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3D Surveying Industry Leader Spots Trends for 2024

photo of damage 3D Surveying Industry
Image From Hexagon

With just one month remaining in 2023, this is the time when we both reflect on the year that was, but also look ahead to what’s to come. This exercise is always an interesting one with respect to the 3D surveying industry, which is simultaneously one of the oldest in the world with surveying projects dating as far back as ancient civilizations, but also one of the most innovative. While other similarly established industries tend to stagnate and remain steadfast with old workflows, surveying has regularly looked for better, safer, and more innovative ways to complete the jobs.

From an interview with Leica Geosystems” Craig Hill in Geo Week News by Matt Collins

This is especially true today, with so many aspects of the technology world at large coming together in ways to benefit a wide swath of industries, including surveying. With things like AI and improved sensor technology, surveyors are poised for another large step forward in their space in 2024. This is something Craig Hill, Vice President of Marketing & Services with Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon, also foresees, and he recently took some time to speak with Geo Week News about some of the broad trends in the surveying industry coming in 2024.

Diversification is a must

Hill notes that there are certain areas in which surveyors have long excelled, and specifically areas like location and accurate GPS work are being improved by new technology. That said, in addition to the diversification of technology, surveyors can also innovate their overall offerings to separate themselves from “saturated” markets. Surveyors can, for example, branch out into 3D laser scanning, deformation monitoring, mobile mapping, and underground utility detection.

Part of that is being willing to adopt new technologies, which is important for myriad reasons, but diversifying business models more broadly can be just as important. This is where areas like underground utility detection and deformation monitoring – i.e., projects like inspecting bridges, dam and other structures – can open up entirely new sources of revenue. Even better, rather than the traditional business model of a surveyor where they contract a project and get paid as a one-off, monitoring structures can be something that brings in revenue on a regular basis, be it monthly, quarterly, biannually – whatever makes the most sense for that project.

“We’ve talked about SaaS – software as a service,” Hill told Geo Week News. “For surveyors, monitoring can be ‘Safety as a Service,’ a recurring-revenue offer to their clients, keeping people on and around construction sites safe.”

Adoption of new technology

To some extent, surveyors can diversify their business models simply by adjusting their workflows and looking for different types of clients, but a lot of that work has to do with adopting new positioning and measuring technology. In this case, we’re not necessarily talking about technology that had not existed prior to the past year, but rather technology that hasn’t always been embraced by surveyors with traditional approaches.

Hill calls out a couple of specific technologies here, with 3D laser scanning and mobile mapping. On the former, he says, “One area where [surveyors] can grow their business is in 3D laser scanning. There’s still plenty of opportunities for surveyors that embrace 3D laser scanning and grow their business in that area.”

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