Pipeline operators are getting increasing pressure from regulatory authorities and environmentalists to guarantee the integrity of their pipeline network, while facing financial pressure to minimize their maintenance cost. This paper presents a new approach to pipeline external corrosion and mechanical damage direct assessment using a 3D laser scanner with dedicated software. The improvements over other traditional non-destructive-testing (NDT) techniques such as manual pit gauge will be discussed. We will illustrate how the latest 3D optical innovations support the need for improved data quality, inspection speed and repeatability for this application. The scanner can acquire the damaged surface with constant accuracy in a vibrating field environment by replacing typical mechanical attachments with a contactless dynamic referencing system. Compliance with existing code is of essence and therefore serves as the starting point for the analysis tool. Demonstration of the system capacities applied to this specific application will be discussed.