From the Editor: What Are We Really Paying For?

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These are certainly exciting times to be in the LiDAR, laser scanning, reality capture, mapping and photogrammetry business. There has not been a better time to be in this industry and LiDAR Magazine is here to help you to understand, participate and benefit from it.

On the aerial side, there is much to be excited about: Geiger Mode LiDAR and Single Photon LiDAR, USGS 3DEP Program, vegetation management standard FAC-003-3 for electric utilities and new applications and opportunities coming from the advent of the use of drones in mapping and surveying.

Brian Mayfield, president and COO with Atlantic will certainly raise eyebrows and stir debate with this month’s cover story "Yes, we can provide high-quality LiDAR for less an $100 per square mile." Some providers suggest that many are in a "race to the bottom" simply , driving price down and offering a lesser service. However, it does not provide any concrete answers as to why paying more is better which begs the question, what are we really paying for? Apropos of workflow efficiency, Jill Wrenn goes on to cover evolving field operations while Jamie Young addresses changing specifications.

The future could not be brighter for laser scanning and reality capture. According to a survey released on August 9th by industry newsletter Workflow 4.0, despite swings in the global economic climate, strong growth is expected in the laser scanning and modeling market, as nearly 4 of 5 firms expect their business to expand in the next twelve months. Many firms are not only forecasting growth, but also expect substantial business expansion. The survey, sent to over 5,500 firms, illuminates crucial industry data including average project profit margin, scanning/modeling best practices, profit margin degraders, hardware and software market share.

Chris Scotton, CEO of ClearEdge3D, one of the sponsors of the survey, is not surprised by the results. "In conversations with our customers, nearly all say they are as busy as they’ve ever been, with some having to turn away work," he said. "I think we are finally seeing an inflection point in the adoption of scanning and modeling in the AEC industry."

The survey also uncovers the industry’s average profit margin on projects (a critical benchmark for any firm), the best practices AEC leaders deem most important to success, which hardware/software manufacturers dominate the market, and more. You can download a free copy of the survey results by visiting

Roland Mangold //

A 296Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE