing data, and transferring the measured points to
the computer. It also refers to the computer file that is based on the physical part, i.e., xyz coordinates
that represent physical measurements taken by the scanner. .