9th November 2016 Grzegorz Ciępka

Point Clouds Properties – 3d Laser Scanning

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 has implemented some sort of a point cloud support what means that engineering and construction-related industries can benefit from this technology.

The point cloud can be easily saved in various file formats. It’s very important to provide information about used software while ordering point clouds to receive a point cloud in a matching format. Regardless of the software, the point clouds can usually be displayed in various styles. However, this is a too large topic to cover here all but its worth mentioning that some display options (namely: RGB, intensity, lightning and normal) require certain values to be included within a point cloud file.
More information about this can find on our website.

Point clouds position is software independent

The position of points is determined by the coordinate system. They also can be attached to the same position in various CAD design software. However, this allows different project files from various branches that can be ensured in a project location by using the same point cloud as a reference.
The point cloud can be used to snap directly by CAD tools
Remember, point clouds in CAD are usually displayed as one object that can be used as a background for a design. Each point in the cloud is a separate object that can be “snapped”  by CAD design snapping tools.

CAD programs, like Bentley Descartes or AutoCAD 2016+ can benefit with features that can help the designer to locate the correct positions like for example the lowest point in a group or it can help to calculate the estimated orientation of a surface.

Point clouds are editable only in dedicated software

Depending on the sensor device in most cases, we capture data from different positions. This is why there is a need to combine point clouds from different scanner positions into bigger clouds merged within a single file. In the scanning and registration process, we get redundant points can be removed from the cloud with the intention to limit the size of a file as well as to reduce confusion for the designer.
A point cloud database contains usually a few millions of records. Most edits on the point cloud data are made within a graphical environment like Bentley Pointools, Leica Cyclone or Autodesk ReCap as well as by filtering algorithms.
The point clouds in a CAD design have the status of an external reference; this means that they usually cannot be directly edited.

Point clouds have to be clipped to be used efficiently

What is the most important thing about working with large point clouds? Of course, the way of limiting the view. It’s almost impossible to recognize objects on dense point clouds without sort of turning off the visibility of some points. The ways of the limit viability of point clouds vary from software to software. It’s crucial to effectively use point clouds in CAD design.