Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) is a ground-based, active imaging method that rapidly acquires accurate, dense 3D point clouds of object surfaces by laser range finding. Due to the speed at which it can be recorded, this technology adds tangible and unsurpassed value to situations where time and/or access is restricted, whilst simultaneously delivering a vastly superior survey product in terms of accuracy and precision.

This survey technology is commonly applied in two ways viz: 

Terrestrial Laser Scanning has become an integral part of our survey service delivery across industry sectors and survey disciplines – either by complimenting conventional survey techniques or replacing the more established survey techniques.  Once collected, the information can then be imported into a wide variety of data processing and manipulation software designed to turn that data into a visually appealing and meaningful deliverable.  The unsurpassed quality and quantum of acquired data affords us the flexibility to tailor 2D / 3D / BIM solutions, 3D fly-throughs and/or visual impact assessments to our Clients exact requirements and budget.


  • Enable the acquisition of a much larger data set in superior detail and in substantially less time than conventional survey techniques – ideal for time-critical or restricted access sites

  • Perfect for surveying hazardous or restricted areas such as highways, dangerous structures, confined spaces and railways without employing expensive and time consuming SHEQ mitigative measurements.

  • Reduces the survey acquisition time required on site – resulting in less downtime, fewer revisits and reduced risk to our Clients;

  • The quantum of very accurate and detailed data collected on the outset improves decision making, allowing further measurements to be carried out without the need for additional data acquisition on site;

  • This survey technology renders high resolution and high definition data, which in turn enables the production of stunning 3D models, walk-throughs, virtual reality environments, site visualisations and more – tailored to the specific requirements of each client or project


Typical applications will comprise the following (but not limited to):

  • Hard surface topographic surveys

  • Pavement Analysis Scans

  • Road/pavement topographic surveys

  • Structural surveys

  • Engineering topographic surveys

  • Detailed Archaeological Surveys

  • Architectural and Historical Preservation Surveys

  • Deformation and Monitoring Surveys

  • As-built surveys

  • Accident, forensic and crime scene investigation

  • Film, TV or events (planning or visual effects purposes)

  • Health and safety training models, site inductions and training

  • Building Information Management (BIM) – detailed as-builts of existing structures

  • Bridge Structure Surveys

  • Capturing in fine detail ornate buildings and monuments

  • Earthwork and lower-accuracy topographic surveys:

  • Corridor study and planning surveys

  • Asset inventory and management surveys

  • Sight distance analysis surveys

  • Earthwork Surveys such as stockpiles, borrow pits, and landslides

  • Urban mapping and modeling

  • Coastal zone erosion analysis

  • Accident, forensic and crime scene investigation

  • Fire risk assessments, modelling and escape planning

  • Mining and bulk earthworks terrain modelling and very accurate volumes;

  • Slope stability studies.

  • Very detailed areas such as road intersections with high traffic volumes in an unobtrusive manner

  • Industrial applications i.e. modelling of plant, conveyors, complex pipe-work, structural detail


Trail Surveys offers the following typical survey deliverables for remote sensing surveys:

Survey Control Co-ordinate List (only) Soft Copy File MS Excel PDF ASCII Txt
Co-ordinate List included in Survey Report Soft Copy File MS Word PDF
Separate Survey Control Report Soft Copy File MS Word PDF
Terrestrial Laser Scan Surveys Digital Terrain Model (DTM) Point Data ASCII Txt (AutoCAD) .DWG .DXF
Triangles / Surface File Modelmaker.tot Civil Designer.cdm Land XML
Tile Index (If Applicable) (Microstation) DGN (AutoCAD) .DWG .DXF
Contours 3D Un-smooth, Labelled (Microstation) DGN (AutoCAD) .DWG .DXF
Contour 2D Heat Map JPEG PDF
Drawings 3D Drawings (Microstation) DGN (AutoCAD) .DWG .DXF
AutoCAD ReviT .IFC
FEM Ready Drawings (Microstation) DGN (AutoCAD) .DWG AutoCAD ReviT
3D Viewer File (Freeware) Navisworks.nwd
3D Interactive PDF ADOBE PDF
Videos Fly-through Video AVI MP4 WMF


We understand that every project, site and client is different – as are their expectations of the required survey deliverables.  In order to “sharpen the pencil” and offer you the most cost and time effective geomatics solution, fit for the purpose you require the survey, we would need to acquire the following information from you:

a) Data Acquisition

  • Location of the survey – ideally a “Google Earth Placemark” send to us in kml/kmz format

  • The purpose of the survey – this serve as an indication of the required level of accuracy required

  • Required accuracies (planimetric and vertical)

  • Specific detail which need to be surveyed

  • Specific logistic constraints getting access to the specific area of interest

  • SHEQ Requirements (Medicals / inductions / onboarding / PPE / Mine-ready vehicles etc)

  • Schedule / Program – Should a staggered delivery be required we can work with you to provide critical data at key dates throughout your project.

b) Product Compilation

  • The modelling of this survey data can be extremely simple or extremely complex and equally time and cost expensive. It serves that it will be critical to define the exact level of detail to which the survey data need to be modelled.  Please contact us to provide you with guideline Level Of Detail categories (LOD’s) together with the time and cost implication of each LOD.

  • Details on the presentation of the survey data

    • Hardcopy / Softcopy
    • CAD Specifications / Drawing Layout
    • Digital data formats required for integration into your design / cad software

It is strongly recommended that a site visit of the area of interest be arranged with Trail Surveys in order to ensure your exact requirements are met at the lowest cost.