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What is LiDAR?

Lidar is a method for measuring large distances by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target. It has terrestrial, airborne, and mobile applications with full colour capabilities.

How does LiDAR work?

LiDAR works in a similar way to Radar and Sonar yet uses light waves from a laser, instead of radio or sound waves. A LiDAR system calculates how long it takes for the light to hit an object or surface and reflect back to the scanner. The distance is then calculated using the velocity of light*. These are known as ‘Time of Flight’ measurements.

What is 3D Scanning (other than LiDAR)?

3D scanning is the process of analyzing a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance. The collected data can then be used to construct digital 3D models. A 3D scanner can be based on many different technologies, each with its own limitations, advantages and costs.

What Methods of 3D scanning exist?

There exist five primary methods of 3D scanning each with their own advantages and disadvantages

  1. Laser Line (Laser Triangulation)

A laser line is projected onto a surface and the deformation is recorded and measured by a sensor to calculate the angle of deviation. Knowing how far the scanner is from the surface and the angle of deviation the scanning hardware and software are able to map the surface and record a 3D scan. A Faro Quantum Arm is an example of Laser Line scanning technology.


  • High accuracy
  • High detail
  • Fast capture rate
  1. Structured light

Much like the laser line method the angle of deviation is measured and calculated to map the surface and record a 3D scan. The main difference is that instead of using a laser line, a series of linear patterns are projected onto the surface and the deviation is measured by examining the edges of each light pattern. A steinbichler comet 5 is an example of this scanning technology.


  • Larger volumes
  • Can be automated
  • Fast when repeatedly scanning same parts
  1. Photogrammetry

Relies on high resolution photographs from different angles and complex algorithms to generate a 3D model from 2D images.


  • Precise
  • Large scale applications
  • Ground or aerial base applications.
  1. Contact-based

As the name indicated, physical contact is made using a probe and a point recorded in digital space. Multiply points can be captured to re-create a surface or geometry features. A CMM machine is an example of a contact-based method.


  • Very precise
  • Very accurate
  • Capture data regardless of surface reflectivity
  1. LiDAR

This technology is based on the time of flight of a laser beam. A surface is illuminated with a laser and a sensor calculates how long it took for the laser to return. These scanners hence measure the time interval between emitted laser to hit an object, get reflected and come back. 


  • Scan very large objects and environments.
  • Full colourization capabilities
  • Terrestrial and aerial applications

What are the main differences between LiDAR and 3D Laser Line Scanning?

Typically, LiDAR is used for larger scale applications and 3D Laser Line scanning is used for smaller applications. 

What industries typically use LiDAR?

  • Architectural
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Power Generation
  • Civil Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Custom Glass
  • Heritage preservation

What industries typically use Laser Line scanning?

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Tool & Die
  • Manufacturing
  • Product Development
  • Medical
  • Industrial
  • Commercial

What is your service range? Where are you based?

We offer mobile 3D scanning services for LiDAR and Laser Line scanning. We service all of Ontario, Canada wide, and North America. We are always ready and willing to travel worldwide and service international projects.

We are currently based out of Concord, Ontario and are located at:
114 Bowes Road, Unit 12
Concord, Ont.
L4K 1J6

Do you offer on-site 3d scanning, or do we have to ship parts?

Yes! We can quite easily bring our scanners and workstations directly to you or facilitate scanning at our facility.

How do I request a quote?

Reach out to us via our website at or contact us directly at or (647) 323-3825

How does LiDAR benefit my company?

  • Saves time and resources in Planning, Design and Construction phases
  • Compare As-built to CAD and drawings
  • Archive building information and track changes over time
  • Building information Management (BIM)
  • Scan any building, environment or location
  • Capture ‘real-world’ or ‘as-built’ conditions
  • Provides fast and in-depth building information

How does 3D Scanning benefit my company?

  • Increased quality
  • Save on resources
  • Reduce scrap and waste
  • Real-time results
  • Cut down on inspection times
  • Independent 3rd party inspection
  • Create your own CAD
  • Capture unique and free-from surfaces
  • Import directly into CAD/CAM software
  • Re-create custom tooling
  • Modify and update existing CAD

What software is used?

We proudly use PolyWorks Inspector, PolyWorks Modeler and Rhino

Can your 3D scan data be used for 3D printing?

Yes! We are able to create and provide ‘water-tight’ 3D print ready models that will work on any printer.

Can you modify 3D print ready files or Polygonal Meshes?

Yes! We can modify, scale, and manipulate Polygonal Models and 3D print ready models to meet your requirements.

How accurate are the scans? (LiDAR or Line Scanning)

Generally speaking our engineering grade equipment for LiDAR is accurate to +/-1mm to +/-2mm and our Laser Line scanner is +/-0.001” to +/-0.002”

What formats are LiDAR and 3D Scanning deliverables available in?

We can provide virtually any format to suit your needs! To name a few:

LiDAR Formats:

  • .e57
  • .xyz
  • .iges
  • .txt
  • .ply
  • .obj

Laser Line Formats:

  • .stl
  • .iges
  • .stp
  • .obj
  • .ply
  • .wrl

What information does Frontier Metrology need to plan a LiDAR site scan?

  1. Purpose of scanning
  2. Customer requirement
  3. Location of scanning
  4. Deliverables required

How large of an area can be scanned? (LiDAR)

Our scanner has a range of 350 meters but can scan virtually any size area

What is the maximum object size that can be 3D line scanned?

Our Laser Line scanner has a working envelope of roughly 6 feet or 2 meters

Are there any material limitations for scanning?

No, we are able to scan any material regardless of reflectivity using a variety of means.

What makes Frontier Metrology Inc. the best?

Frontier Metrology Inc. utilizes only the best in 3D scanning equipment and software to ensure our customers are provided with high quality data and accurate services. We strive to be an industry leader and provide our customers with only the best.

What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a 3D model-based process that involves using one cohesive 3D model, instead of individual sets of drawings. It gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.