Vision and advocacy of optoelectronic technology developments in the AECO sector

Erika Anneli Pärn, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a literature review of laser scanning and 3D modelling devices, modes of delivery and applications within the architecture, engineering, construction and owner-operated sector. Such devices are inextricably linked to modern digital built environment practices, particularly when used in conjunction with as-built building information modelling (BIM) development. The research also reports upon innovative technological advancements (such as machine vision) that coalesce with 3D scanning solutions. Design/methodology/approach: A synthesis of literature is used to develop: a hierarchy of the modes of delivery for laser scan devices; a thematic analysis of 3D terrestrial laser scan technology applications; and a componential cross-comparative tabulation of laser scan technology and specifications. Findings: Findings reveal that the costly and labour intensive attributes of laser scanning devices have stimulated the development of hybrid automated and intelligent technologies to improve performance. Such developments are set to satisfy the increasing demand for digitisation of both existing and new buildings into BIM. Future work proposed will seek to: review what coalescence of digital technologies will provide an optimal and cost-effective solution to accurately re-constructing the digital built environment; conduct case studies that implement hybrid digital solutions in pragmatic facilities management scenarios to measure their performance and user satisfaction; and eliminate manual remodelling tasks (such as point cloud reconstruction) via the use of computational intelligence algorithms integral within cloud-based BIM platforms. Originality/value: Although laser scanning and 3D modelling have been widely covered en passant within the literature, scant research has conducted a holistic review of the technology, its applications and future developments. This review presents concise and lucid reference guidance that will intellectually challenge, and better inform, both practitioners and researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-348
Number of pages19
JournalBuilt Environment Project and Asset Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Building information modelling (BIM)
  • Digital built environment
  • Laser scanning
  • Machine vision
  • Optoelectronic devices
  • Point cloud

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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