Creating 3D Polyface Mesh Models with Laser Scanning
As a high-performance laser scanner can capture dense point cloud data, this technology is ideal for creating complex 3D polyface mesh models for digital terrain modelling (DTM), architectural project plans, and archaeological surveys, among other applications.
A mesh model in AutoCAD uses polygons (triangles and quadrilaterals) to represent and define a 3D shape. This includes faces, vertices, and edges. One of the main benefits of using a mesh model, as opposed to a solid model, is the levels of modification available. These include smoothing, applying creases/splits, and also refining the mesh in a specific area for even more detailed work.
Polyface meshes can then be used to replicate an item through 3D printing, accounting for even the most intricate details. Laser scanning greatly enhances the level of detail attainable in a mesh model. This makes architectural plans, DTMs, archaeological records, and other applications more accurate with much less room for faults and inaccuracies.
3D Polyface Meshes for Digital Terrain Modelling
A laser scanner can also be used to collect ground profile data. Surveyors can use this to create informative Digital Terrain Models. A Digital Terrain Model (DTM) provides a topographical information of an area. This includes bare earth and underlying terrain, most crucially providing terrain elevation information. Surveyors use meshes in the creation of these models. Common applications for a DTM include cut and fill analysis, relief maps, land-use studies, and geographic information systems.
3D Mesh Models in Architecture
As polyface mesh models can be used for recreating everything from small objects (for example, intricate panelling, column detailing, etc) to large areas (auditoriums, halls, etc.) which often have complex shapes.
3D Polyface Meshes for Archaeology
A major reason for creating polyface meshes from point cloud data is for accurate 3D printing applications. This makes laser scanning and mesh modelling ideal for archaeology, where replicas of finds need to recreate small and unusual details such as scratches, cracks, dents, and other signs of wear and tear that are archaeologically significant for insights into an object’s purpose and historical context.