Scanning a Job Site for Construction Documentation

New to Matterport? Read 10 steps to scan your first model. Want to up your game? Learn our best practices.

Basic Scanning Tips

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Place each scan about 8 to 12 ft apart (2.5 to 3.5 m)​. Shorten to 5 to 8 ft (1.5 to 2 m) or even shorter if you experience alignment issues. For empty spaces, you can place around 10 ft from the wall.

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Every scan should have a line-of-sight to a previous scan​. This is more important once the walls go up and the construction site is crowded with equipment.

   

 

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For empty ‘shell’ buildings, 3D Scan the perimeter first. Then take 360º Views at key points in the middle. Learn more about 360º Views

See an example of a scanned empty building. 

 

 

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Take more scans in the important areas. What’s important depends on you and your stakeholders. These can be server rooms, MEP rooms, or other areas. Stakeholders want to review these areas in detail, so take multiple scans at different angles and heights​.

 

 

 

Scanning Outside

Switch to “360º View” mode to scan outside. 

360º Views are great for a “curb view” of the site. They are also a great way to capture significant items outside such as a sewage tank, air conditioning unit, or the roof. 

You can take a 360º View at any time. 360º Views do not collect 3D data (will not be included in a point cloud file) and aren’t aligned to other scans, so there are no alignment issues. Learn more about 360º Views.

 

Scan the inside first, then scan the outside. ​You can use 3D Scan mode to scan outside, such as to scan a path to detached building. However, this is not supported.

Save outside scans to the end​, even if there are only a few. This avoids alignment issues that might happen later. Learn more about scanning outside. Consider using drone photography outside.

 

 

Scanning Around Others

no-people.jpgKeep it simple and scan when the site is empty​ such as on the weekend. When people appear in the scan, it looks bad and causes alignment problems.

You can still scan if people are around. Just make sure they don’t appear in the camera’s field of view while it is scanning.

 

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Keep people at least 15 ft (4.5 m) from the camera​ so they won’t contribute 3D depth data and cause alignment issues.

However, they will still appear in the 2D panorama (Inside View in 3D Showcase). 

 

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Point the camera to a high-traffic area and then scan.

If someone walks into the camera’s field of view, quickly tap X to cancel the scan. Point the camera to the high-traffic area and then try again.

The camera will always rotate in a clockwise direction. It rotates and stops six times at each 60º sector.

 

 

Scanning for Milestone Documentation

Construction documentation is most useful when you have multiple Matterport Spaces that show the same building at different phases​ of construction, such as after a concrete pour and before drywall goes up.

You can then compare the view from the same position at different phases​ to see what changed across time.

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However, to do this you have to scan at the exact same positions​ every time you scan.

Mark the floor with tape, spray paint, or post-it notes after every scan​. When you scan again after the next milestone, place the camera in the exact same locations.

 

 

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Mark your written 2D floor plan after every scan. ​If your markings are lost or covered up, refer back to the plan.

Duplicating a previous model and then rescanning the new areas is NOT suggested.​ While this is an easy solution, this can lead to inaccuracy since your stakeholders are not clear about what exactly is new and what is old.

 

 

Stairs, Ceilings, & Floors

The Matterport camera captures data across all 360º horizontal degrees, but there are some vertical limits. For most cases, scanning at normal eye level is good enough.

 

Upper Limits (Ceilings)

For normal ceilings up to 25 ft (7.5 m) high, the camera will capture the ceiling perfectly fine​. Just place the camera at normal eye level​ (5 to 6 ft, or 1.5 to 2 m).

Areas with double or triple-high ceilings such as a cafeteria or a grocery store can be scanned with extra-tall tripods.

In addition, you may also want more 3D data of what’s on the ceiling​, such as the ventilation ducts, so you can generate a better point cloud for BIM. Or you may just want better 2D imagery of the HVAC or electrical for closer inspection.

First take a scan at normal, eye-level height​. Then extend the tripod as high as possible​ and take another scan.

We suggest using an extra-high tripod​ such as the Manfrotto 028B that can extend up to 8 ft (2.5 m).

Remember, the camera cannot scan directly above itself. So to capture 3D data or 2D imagery of what’s on the ceiling, you have scan around the desired spot.

Remember, after you've uploaded the model and it has processed, you can also download a reflected ceiling plan.

 

Lower Limits (Floors)

The camera can easily capture the floor. Just place the camera at normal eye-level​ and scan like normal.

Remember, the camera cannot scan directly below itself. So to capture 3D data or specific imagery about something on the floor, scan around the desired spot.

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If the object you’re scanning for BIM is very close to the floor, or if the details are right on the ground, then it helps to take a low scan​.

Lower the tripod as low as it can possibly go​, around a height of 3 ft (1 m).

Use a low scan to help you “fill in the black spaces” that you see in the Capture app. Learn more.

 

 

 

Safety

Follow all safety rules and regulations while on-site. For example, wear a hard hat, bright neon vest, etc.

The camera is a delicate​ piece of machinery -- handle carefully!

The camera’s operating temperature​ is 50º to 90º F (10 to 32° C). See Pro2 camera specifications.

  • Do not use or leave the camera at very high temperatures. For example, in strong direct sunlight or in a vehicle in extremely hot conditions. The battery performance will be degraded and its service life will be decreased.
  • The camera should be stored at room temperature. If the camera is not used regularly, then take it out once every 3 months and charge it. If in storage for longer than a year, then the camera should be fully discharged and recharged.

The camera is generally safe, but is not “intrinsically safe” for hazardous situations such as very high temperatures, chemical factories, etc. 

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