Just looked up the laser scanner used in the UK project. Quite spendy at $5590 :-) May have to find a sponsor before acquiring the laser range finding h/w.
How about stripping GoPro's video to frames, selecting clear shots and feeding them to some software like this? Resolution won't be really high, but it is nice enough for the beginning.
Have you gents seen this page?
It's not perfect but I think it would be suitable for some applications, even has an equation for mapping out where the pictures need to be taken to get full coverage of the island without excessive overlapping in the photos, hope this helps as I want to do this as well :)