3D Modeling BIM Laser Scanning Surveying Technology

Scan to BIM Terminology Explained and More

image of Scan to BIM Terminology Explained
Scan to BIM Terminology Explained

A mini glossary of basic scan to BIM terms, essential BIM terminology, and the difference between BIM and other concepts like VDC and digital twins.

From a blog post by Sean Higgins for NavVis.

If you’re here, you’re probably researching scan-to-BIM workflows for your business and getting a little mixed up with all the three-letter acronyms and specialized terminology. Don’t worry – this is a common problem in the 3D technology field.

To help, this mini glossary will walk you through some basic ideas you need to know so you can continue your research. We’ll cover basic scan-to-BIM ideas, get deeper into some essential BIM terminology, and then discuss the difference between BIM and similar ideas like VDC or digital twins.

Let’s get started.

Part 1: Breaking down scan-to-BIM


This acronym can be confusing, because it refers to two separate but interrelated ideas. The first is Building Information Modeling, or the methodology of creating a building information model. The second is the outcome, or the Building Information Model itself.

A BIM is a data set that includes information about the physical and functional characteristics of the building. It usually takes the form of a 3D model linked to a database with a variety of information.

A BIM includes geometric models of individual building elements, like doors, windows, beams and so on. This geometric data is linked to information like materials used, the location and size of rooms and spaces, and documents related to the building and its history. BIM can also include data about how these individual elements relate to each other, and even how they function within building-wide systems such as MEP.

In short, a BIM is a smart 3D model that offers a holistic view of a building to enable stakeholder collaboration. It enables a single stakeholder to make decisions at various stages in the building lifecycle and update the central model so other stakeholders can always have the latest information.


The process of using laser scanners to capture a dimensional information for an existing building, and then using that information to create a BIM.

Scan-to-BIM is becoming very popular in AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) because it solves many common problems in the building information modeling process.

For instance: Many older buildings lack the up-to-date 3D CAD (Computer-Aided Design) models, or even 2D CAD drawings, needed to create a BIM. A scan-to-BIM process makes it possible to produce a detailed, accurate model. It can also help when a new building’s physical state differs from the original model. You can just scan the changes and update the model as necessary.

For more information on scan-to-BIM and the benefits it offers, check out our primer on scan-to-BIM.

To find out how scan-to-BIM works, and what technologies it requires, see our guide to the 12 steps of a scan-to-BIM project.

For the complete article by Sean Higgins CLICK HERE.

Note – If you liked this post click here to stay informed of all of the 3D laser scanning, geomatics, UAS, autonomous vehicle, Lidar News and more. If you have an informative 3D video that you would like us to promote, please forward to editor@lidarnews.com and if you would like to join the Younger Geospatial Professional movement click here.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.