LiDAR vs Laser

Differences between LiDAR vs Laser

 LiDAR vs Laser

3D Laser Scanning: Differences between LiDAR and Laser

Are laser and LiDAR the same? This is a question that many people are puzzled by, and the majority of people believe that they are both the same. LIDAR, on the other hand, is a technique or a process, whereas the laser is a device. In the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry, LiDAR technology is used as a 3D laser scanner for buildings to scan buildings and transform them into as-built 3D BIM models. 

Laser Technology

‘Laser’ stands for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’ and refers to devices that work on this concept to generate or amplify light. Many of the products we use daily rely heavily on lasers. Laser technology is used in Blu-Ray and DVD players to read data from the disks. Bar code scanners process data using lasers. The use of lasers for surgical treatments like Lasik eye surgery is also commonplace. Cutting, engraving, drilling, and marking are all common uses of lasers. 

LiDAR Technology

‘Light detection and ranging’ is abbreviated as LiDAR, which is also sometimes referred to as ‘laser scanning’ or ‘3D scanning.’ A LiDAR system can fire up to 1 million pulses per second for LiDAR mapping. The measure of the light that will be reflected directly back to the scanner is taken. Following that, the distance between two points is determined using the speed of light. As a result, the digital depiction of the measured places evaluates the entire environment and develops plans for either renovation or new construction. 

What is the difference between Laser and LiDAR? 

Laser  LiDAR 
A laser is a device that produces a monochromatic intelligible beam of light  LIDAR measures the arrangement and structure of the environment using penetrating laser light pulses. 


  • Surgical treatments 
  • Optical disc drives 
  • Cutting and welding materials 
  • Barcode scanners 


  • Scan to BIM modeling 
  • Archaeology 
  • Forensic 
  • geologic mapping 


Laser is a device  LiDAR is a technology 
Laser doesn’t use LiDAR  LiDAR utilises Laser beam 

LiDAR Process: How does LiDAR work?

  • LiDAR sensor emits pulsed light waves into the building.
  • These pulses bounce off the building and return to the sensor.
  • The LiDAR sensor computes the distance traveled by each pulse by measuring how long it takes for each pulse to return to the sensor after being sent out.

Limitations of LiDAR

  • LiDAR is expensive. Both the initial and maintenance cost of LiDAR is very high.
  • It is very difficult to operate LiDAR and get point cloud scan data during bad weather conditions.
  • Difficult to interpret data sets, and requires skilled data analysis techniques.

How is LiDAR used in Construction?

3D laser scanning for as-builts

Project:- 1155 23RD STREET NORTHWEST WASHINGTON DC  (3D Laser Scanning)

LiDAR is a tool that can be used in every stage of the building construction process. 

  • Land surveying: Before starting a construction process, accurate LiDAR surveying of the land should be done. This helps in understanding the terrain in which the building is going to be constructed, and thus helps in designing the building according to the terrain, and also identifying how the land should be leveled. 


  • BIM model creation: 3D BIM model can be created with the help of the scan to BIM process by a LiDAR scanner. This 3D BIM model created with the help of LiDAR technology can be used for the renovation and remodeling of a building or infrastructure. 



  • Flaw detection: Flaws in construction or an existing building can be detected using LiDAR technology. LiDAR scanning can easily identify urgent renovation needs of a building.  


  • Construction monitoring: The construction process can be monitored with the LiDAR drone services. Construction monitoring with LiDAR helps to figure out any discrepancies in the construction process in no time.  


  • Easy collaboration: Project managers, architects, and engineers can easily collaborate using the LiDAR data stored in the cloud processing software. This enables efficient project management with LiDAR data and information available to all members of the team.


LiDAR is a specific utilization of a laser beam for detection, analyzing and tracking purposes of building construction process or building documentation. LiDAR always utilizes laser technology. Laser never uses LiDAR in any of its processes. LiDAR is used for the Scan to BIM process for scanning buildings to create 3D BIM models. LiDAR has various other uses including land surveying and construction monitoring. 

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