What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

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crullier
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What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by crullier »

With all the different formats I am curious as to what folks like to use and why. I don't consider recap a "real format" that is just the way into the Autodesk world. So for example, let's say that you mainly work in cyclone or even cloud compare (sure why not), once your work is all done and you want to STORE and copy of your point clouds (the deliverables) or pass them on downstream what format to you like?


I see some software and hardware vendors also like to "push" specific formats, like LAS/LAZ. In this case, I would ask them, why not E57?
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by badam »

Hello!

If it is long term storing then it would be the raw data which come from the source device, register360 project, subsampled e57 and Potree. Short term storage exported e57 and subsampled laz files. These can be regenerated easily anytime, if its needed again. We usually delete the exported e57 after a year, and intermediate files like subsampled laz.

Of course if we are delivering recap to our client we keep that as well, but usually e57.

We are using laz for intermediate file type to decrease the network load/space usage during subsample process. And of course because potree converter only support laz files.

I really like the laz files they have very low space requirement. But e57 can do more like structured data, image storing, etc...
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by Mike Annear »

E.57, mainly because it is a non proprietry format, plus it imports directly into Rhino 3D without expensive plugins.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by steves01x »

Its difficult to "fault" e57 as it works with almost all softwares with out any real issues.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by RJGEOMATICS »

Need store everything. From RAW data to every export utilized. So don't delete any files for long term storage. If you get called into arbitration 5 years later, you'll need all your files.

e57 was a great concept. Problem is they developed an alphabet but didn't give the Language... Thus you have a multitude of different e57 variations with every imaginable variant you can imagine. PTX is a heavier file format, but it is open source despite being developed by Bentley. It is more stable in a sense than is e57. PTX is always written in the same structure no matter what. Whereas for instance with e57 you can just for one example have spherical or coordinate based origins... Never mind all the other variations with e57.

If you are always going to be a single workflow perhaps e57 words for you. But just as one example you can't take a Leica e57 and put it into Faro Scene. But you can use PTX commonly across both programs.

No matter which, e57 or PTX or PTS or LAS etc. you are never getting all the information that the native formats in the native software provide. And with e57, it is like trying to speak with someone in a different language with a very bad translator. Unfortunately there are not rigid enough rules in e57 format, so there are multiple different e57 languages that are not common across all platforms.

PTS is nice as it is simple and can't be confused. It is a light weight format that permits people with less powerful computers to view and utilize PointClouds. Also end users can't really mess up a PTS PointCloud. But PTS is an unstructured format, so you do not have anything except a really fancy text document.

But in the end, when you speak of long term storage, you need store all your files. Typically I export PTS, LGS and PTX. In my opinion PTX is the most stable shareable format in a kind of generic format, as Bentley has given both the alphabet and the language. Unfortunately e57 only gave the alphabet and left everything else up to each manufacturer to do how they want.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by crullier »

^ good info, regarding e57 that explains why I cant bring an e57 from cyclone blk into realworks. Yet everything else works..

I was under the impression that e57 was the only format that would store scan station locations, and intensity values and normals (i have not found an application for exporting normals btw).

Geoslam exports a LAS/LAX for intance. I wonder why they like that format.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by RJGEOMATICS »

crullier wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 10:15 pm ^ good info, regarding e57 that explains why I cant bring an e57 from cyclone blk into realworks. Yet everything else works..

I was under the impression that e57 was the only format that would store scan station locations, and intensity values and normals (i have not found an application for exporting normals btw).

Geoslam exports a LAS/LAX for intance. I wonder why they like that format.
Very very big topic. Slam type instruments and mobile data etc. are much better in Un Structured formats. TLS data can often be in a structured format. But e57 is not common to all. Often IMU and Level values are not even included in e57 files. Everything is different in e57 files across different platforms. So you will never get all the information from an e57 file. You get watered down formats that are interpreted differently by different software.

Un structured formats have a very valid place in industry. Also if you want true HDR photo values, there are none better than the new Leica LGS format, which is becoming more and more popular across industry, as it does maintain much more information.

But overall, you need keep everything. e57 files are watered down versions, and do not have all the values. PTX has more information, and is common language. It is more heavy than e57. But it is more reliable in general.

e57 was a great concept, but it was never completed, and now is too far gone. Wish it would have panned out. But really you might as well call e57 proprietary, as each platform choses how they want create their e57 files and to some degree even what information is also included in the e57 and how diluted it will be.

Leica has created an amazing product in LGS. But it is not cheap. That being said, many software products from PointFuse to Verity and others are all starting to offer LGS supported versions. Usually slightly more expensive than the generic product. PTX and LGS are definitely far superior to e57 files if you want structured information with Scan Centers.

Shane from SCC Atlas Computers can give a far more technical explanation as to e57.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by jedfrechette »

For data exchange: mostly e57, but sometimes las/laz or ptx.

While not without it's warts, in my opinion e57 is pretty good. The main problem with it is that we (the laser scanning user community) haven't put in the effort to support it well enough.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by Leandre Robitaille »

As for archiving I keep only the Scene project as long as I can, while deleting the .FPC files from within the scene, keeping only 1 version of the .fls files. I need to have a backlog of the quality of alignment that was done and not a simple e57 or RCP. Keeping the Scene projects also makes it easier to introduce new scans in the future if we ever need to.

As for delivering data, I ask the client what they want to do with the data and what software they want to use the data in and provide the pointcloud in it most adapted version to them. If they want to use it in autodesk, I wont just give them an e57 and tell them to download recap and do the RCP themselves because I think its convenient for me. I deliver a RCP and or RCS to them. Some clients ask for .POD for bentley softwares, others .XYZ for specific applications, some e57 for solidwork or other apps. Make sure you provide an appropriate e57 to them, you can have a e57 that will contain all the scans and pictures or a e57 with unified scans (similar to RCP vs RCS), it's not because it is labelled e57 that it is that you client needs, you need to provide the correct e57 format.
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Re: What Point Cloud format do you use and why?

Post by crullier »

Leandre Robitaille wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:23 pm
A...you can have a e57 that will contain all the scans and pictures or a e57 with unified scans (similar to RCP vs RCS), it's not because it is labelled e57 that it is that you client needs, you need to provide the correct e57 format.
And going back and earlier comment this is going to depend were you are exporting the e57 from.
For instance I get the option to export e57-One File non-gridded. That sounds like the later file in your example.
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