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Point clouds

Does anyone have experience of point clouds?
My interest is Architectural - buildings and site topography - but experience with plant, civils etc couild be relevant.
Primarily inputting to Brics or other dwg - but experience with other, point-cloud-capable softwares (Bentley etc) could suggest possibilities.

So if I've employed surveyors to produce the point cloud, what next?

Some have software (Bentley etc) that claims to automatically generate 3D vector CAD model from the point cloud data. To even handle point clouds, surveyors already have the big fat computers that this requires.

Others treat the point cloud as if it's the building, but brought inside their desktop computer.
They take measurements off the point cloud, just as they would the actual building, and manually produce the conventional 2D survey plans/sections/elevations, or a 3D CAD model.
Sounds laborious and expensive!

Some deliver the huge point cloud data set to the Architect, who him/herself takes the measurements and draws as above, when and as needed at the various stages of their process. Needs big fat computers.

In any of these cases, the Architect can have the point cloud as a misty etheral colour image, which can be overlaid on his/her 3D model (if working in 3D) and can be used in presentation, visualiation 'in context' etc.

What do we know about all this - what is best practice, what is cost-effective?

Comments

  • No one used point clouds? A v important coming topic, I'd have thought. Are the Brics Add-on Point Cloud apps any good?

  • Typically CAD engines aren't the best manipulator of point clouds, that's why many of the cloud software products are standalone. However Bricsys has over time significantly improved the speed of BricsCAD with large models. This picture is 1.5 million points in v17 64bit. It is pretty responsive but I do have a fat computer.

    capture.png
    670 x 425 - 417K
  • Is that a point cloud within Brics? I thought Brics has no such capability yet.

  • Any response from Brics personnel? Architectural, even 'small Architectural' must be an especially significant market for Brics, well short of big commercial BIM-buildings that Revit, Bentley AECOsim etc aim at.
    See these 2 articles
    www.jacobdown.co.uk/AEC-magazine-vol-89_
    www.jacobdown.co.uk/AEC-magazine-vol-85_
    Any comments? There is a complete absence of info on the small Architectural level.

  • That is a block insert of a portion of a scan file. Just an experiment. A block definition could be tied to a large scan file and a cube displayed of it's full contents. Then you could specify limiters such as window (and color range, etc) to work with a portion of the points at a time (updating the block from the big file), which wouldn't bog down the CAD engine. Once done the block could be erased, relieving all the burden and your traced geometry (automated or manual) would remain. That just leaves a question of possible automation tools.

    Feel free to email me at dotson [at] dotsoft [dot] com. Just thinking inside the box so to speak. Perhaps a low cost BricsCAD add-on could be developed, it's what we do.

  • Thanks Terry - I may email you if questions get too much for public forum.

    You mean (a part of) a point cloud can already be taken into Brics, displayed -
    and then in a lo-tech way, manually trace vector CAD geometry over it?
    as distinct from having software automatically convert the point cloud into vector CAD geometry, which is a hi-tech, heavy duty software and machines?

    Would (the part of) the point cloud have to be converted to dwg format first?

  • edited May 2017

    I use point clouds in AutoCAD quite a bit these days. I bring them in through ReCap, and am then able to display the pointcloud right in my AutoCAD session. We do a fair bit of brownfield work, so we need to ensure that our additions do not interfere with existing objects. We do not change the point cloud data. The ability for BricsCAD to work with point cloud data is crucial.

  • Good to hear - I am understanding more now.

    Is that similar to what have in mind - like the opening pic in www.jacobdown.co.uk/AEC-magazine-vol-89_ ?

    Today I learned that Acad up to 2015 bogs down when a point cloud is loaded directly into it - but Acad 2016 is point-cloud-capable in that it doesn't bog down. I assume Brics bogs down, like Acad up to 2015? Only small fragments of the total can be loaded?

