Wide Format Scanning

Scan Project of Maps & Blueprints: What Options Are Available?

scanning blueprint plans

A comprehensive guide of how to tackle a scan project for digitizing an archive of blueprints &/or maps. In this blog, we will look into the various options available; outsource, buy a scanner, or rent a scanner.  Each path offers an efficient approach for digital conversion.  However, by understanding the advantages and trade-offs of each approach, you’ll be equipped to make an informed decision about which approach to take for the nuances of your particular scan project.

OutsourcingWhen Not to Outsource Your Sales & Why | ChannelCreator

One option to consider is outsourcing your blueprint &/or map scanning project to a Document Scanning Service Bureau that specializes in wide format scanning. Outsourcing to a Service Bureau allows you to leverage the expertise, experience and resources of a specialized service provider. By entrusting the task to experienced professionals, you can save time, reduce costs, and ensure meticulous accurate scanning and digitization.

Advice & Experience

A Service Bureau should be able to provide options and advise on how the project should be: organized, structured, resolution, file type, indexed, and transferred. The service provider should have experienced scanner operators that can scan expeditiously, knows how to care for and handle delicate or fragile originals, is able to quickly implement any type of universally excepted naming scheme.  An experienced Service Bureau should have a process in place that involves providing a sampling, has high production output, does meticulous quality control, can provide options for consistent file structure & naming, and is able to offer customizable solutions.

Outsourcing Trade-offs

It’s essential to weigh the potential drawbacks, such as: their experience level, the quality of service, need for effective communication, data security concerns, and transporting issues.  If the service provider is really busy with a lot of work &/or is understaffed; they may take significantly more time to get your project competed.  Since most Document Scanning Service Bureau focus primarily on small format scanning, a good question to ask is, “What percentage of their business involves scanning blueprints and maps?” This will help to identify if they have sufficient experience.

Cost to Outsource

Somewhat surprising is that outsourcing is often the most cost efficient solution to handling a scan project.  An efficient Document Scanning Service Bureau can produce more scanning in a shorter amount of time. Service providers have the most up to date, quickest, most efficient production grade scanners.  Expert scanner operators are trained to work specifically with blueprint and map scanning.  Experience from a professional Service Bureau practically eliminates the common mistakes that will occur from learning while you try to take in on yourself.

Buy a Wide Format ScannerBuy Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...

Another option is to purchase a wide format scanner and software for in-house scanning. Buying gives you full control over the process and allows for greater flexibility in managing your projects. Additionally, having your equipment provides flexibility for when you scan.  There is also a convenience factor when you own a wide format scanner; it’s all in-house, so no need to leave or ship original blueprints and maps. Buying a scanner can lead to cost savings in the long run, especially for ongoing or day-forward scanning.

Trade-offs to Buying a Wide Format Scanner

It’s important to consider the initial investment cost for the scanner, software, & stand, maintenance requirements for the scanner, and the learning curve associated with operating the equipment and software.  After you have purchased the scanner, keep in mind that you should budget in the labor cost to run the scanner; with wide format scanning every single page must be hand-fed into the scanner, therefore the labor cost commonly far exceeds the initial investment cost of the wide format scanner.  Many businesses do not take the labor cost into consideration since this is a soft cost; however, often times a higher paid individual is delegated the task of scanning.  In this case, the employee (or executive) is grossly overpaid for the significantly less qualified task of scanning blueprints or maps, and they are substantially less efficient too.

Cost to Buy a Wide Format Scanner

Wide format scanners range in price from $3150 for a slow non-production scanner to starting at $5700 for a descent scanner, up to over $20,000 for a high-end production scanner. As previously stated, the labor cost is where most of the money is spent.  We do not have the data and due to the vast quantity of variables, it is difficult to project the labor cost; however, if you know who is going to be delegated to the task of scanning, perhaps you can plug in a number?

Lease a Wide Format Scanner

Leasing is typically a vehicle in which to finance the purchase of equipment or is a way to procure equipment for a certain number of years.  Leasing equipment for a scanning project is rather uncommon since most projects are completed in less time than the multiple years of a lease.

Rent a Wide Format Scannerfor rent sign png 10 free Cliparts | Download images on Clipground 2021

Renting scanning equipment is a viable alternative if you have short-term scanning project or stringent requirements that require the original blueprints and maps to stay on-site. Renting provides you with access to advanced technology without the upfront investment. It offers flexibility, allowing you to adjust your equipment needs based on project demands.

Trade-offs to Renting a Wide Format Scanner

It’s crucial to assess rental costs, scanner availability, scanner transportation costs, and the level of support provided by the rental company.  It is very common for a scan project to take longer than originally estimated, so budgeting for extra time is prudent.  And look for rental companies that offer a buy-out provision to the rental agreement.

Cost to Rent a Wide Format Scanner

The rental prices for wide format scanners range from $885 to $995 per month.  Shipping and software are additional. And as previously stated, the labor cost should also be taken into consideration.

The Decision

To make an informed decision, evaluate your specific project requirements, budget constraints, and long-term goals. Consider factors such as project timeline, scanning volume, expertise needed, and data security considerations. Compare the advantages and trade-offs of outsourcing, buying, and renting based on your unique circumstances and the guidelines for your scan project. Consult with industry experts, review industry websites, and get pricing from potential service providers &/or equipment suppliers.

By exploring the options of outsourcing, buying, and renting, you can find the best fit for your specific needs. Remember to consider the advantages, trade-offs, and long-term implications of each approach. Armed with the insights from this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your blueprint and map scanning journey, ensuring efficient and accurate digitization.

AZ Overland Blueprint offers all of the options provided in this post as our goal is to provide solutions for any wide format scanning need.  Call us now at (602) 224-9971 or contact us today so that we can help you with your scan project, we’re happy to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *