neeravbm wrote: ↑
Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:43 pm
Also the developers here are not going to be able to make any money by working on this.
I don't think that needs to be the case. Just look at GDAL, which PDAL was largely inspired by. A huge proportion of both the open and closed source GIS software ecosystem is built on top of it and a lot of developers make money from that. More directly I don't think there's anything stopping you from selling proprietary tools as closed source PDAL plugins. Once again quoting from the docs:
PDAL allows application developers to provide proprietary extensions that act as stages in processing pipelines. These might be things like custom format readers, specialized exploitation algorithms, or entire processing pipelines.
PDAL is still relatively young, so off hand I don't know of any examples of people doing that publicly, but I'm sure it's happening at a consulting level. It's also worth noting that most of PDAL's development is done by a for-profit company.
I'll also point toward Houdini, the other software I mentioned in the last thread. Although a proprietary application, it is built on top of, and benefits from, a whole host of open source libraries. To a certain extent, the same could even be said for ESRI's ArcGIS. Personally, I'd be more than happy to buy a point cloud workbench, built in the same mold, as long as it remains open enough that I can easily extend it and use it as a platform to build on top of. Open source core might be a different business model, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways for people to get paid for the valuable effort they put in.
From a production standpoint the two additions to PDAL that would have the most immediate value to me would be:
- Reopen this old feature request https://github.com/PDAL/PDAL/issues/39. In particular, being able to losslessly round-trip a structured scan originating from an e57 file through a PDAL pipeline would be very useful.
- Estimate surface normals using adjacency data from structured scans.
Both of those features are probably best integrated in to the open source core. However, after that, various types of classification tools would be high on my wish list, and those are things that I think would be much easier to have as commercial addons. Interactive tools would also be very high on my list, but that's a bigger development effort, with different requirements than algorithm development.