    I also learned that stand-alone Bentley PointTools, free version, is much more capable than Adesk Recap, both free and paid-for versions.
    I'm advised, instead of loading (parts of) the point cloud into Acad/Brics as 'scenery', like I think you're suggesting, and building 3D models of the new building within it;
    rather to load the whole point cloud into PointTools, and import the new 3D model into it there; then you can spin, section the whole freely in PointTools, see how it looks, go back and modify in Brics, re-import etc. Cumbersome, but until Brics becomes point-cloud-capable ...

  • Brics people - any plans?

  • edited May 2017

    @Tom Foster said:
    Good to hear - I am understanding more now.

    Is that similar to what have in mind - like the opening pic in www.jacobdown.co.uk/AEC-magazine-vol-89_ ?

    Today I learned that Acad up to 2015 bogs down when a point cloud is loaded directly into it - but Acad 2016 is point-cloud-capable in that it doesn't bog down. I assume Brics bogs down, like Acad up to 2015? Only small fragments of the total can be loaded?

    I also learned that stand-alone Bentley PointTools, free version, is much more capable than Adesk Recap, both free and paid-for versions.
    I'm advised, instead of loading (parts of) the point cloud into Acad/Brics as 'scenery', like I think you're suggesting, and building 3D models of the new building within it;
    rather to load the whole point cloud into PointTools, and import the new 3D model into it there; then you can spin, section the whole freely in PointTools, see how it looks, go back and modify in Brics, re-import etc. Cumbersome, but until Brics becomes point-cloud-capable ...

    Yes, that is similar. We deal with oil and gas plants, but the idea is the same. I'm running on 2016 & 2017, and am able to easily work with the point clouds through Recap files. Yes, I could also just load the point cloud into Navisworks Simulate and blend it with the models, but that is inconvenient in that you need to reload everything every time and then look for interferences. Having the points visible right inside my piping design program (CADWorx Plant) allows me to easily see what is going on in "real time" so to speak.

  • You're confirming what I'm told - that for Adesk Recap, even paid version, to match the 'blend it' facility of Bentley Pointools Free, you have to have Navisworks too.

    I am emailing Terry Dotson at dotson [at] dotsoft [dot] com as invited, to ask how he apparently manages to do all that within Brics - is it enough to have a 'fat computer' or does point-cloud-capability have to be developed into Brics, as it apparently has in Acad 2016?

  • We widely use Navisworks due to its ability to allow extreme ease of identifying our piping component properties in a virtual 3D world. The Bentley tool does not allow that.

    I do run fairly fat workstations here: that tends to help with the larger point clouds.

  • With the implementation we are planning you can basically bite off as much as your machine can chew so to speak. The data burden inside CAD can be determined by specifying a 3D work box along with filters such as classification. The displayed block would be linked to a fast access working file which contains the entire cloud. For example you could could work on one small section (such as one wall, etc) of the massive data at a time. If you have a fat computer as you say, you could work with more at a time. If your machine is humble you would have to work with a smaller area or be patient while it processes.

    We are doing some foundation work now, our implementation will require BricsCAD Pro (or Platinum) for WIndows.

  • You have probably heard Moore’s law, that predicted processor power would double every two years. Well, I think there is also a law that says users will immediately use up every advance in processor power, and clamor for more.

    -Joe

  • @Terry Dotson said:Perhaps a low cost BricsCAD add-on could be developed, it's what we do.

    Thanks Terry - so that's an outline of something you are indeed developing?

    Can anyone explain what has to happen when a program such as Brics or Acad 2015 is developed to become point-cloud-enabled, like Acad 2016 apparently became, so it can now (?) handle big point clouds without siezing up?

    That is, quite apart from any new tools to manipulate point clouds, the simple ability to handle such a big dataset?

  • @Tom Foster said:

    I am emailing Terry Dotson at dotson [at] dotsoft [dot] com as invited, to ask how he apparently manages to do all that within Brics - is it enough to have a 'fat computer' or does point-cloud-capability have to be developed into Brics, as it apparently has in Acad 2016?

