Important Annual Conferences for 3D Laser Scanning

As long standing and deeply involved professionals in the field of 3D scanning, we at Direct Dimensions strongly believe in educating and collaborating about 3D technologies. We participate regularly in many organizations, conferences, and events to help promote learning about the various 3D imaging technologies. So for this submission Id like to take this opportunity to discuss and promote some of the excellent associations and the regular events they hold in our 3D field that may not be well known to this audience.

1) The Coordinate Metrology Society ( was founded in 1984 for users, service providers, and manufacturers of industrial coordinate metrology technology such as photogrammetry, laser trackers, portable measurement arms, and of course 3D laser scanners. Member of the CMS gather yearly at the Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC) to learn about the latest developments for producing, utilizing, and analyzing three-dimensional coordinate data. There is strong technical content in the annual conference with many industrial users giving technical presentations and workshops. The best of these papers are then published twice a year in the Journal of the CMSC and other technical journals and trade magazines. This year will be the 27th annual CMSC conference, held during the last week in July at the famous Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

I am in my second year as an elected member of the all volunteer Executive Committee, which runs the organization and the CMSC event. This year I am responsible for the Technical Papers and Presentations. Our CMSC Call for Papers was recently released and I strongly encourage you to submit an abstract. CMSC is a very strong and vibrant organization and I am proud to have been involved since founding Direct Dimensions over 15 years ago. Please look at the CMSC website and come to Phoenix in July!

2) The Society of Manufacturing Engineers ( is a large organization whose primary purpose is to advance manufacturing knowledge. Within the broad SME umbrella there are a wide range of Tech Groups with special interests from aero/defense manufacturing to nano manufacturing.

I currently am the chairperson for the SME 3D Imaging Tech Group where we specifically promote the knowledge and use of 3D imaging for a broad range of manufacturing-related applications including reverse engineering, computer-aided inspection, and part verification.

Each year SME holds the very popular RAPID Conference and Exhibition in conjunction with our 3D Imaging Conference. This multi-day event this coming May in Minneapolis, MN features a large exhibition and display of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies while the 3D Imaging Conference includes workshops, tours of nearby manufacturing facilities and multiple conference sessions dealing with 3D topics ranging from aerospace to art to architecture.

The SME RAPID conference, featuring 3D imaging and 3D printing, provides a unique perspective of the concepts of input and output from digital data and is the largest show of its kind.

3) Perhaps more familiar to the audience of LiDAR News is the annual SPAR Conference held by SPAR Point Group this coming March near Houston. SPAR highlights the latest in data capture technologies in 3D surveying and all things LiDAR. The SPAR audience consists of engineering and technical leaders in manufacturing, industrial metrologists and surveyors, security and law enforcement professionals, and experts in historic preservation and documentation. This conference consists of an excellent mix of technical presentations, mobile scanning demos, introductory 3D scanning boot camps, and over 35 informational sessions in 7 different industry tracks.

I have presented numerous times at SPAR, helped with the boot camp workshops, the forensics tracks, and sat on a panel of experts related to 3D historic preservation and documentation. SPAR is a must-attend event for anyone reading this newsletter.

These three conferences cover the gamut of 3D imaging in the U.S., from my perspective. I classify them generally as CMSC for 3D industrial metrology, RAPID for part inspection and reverse engineering, and SPAR for facilities and civil related scanning. Each event is fantastic, each has very strong regular annual attendance, and each presents best-in-class learning opportunities for anyone interested in these topics.

For any more information on these events and groups, do not hesitate to contact me directly at

About the Author

Michael Raphael

Michael Raphael ... Michael earned a BS degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech, followed by a Masters of Engineering Administration from George Washington University. During his 10 years at Lockheed Martin as an engineer responsible for solving aerostructures manufacturing quality problems, Michael co-developed the FaroArm portable CMM and became the first user on the planet! In 1995, he founded Direct Dimensions, Inc., providing rapid solutions to 3D problems!