Can Canvas scan a space that is still under construction or partially built?

The Short Answer

Canvas was not optimized for this purpose, but we do have customers that use Canvas in partial construction projects.

Our Scan To CAD files will include details such as beams, framing, doors, exposed walls, along with the other included details.

Projects with completely open framing can pose a challenge for scanning and processing. We recommend breaking up these types of spaces into smaller scans and focus on scanning top to bottom. You may also share actual framing dimensions as reference information after you've placed your order. In that case, we will override the scan data for the dimension you provide, which will increase accuracy. Here are some additional scanning tips.

The Long Answer

We've seen customers use Canvas in partially constructed space. Here is one such example: 

There are a handful of things to keep in mind when using Canvas to tackle this kind of space:

Sunlight Interference

If the walls are not fully built and exterior-facing, you may get a lot of very bright, direct sunlight coming into the space. This can interfere with the performance of most 3D sensors. Avoid shooting directly into the sun when possible.

Messy Scans

If the walls are just frames, Canvas will scan into the next room, which can create a messier looking scan because it's scanning past the frames as well. Break scans up into smaller chunks scanning from top to bottom. 

Difficulty Tracking

When the walls are just frames, Canvas's ability to track may be impaired. "Tracking" is referring to how Canvas keeps track of your movement as you scan. If Canvas struggles to maintain tracking, you may see the scan "slip" or "jitter" which can reduce accuracy in the scan and the CAD file. If you see this happen while scanning, you will likely want to start over.

Scan To CAD Oversimplification

Some "partially built" elements of the room might get oversimplified in CAD format vs. the scan. For example, a concrete wall that has many small depressions from damage over the years may appear as just a normal flat wall, piping, or heavy electrical wiring may not show up in your CAD file. Additionally, if frames are similar but not identical in thickness, you may find that they are oversimplified to be the same, or that the count of frames is not 100% exact.


Any of these issues can cause accuracy to be slightly worse than our typical expected tolerances, which we outline here: What kind of accuracy can I expect from Canvas?

All that being said, generally, the customers that we have worked with that use Canvas for scanning partially-built or under-construction spaces have been happy with the results. More often than not, the biggest issue is keeping other people at the construction site out of the room when you're scanning!