    Tom,
    we are currently prototyping several options to add point clouds to BricsCAD, but answering your question how to make a program pointcloud-enabled (basically rephrasing the answer by Terry Dotson), is that you deal only with the relevant subset of the points at a given time, which you need to be able to load quickly.

    This can be different for display (more than 1 point per pixel is not relevant then) and for analysis (only points related to the object under consideration and its neighborhood are relevant then).

    We are working hard on adding point cloud functionalities to BricsCAD in the near future, but cannot give specific details because it is all still experimental...

  • That's great news from Head Ofice

  • DGTDGT
    edited January 2018

    We have just released a BricsCAD plugin which allows to manage point clouds and provides a whole series of tools to create 3D terrain models and get visual representations and visual simulations.

    This is a demo video for the point cloud functionality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfYK5qF6pG0&feature=youtu.be

    For more information you can visit: https://www.geomaticscube.com/en/#3dutilities

    I hope this information can be useful.

    Best regards
    Tiziano De Gottardo
    Geomaticscube Team

  • Exciting news - but on my computer none of the videol links work - neither the one in the post above nor on the Geomatics website - just greys everything out.

  • Very strange,
    what type and version of web browser do you use?

    Our website is a single-page website and contains a lot of images. So it's possible that it's heavy for your browser / connection. Eventually try to use another browser.

    About the video, try to use this other link: https://www.geomaticscube.com/en/point-coluds-management-bricscad/

    Let me know if you have solved the problems.

    Best regards
    Tiziano De Gottardo
    Geomaticscube Team

  • edited January 2018

    @DGT said:
    This is a demo video for the point cloud functionality:

    does open the video in situ, can see things moving, but it remains 1x1.5cm, and the link cannot be copied.
    The alternative link works fine - the video opens in new window. Looks very interesting. Can it open a mesh from photogrammetry?

    On the website, all the blue cube buttons open a video but any button like 'watch the video' just greys out the page.

  • I don't know how is possible to show the video bigger by remaining inside the current web site.
    I have changed the previous post so that the video is opened in an external web page:

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=xfYK5qF6pG0&feature=youtu.be

  • That works fine now.
    i look forward to looking through the videos of your other apps - they look v interesting.

    So can the point cloud app work with meshes from photogrammetry - because photogrammetry only generates a very 'sparse' point cloud which only becomes as useful as a laser-scan point cloud when converted to a mesh.

  • Generally, if you use software such as Agisoft PhotoScan, you can decide whether to export the mesh (even with texture) or export a dense colored cloud (the sparse cloud is obviously too sparse to be used).

    3D Utilities for BricsCAD allows you to work on dense cloud.

    To work on the mesh you can use our stad-alone software (EasyCUBE TS +) that we will make available online soon on our website (https://geomaticscube.com/en/). EasyCUBE TS+ allows you to automatically create the DTM by drawing the constraints and points scattered on the mesh. In this way the raw mesh data can be replaced by a lightweight, clean and classified 3D model (divided into the main elements that compose it) exportable in DXF to be then used in CAD.

    Best regards
    Tiziano De Gottardo
    Geomaticscube Team

  • edited January 2018

    I use https://www.capturingreality.com/ which is brilliant and fast but AFAIK doesn't offer to interpolate a dense point cloud from the sparse cloud of actual photogrametrically calculated points. So an ability to import its various optional outputs - basically mesh with or without photorealistic 'texture' - direct into Brics, would be invaluable, rather than having to rent Acad/Recap for a month (which can do it). Looking forward to EasyCUBE TS +, anyway.

  • edited October 22

    @ DGT, thank you for the references. I've never heard of GeomaticsCUBE before. I've noticed you also offer License BricsCAD PRO, I'm planning to purchase it this week. When I was looking for more info, I found this topic, but the video is missing there:

    cloud-to-cad software going around bricscad laserscanningforum icon

  • @Patrik Sparrman
    Sadly 'Terry' is one of those fake message posters.

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