LiDAR scanning

I am looking for an app to scan a house exterior and than import it into SU.

Our company does renovations that primarily focus on the back of the home: additions, sunrooms, pergolas, pools, patios, etrc…


Hi Dave.

It depends on the accuracy you require. For something a bit cheap & cheerful you can download a variety of free apps straight onto your phone that will enable you to use your phone to scan a house yourself. Some of the apps will allow you to upload the resulting file which the app company will then convert to a .skp file for a fee.

Have a look at the ‘canvas’ app for starters.

At the other end of the scale you can get a 3D Digital Laser scan, and import the resulting point cloud into SketchUp using either the Undet or the Scan Essentials plugin.


There are a few good ones for compatible iDevices
Polycam and 3D scanner app are ones I like.

Really great for visual reference, but I’d be apprehensive about using one to rely on for actual measurements.

Unless you are using one that generates plans for larger surfaces, most meshes will be very messy and heavy and will be unweildy to work with - Scan Essentials will let you bring in the actual point cloud and use that as a reference.

Thanks for replying to my LiDAR question. I am looking into canvas now, do
you know of any others?

I think for phone apps - Canvas is as good as any other.

I do similar work to you but fortunately I have my own 3D laser scanner which is millimetre accurate but ridiculously expensive. I currently use it with the Undet plugin which is amazing.

Where are you based?

Thanks for the feedback, We started to use SU this year and are looking to see how we can get more efficient with modeling the host structure.

We are in SC.

What do you estimate the cost for a laser scanner like yours? Can you send me an image of something you’ve done withthe scanner?



I think the combination of SketchUp and a decent scanner makes the perfect tool for modelling the host structure. This is what a scan looks like after processing with the scanners own software:

and this is the same scan after cropping and importing to SketchUp using the Undet plugin:

I then use Undet to create whatever surface meshes I need:

Then I create sections from those meshes for accurate modelling:

I can then draw the necessary metalwork to millimetre accuracy:

and then its easy to make the glass fit the metalwork:

and of course you can create whichever views you need to impress your clients :grinning:

I assume SC is South Carolina which is a shame as we could have done a deal. The scanner I use cost just over £40,000 :astonished: but having said that it has paid for itself many times over.