Introduction to Point Cloud Tools
There are countless software tools for working with point clouds, many with unique capabilities for niche use cases. Below are common well-rounded tools we recommend to get started with.
Our scanner outputs LAS & PLY point cloud files. You can use any tool that accepts these formats. If you need to convert to a specific file format CloudCompare has many read/write format options.
Best all around tool: Geo-Plus Vision LiDAR
Geoplus can do everything you want to do with a point cloud, register projects, add coordinates, segment out sections of the environment. This is a fantastic independant point cloud tool if you don’t already have software that you use in your workflows.
Uses: Can be your main point cloud tool providing for most post-processing needs like:
- Registering scans together (either cloud to cloud, or using coordinates)
- Add geo-coordinates to your scan by selecting points and uploading csv coordinate file
- Downsample, crop, or clean up your data
- Automatic classification of object types: ground, building, utility poles, cars
- Automatic extraction of commonly needed assets like, topogrpahy break lines, curb lines, utility poles, & utility line spans.
- To learn more about Geoplus: see what our customer says.
Limitations: General purpose tool with broad capabilities, might lack functionality for some niche use cases. Watch this webinar to see the most common use cases.
Best open source tool: CloudCompare
It has tons of capabilities, but as an open-source tool doesn’t have the best user interface. Regardless, this is a must have tool, even if it’s not your main tool.
Uses: Registration, editing point clouds, analysis, there’s a lot you can accomplish.
Limitations: Not sleek user interface, doesn’t render the points as pretty as other tools. Slows down on big projects over 20 scans.
- See our tips for using CloudCompare
- Review CloudCompare’s wikiguide
Companion tool for Autodesk users: Autodesk Recap
There’s a free & premium version. The free is useful to convert files from LAS to RCS or RCP for preferred formats in Autodesk tools like Autocad, Revit, or Navisworks.
Uses: Convert format to .RCS or .RCP for import into Autodesk & renders the point clouds prettier than CloudCompare.
Limitations: Can’t register point clouds from the PX-80, so you’ll need another tool for registration.
Another good option: Orbit GT Mobile Mapping
Another great point cloud tool with tons of functionality.
If you already have point cloud tools for tripod based scanners our LAS files can work with the expensive tools from Faro, Leica, Trimble, & Reigl so you might not need to get one of these paid ones.