New technologies that produce high-precision, detailed 3-D imagery of underwater structures, sites and objects offer a way to efficiently obtain high-quality data as well as reduce costs and engineering and operational uncertainty. Laser scanning is one technique gathering momentum across the industry for doing just that.

There are many applications within the subsea sector where the ability to make precise engineering measurements in 3-D is useful. These include pipework, conductor and wellhead interfaces—dimensional inspection for damage, wear, corrosion and erosion, seal bore inspection and reverse-engineering applications. Without accurate dimensional data, the risk of getting things wrong during operations can be high and have safety implications.

Laser measurements are widely used topside but have only been used for subsea in the past five years. The technology has overcome the challenges of marinization and the optical distortion that comes with underwater use. Historically, photogrammetry, sonar and physical measurements have been employed subsea to collect engineering data. With the advent of subsea lasers it is possible to achieve more accurate measurements cost effectively and in real time.

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