What's the difference between a photo and a scan?

Alannah O'Neill
Sep 5, 2022

It’s a question that we’ve gotten more than once. What’s the big difference between a LiDAR scan and a normal photo? And what are the biggest use cases for each?

At Manifold, we know that you want the MOST data from your construction site, and that not everyone is going to have the same type of phone. Here’s how to get the most out of Manifold– even if you aren’t tech savvy, and even if you have an iPhone that’s been around since George Bush was in office. (Might be time for an upgrade though, bud!)


Who can take it: Anyone with an iPhone. (Even older models!)

How you use it: Take a photo in the app or upload photos from your camera roll.

What happens next: Manifold will use GPS to confirm the location of your jobsite. Once you confirm, all photos will automatically be uploaded to the Timeline in real-time and assigned to the right user as well as date and time stamped. That way you can keep track of everything as it happens.

Learning Curve: None! Anyone can do it. If you can use Facebook, you can use Manifold Timeline. We’ve built the platform to be incredibly easy and Intuitive.

Why it’s a game changer: You’re already taking photos during your job, so might as well organize em! Reduce the need for calls and texts, communicate effortlessly with your customers, and prove the quality of your work. Manifold Timeline is documentation made easy.  


Who can take it: Anyone with a LiDAR enabled smartphone (The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max and iPad Pro all have LiDAR built in.)

How you use it: Hit the “Scan” button in the app (see image below).

Follow the instructions. It’s a simple point and shoot game that helps us get all the info we need to make a 3D copy of your site.

What happens next: Once you finish scanning, Manifold will automatically upload to the cloud and process in about 20 minutes. Your part is done, the rest is on us!

Learning curve: A bit trickier than taking a photo, but still dead easy. If you can point your phone at a target, you can take a scan.

Why it’s a game changer: Well, first of all– it’s gonna make you look real high-tech to your customers.(They don’t have to know how easy it is!) It’s also the best way to get the MOST actionable data from your jobsite. One simple scan creates floor plans, 360 tours, height maps, X-Rays and more. Plus, you can take measurements virtually, anywhere– and the measurements are accurate to half an inch.

But don’t take our word for it. Try out Manifold for free for 14 days:

Not sure yet? Book a meeting with me and I’ll walk you through a demo.