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Point Cloud Data: Why?

Published August 9, 2021
Mining Survey Point Cloud ScanX
Point Cloud Data is a relatively new term for many people. However, it has been a leading technology for quite some time thanks to its capacity to reduce workload in various environments.

In today’s world, many still ask the question: what is a point cloud data, and how can I benefit from it? This article will help introduce the basics of a point cloud, as well as its power and capabilities.

 

What is Point Cloud Data?

A point cloud data can be considered the most basic type of any 3D model. Points refer to any data in a 3D environment that has its x, y, and z axes coordinate.

Apart from distance values, they can also have various attributes such as colour and light intensity.

Point Cloud Data Explained by ScanX
Point cloud can be identified as a group or collection of points. When merged, it is used as an accurate representation of a 3D Space. A single point cloud data of a building contains millions of points that are captured together.

In a simple sense, one can liken point cloud data to a photo. Pixels are the points, while the whole image is the collective point cloud data. However, point cloud must define additional traits since it operates three-dimensionally.

Point Cloud Data Simplified

Point Cloud Data Creation Methods

To create a point cloud data, a scan of the area is necessary. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) scanners are an example of this.

LiDAR and Drone Photo for Point Cloud
Lasers plot different points in the region’s surface, giving accurate measurements and accurate attributes. These are mounted to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones for a better view.

Photogrammetry is also used as another method. It uses multiple camera placements to gauge differences in location and distance. This creates a 3D representation through various views and perspectives of an area.

Photogrammetry in Point Cloud Simplified

The human eye is a simpler application of photogrammetry. Since two views are present, one on the left and one on the right, humans can get a grasp on how far an object is.

 

Advantages of Point cloud data

Point Cloud Data has Accurate Representation

Point cloud data capture does not rely on slow, traditional methods. Compared to old techniques that are prone to human error, new technologies tailor LiDAR and photogrammetry towards near perfection.

Point Cloud Drone Photo
Back then, it was impossible to obtain precise data due to the existence of many external factors. Point cloud has removed these restrictions thanks to advancements in scanning and capture. Today, these systems take into account even the smallest values and data.

 

Fast Data Capture

Point clouds take larger amounts of data. Consequently, the workload is also drastically reduced since the tools do the heavy lifting

By investing in point cloud materials such as terrestrial laser scanners and software, more can be done in a lesser amount of time.

Leica RTC360 3D Laser Scanner

Image by Leica Geo System via Leica RTC360 3D Laser Scanner

Easy Analysis and Safe Assessments

It does not matter whether you are dealing with sloped terrain or old buildings. A point cloud can still take relevant information from the 3D space for you.

LiDAR and photogrammetry scanners are not fazed by the complexity of a specific area. In reality, they will still work perfectly even in unusual environments.

ScanX Point Cloud Industrial Data
A computer can view the 3D representation, and this makes analysis easier. There is no need to go to the site to have a general idea of its status. Thus, risks involved in the surveying process are completely discarded.

 

Reduced Costs

Using point cloud in your endeavours means higher savings in the long run. Additionally, data capture removes the need for many surveyors or area specialists since it is more reliant on technology

Web-Based, High-Accuracy Point Cloud Processing.

Increased Collaboration through Point Cloud Data

Data-sharing with certain groups or organizations is one of the best features of the point cloud. Raw processed files are easily transferred to involved engineers, making communication easier.

The presentation of the 3D environment is also improved as the captured data can be displayed anytime and anywhere.

 

Post-processing Capabilities

Another great benefit of point cloud data is the existence of post-processors. These tools help transform your captured 3D data into more usable models compatible with your industry.

An example of this is ScanX, a web-based point cloud data processing platform that speeds up survey data treatment through automated workflows.

ScanX Point Cloud Steps

Industry Applications

Mining and Construction

Procuring mining data can be a risky process. One can be met with various challenges such as inaccessible terrain. However, this risk is removed if not lessened by the use of point cloud processing.

Previous areas such as caverns or high places can be scanned, and an accurate representation of the space will be readily available. Thus, the same can be said for a construction project, as an engineer does not need to go to the site itself to assess what needs to be done.

ScanX Point Cloud Mining Data

Forest Management

Forests are home to many different types of trees and vegetation. If an organization wants to get data regarding the number of trees or total area coverage of a forest, traditional methods will take too long.

Fortunately, point cloud data is capable of easily counting and tallying different trees through segmentation. Gone are the days in which the whole process needed to be manually done by hand.

ScanX Point Cloud Forest Management

Disaster Management

Point cloud and LiDAR can also play a vital role in mitigating different disasters. With fast and efficient survey data coming from scans, it will be easier to visualize the aftermath of natural events such as storms, floods, or earthquakes.

Data gathered can then be used to quickly build a recovery plan and tackle critical points of concern. Thus, the whole process drastically improves disaster response in an affected area.

 

Infrastructure Inspection

Buildings require constant quality control checks to make sure that they meet proper guidelines. With point cloud data, an inspector only needs to take the scan of the region, wait for data to be processed, and view the dataset at his or her comfort.

Since point cloud results are precise and accurate, assessors will not have problems in dealing with human-related errors in measurement. The best part is that the data can be immediately shared with other authorities or organizations for viewing.

ScanX Point Cloud Disaster Management

Conclusion

The power of the point cloud data is evident in terms of efficiency, savings, collaboration, and assessments. However, to make full use of this data, there is a need to utilize smart post-processing platforms. ScanX is one of these, and it can easily classify, segment, and clean up data with the help of automation. For a free trial of our product, click here.

Web-Based, High-Accuracy Point Cloud Processing.
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