When did people start scanning the floor plans of buildings? If you said the early 2,000’s then you are at about 10 years too late. Wait, how is that possible? The first Cyrax was released in the late 1,990’s. Well, I did say “scanning the floor plans.”
You have to work with me here a little bit, but the scanning I am referring to in the question is 2D document scanning. Actually the first image scanner was announced in 1957. It could scan a total of 5 square centimeters. It was in the early 1990’s that flatbed scanners became widely available for the scanning of paper plans and blueprints.
It’s ironic that the same term has come into use for two completely different technologies that are being used to essentially solve the same problem. Namely to create a digital record of the facility, albeit in the case of 2D document scanning it’s a raster image while in laser scanning it’s a 3D point cloud.
Document scanning was a breakthrough, but it was just a digital picture of a 2D plan. Laser scanning sparked a revolution in that it captured the real world in 3D
I was doing some work on the early days of computer aided facilities management – CAFM or the shorter version, FM this week when it hit me that we started using scanning in the early 1990’s to build the 2D CAFM databases. It was the only option, unless you wanted to measure the entire building. In fact scanning was an important driver of the adoption of FM, but in general it never really caught on in part because it was 2D and it was so expensive to capture the as-found conditions.
Enter building information modeling, or BIM with its intelligent database of 3D objects and laser scanning with its ability to capture in high detail the 3D as-found conditions and although there seems to be from some quick searches an FM industry out there, I think it is fair to say that the future is BIM for operations and maintenance.