The problem with presenting point cloud data is that regardless of the file format it requires some sort of software to present the graphical data. TruView made by Leica is an exception to this rule. It presents point cloud data using the simple internet browser and does this in the most intuitive way for people – a panoramic view from the scans position.
In this short article we present the five most important point clouds properties. These five features will help you to understand what you can expect from this technology.
Point clouds can be displayed in major CAD software packages
It’s worth noticing that every major CAD software have implemented some sort of a point cloud support what means that engineering and construction related industries can benefit from this technology.
To meet the increasing demand for intelligent plant models we added to our portfolio new Intergraph’s CADWorx 3d model.
CADWorx is a suite of applications prepared to fulfill all needs, that plant process engineer plant piping engineer migh design process could have. Modules for plant design, P&ID drawing, equipment modelling, isometrics generation and specification editor are sufficient to design even most complex industrial sites. That is especially interesting for us “FieldPipe” module is focused on modelling as-built installations from a point cloud.
It is critical to understand that the point cloud cannot be in any shape or form automatically translated into a CAD model. It is a myth that cloud 2 CAD conversion can be fully automatic process. Along with increasing computation power the software upgrades are huge, but the new algorithms are still only tools shortening time for some controlled operations. The point cloud interpretation process is still needs human element.
So what is a point cloud in a design process? The simplest answer would be – point cloud is a background.
Probably most point clouds are captured to be use in CAD software as a most accurate reality representation possible. This is correct, but not actually explain how to make use of a point cloud and what are the possibilities of having this technology available in the design process. We will try to explain very basics of point clouds behaviour in the CAD environment.
From the CAD software perspective point clouds are external files, that can be attached to any design file just like any other attachable elements. Point cloud files can be threaten as referenced design files from foreign software, that can be viewed in various modes but are not really editable.
In this series of short articles, we will try to explain very basics of engineering workflow that include point clouds, at any point. We are aware, that most people have some knowledge of the topic, but the ultimate goal of this series is to inform our current or potential partners, how we create our products and how to use them efficiently without huge experience.
WHAT IS A POINT CLOUD ?
Technically point cloud is a data base containing points in three-dimensional coordinate system. However from the typical workflow perspective the only important thing is, that point cloud is a very accurate digital record of an object or space. It is saved in form of a very large number of points that cover surfaces of a sensed object.
Points in a point clouds are always located on the external surfaces of visible objects, because this are the spots, where ray of light from the scanner reflected from an objects.
This is often confused but at the quotation stage very important to understand what kind of point cloud data will the client receive. Almost all scanners capture points with coordinates and additionally measure strength of the reflected laser beam that is represented in colour of the point as intensity. Intensity can be shown as Grayscale or as HUE colours.
Below you can see the same point cloud data from heritage application in different display options