Even though LiDAR has been around for decades, it’s not uncommon to encounter firms that aren’t using point clouds at all, especially in civil infrastructure design and construction. With the rise of newer data collection methods, such as drones, and software advancements making data more accurate and easier to work with, the barrier of entry for using point clouds is shrinking.
In the August Infrastructure Tuesday webinar, Nick Harper dove into some of the key new features and updates from Autodesk this year for point cloud processing, specifically for civil infrastructure.
Updates & Changes in 2018 Software
- ReCap Pro for Mobile: ReCap Pro for mobile allows you to register, mark up, and measure reality capture data in the field with an iPad Pro.
- Import CAD Geometry: Import 3D geometry to you ReCap point cloud file to compare design intent with actual progress throughout your project
- Scan-to-mesh: convert your point cloud into mesh with the scan-to-mesh service for use in other Autodesk design products
- Combine UAV (photogrammetry) and laser scan (LiDAR) data: Design in context with expanded registration that combines unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photo and 3D laser scanning.
Autodesk ReMake (formerly Momento)
- Autodesk ReMake allows you to view and edit the 3D poly mesh that you created in ReCap. ReMake can also be used to directly convert point cloud files to a high-resolution mesh.
- Linear Feature Extraction: It is now possible in InfraWorks to extract linear features from point clouds to create breaklines, paint stripes, and more. In addition, with the Automatic option, you can pick two points on a feature in the point cloud, and InfraWorks will find and follow the line for you—in 3D of course! Also, this capability introduces the new Linear Feature object to InfraWorks.
Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D
- Beginning in Civil 3D 2018, you can no longer bring raw point cloud data into Civil 3D. In prior releases, you could bring a LAS point cloud file directly into Civil 3D and generate terrain data from that. It is important to note that point cloud features have not been removed from Civil 3D, just the ability to bring in the data directly.
To watch Nick’s demonstration of these new features and updates, check the full webinar recording on our Recorded Webinars page.
Q & A
Want to learn more about using point clouds for civil infrastructure? View the questions from this webinar below to see Nick’s answers. You can also ask us any questions you have.
Does a point cloud have to have structured data for it be cleaned and/or meshed?
“Yes and no. If I take an LAS file that was created from photogrammetry and bring that into ReCap, it’s not going to allow me to create a mesh. Now, if I bring in an LAS file, that came from a LiDAR-based device that has structured data information, ReCap is going to allow me to convert it to a mesh. I can even select the areas that I want to create a mesh from. The reason I say yes and no, is if I take unstructured data, typically from photogrammetry-based data, I can use ReCap Photo to generate my point cloud and, when I have it process that, I can have it generate the mesh.”
How do you take a measurement in Autodesk ReCap?
“So, if I go back into ReCap and open my point cloud, I’ll simply orbit around and I’ll zoom in on an area here. So, we can see our apron here, curb, gutter, sidewalk, all those features. Down below, you’ll see some different tools here. So, we have our selection tools, we have a limit box where we can actually just simply constrain the limits of the model itself or the point cloud itself, and then I can actually add notes. But I have a distance measurement and a three-point on a face measurement here. So, I can say distance and you’ll see that I can simply pick a distance and then I still have different methods: ortho plane, vertical, horizontal, things of that nature. I can also snap to a center of a pipe if it detects that something is actually a cylinder. Or I can simply pick an actual point—so, I can pick a point here—and then you see it’s actually just going across the actual point cloud there. You can see, though, I have a few different lines: the solid line being the direction I’m drawing, the white line being across the actual point cloud face there, and the red is simply going perpendicular, like, an ortho direction for me. I’m gonna go pick on my other side of my gutter here. There we go. So, you can see there is my measurement. If I zoom in or out, that stays on there. In this case, my units happen to be in meters, so 14.218 meters, in this case. But I can measure horizontally, vertically, any of those things there. I can also delete that measurement because that actually stays on there. So, I can actually leave those measurements and I can place notes on there, as well.”
This webinar specifically focused on new features and updates related to working with point clouds. For a more extensive look at what’s new this year in Autodesk software, check out our full What’s New series!
What new feature in ReCap, ReMake, or InfraWorks are you most eager to use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.