3D Point Clouds

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How to display the point cloud in-browser and export it from DroneDeploy

A Point Cloud is a 3D visualization made up of thousands or even millions of georeferenced points. Point clouds provide high-resolution data without the distortion sometimes present in 3D mesh models and are commonly used in industry-standard software.

Let's learn how to view your map's point cloud in-browser and how to export it for further analysis using third-party software.

Viewing Point Cloud within DroneDeploy

You can view 3D models as point clouds. To enable this view mode, click on the 3D model layer button:

Screen_Shot_2022-02-03_at_1.20.53_PM.png

and then turn ON the Point Cloud toggle in the left panel:

Using a 2-button scrollwheel mouse:

  • Left-click and hold to orbit model around centroid
  • Right-click and hold to pan model
  • Scroll wheel to zoom in and out

Using a touchpad

  • One finger clicked down to orbit model around centroid
  • Two fingers clicked down to pan model
  • Two fingers sliding to zoom in and out

Viewing Point Cloud within DroneDeploy

Point Cloud Density

The multiple point cloud export formats are available here: Data Export Formats

One feature of our photogrammetry pipeline that you may not have seen elsewhere is that you'll see that points appear to form a grid. This is still the "raw" point cloud we use to determine the point location with high accuracy.

 

Exporting Point Cloud Data

You can export your point cloud from DroneDeploy as LAS, XYZ, and RCP file format, let's learn how to do so:

Accessing Point Cloud Exports
LAS and XYZ exports are available to only Individual and Enterprise customers. RCP exports are available to only Enterprise customers.

To learn how to export your DroneDeploy data, please refer to our Exporting Your Data guide.

Note: DroneDeploy pointclouds are not classified today.

.XYZ point cloud

This is the most commonly accepted format for software in the Construction and Mining industries.

To export as .XYZ :

  1. Click on the Export button.
  2. Select Point Cloud as Layer.
  3. Choose Point Cloud (.xyz) for File Type.
  4. If you want, select the Map Projection to export your point cloud. The file can be exported to standard WGS84 or Web Mercator or by using a Custom Projection System.
  5. Specify the maximum points for your export.

What should I specify for Max points?
This will depend on your hardware and software combination. We recommend searching for the suggested file size for your software prior to exporting. Higher Max Points = higher resolution data and a larger file Lower Max Points = lower resolution data and smaller file

AutoDesk products may require an additional setting change when importing your .xyz file. Please see here for more information:

.LAS point cloud

.LAS files are another widely accepted format for GIS software such as ESRI ArcMap.

To export a .LAS file

  1. Click on the Export button.
  2. Select Point Cloud as Layer.
  3. Choose Point Cloud (.las) for File Type.
  4. If you want, select the Map Projection to export your point cloud. The file can be exported to standard WGS84 or Web Mercator or by using a Custom Projection System.
  5. Specify the resolution for your export.

See here for information on using .LAS point clouds:

RCP point cloud

RCP is an AutoCad Specific File. Easily import your RCP export into AutoCAD.

To export a RCP file

  1. Click on the Export button.
  2. Select Point Cloud as Layer.
  3. Choose Point Cloud (RCP) for File Type.
  4. If you want, select the Map Projection to export your point cloud. The file can be exported to standard WGS84 or Web Mercator or by using a Custom Projection System.
  5. Specify the resolution for your export.

Seeing holes when rendering in 3rd party software?
While there may be general small holes in areas that are hard to capture, if you see larger holes in rendering within 3rd party software than you do in DroneDeploy this may be due to settings or limitations of your 3rd party software.

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