Laser scanning has transformed efficiency for Faithful Registered Surveying in Japan

Case study

Author: Yoshie Katagiri

“With BLK360, there is basically no place that cannot be surveyed,” Takashi Nakata.

Faithful Registered Surveying (FRS) is a land surveying company based in Osaka City, Japan. The company’s work ensures an accurate record of property in the area, and is essential for the smooth running of the property market, validating corporate and individual property rights. The company recently increased the speed and efficiency of its on-site survey work by introducing Leica Geosystems' imaging laser scanner, the Leica BLK360.


Objective: reducing time spent on-site

Takashi Nakata, a land and house surveyor for FRS explains the inspection process. “With land inspection, we conduct surveys of the ground to define the exact border of the property, clarify the land use clarification, and registers to the Legal Affairs Bureau. For the building inspection, we classify the category of the building, define the structure, and survey the floor area space and we also registers the results to the Legal Affairs Bureau. We measure and assess the invisible thing called ‘boundary.’”

The business’ customers are mainly real estate companies that handle custom construction as well as construction companies and design offices. Speed and price are important factors for clients, so the more quickly that FRS surveyors can work, the more competitive the business is. It was with this in mind that that company introduced 3D laser scanning. “I felt that it is significant to reduce the time of on-site work reliably,” Explains Nakata.

Nakata researched various laser scanners before choosing the BLK360. The deciding factors were fast performance and mobility, with some other products considered weighing up to four times more than the BLK360. “I liked the BLK360's extremely compact size and high performance. Its vertical orientation makes it convenient for measuring in tight spaces. We decided that being lightweight and highly manoeuvrable means that you can easily use it for everyday use, which is a significant advantage in terms of investment effect.”


Quickly measure sites with poor visibility



A major benefit of 3D laser scanning is the ability to measure difficult spaces quickly. With traverse surveying using total station, you can only measure between the lines of sight of two or more points. If you need to measure around a corner, or a wall blocked by trees, you need to move the total station to measure more points to build a chain of sight around the barrier.

A laser scanner works completely differently. It captures physical objects in 3D, producing a comprehensive set of measurement points known as a point cloud. Nakata explains, “In places with poor visibility, such as climbing stairs between high fences, it is very difficult to measure with a total station, and I feel stress. If you set BLK360 at multiple places in the survey site and acquire point clouds, you can register point clouds by using [a point of reference], for example, a utility pole that is visible on the side without walls. Even in a complex site where the visibility is blocked , the measurement data can be obtained with the minimum number of scans without any worries, which is a great advantage in reducing the time required for on-site work.”


Comprehensive datasets save time and prevent re-work



Laser scanner captures the entire site in a point cloud, so if you are asked by a client for more detail than was in the original brief, you don’t need to go back on-site to take more measurements.

“Before, when I made a cross-section of a position and presented it, I was often suddenly told, ‘I want a cross-section of this position.’ In the past, we had to go to the site again and repeat the measurement each time. Not only revisiting the site but also measuring extra points just in case is an extra and wasteful task, which will increase the on-site work hours. With BLK360, the problem of redoing on-site work has been resolved. Since we have 3D data, we can handle level measurement and cross-sectional views immediately by processing point cloud data stored in office PC if we receive an additional request,” says Nakata.


Reduction of work man-hours by 30%

As initially expected, the BLK360 delivered significant results in reducing fieldwork time. “It took three hours for one person to use the BLK360 to measure a site, which would take three hours for two people with a total station. The number of man-hours has been halved to three man-hours," explains Nakata. Adding in the time taken to process and edit the point cloud and the time for projects, which still require using a total station, has saved the business about 30% in man hours since the 3D laser scanner was introduced.

“In addition to simply reducing the number of man-hours, two people can do other things in parallel, such as one person can go to the government office and request for necessary documents while one person is surveying with BLK360. It is also significant that the number of tasks that can be completed by one person has increased. The degree of freedom of work has increased,” Nakata explains.


Growing the business with laser scanning



Being able to offer 3D laser scanning as a service is helping FRS to differentiate and grow its business. The company is currently educating customers and prospective companies about the advantages and potential uses of laser scanning.

Nakata says, “We have already made a video explaining the points of the point cloud data, and attached 3D images with the boundary points and boundaries highlighted, making it easy for customers and related parties to appreciate. Some customers are considering using it in the design of pre-built houses.” Nakata is also researching combining Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) data capture with the BLK360 to expand the range of work that the company can undertake. “With BLK360, there is basically no place that cannot be surveyed.”

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