Point Clouds….in Autocad!?!


“What dreadful hot weather we have!  It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” –Jane Austen

…and it is only June, guys.  This time of year I am particularly thankful that I have an indoor job—and I also wish I had a backyard pool!  Nonetheless, I’ve spent the better part of the day searching around looking for tidbits or pearls of wisdom to share in Civil 3D this week.  I stumbled across something impressive that caught my attention—not in Civil 3D, but in regular, basic, plain, vanilla AutoCAD.  I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but AutoCAD has made some significant improvements over the years, and with the introduction of mesh surfaces, parametrics, and point clouds, 3D maneuverability is quickly melding into the AutoCAD workspace.  Today, let’s look at point clouds. 

Using the point cloud dialog box, point clouds can now be attached in much the same manner as external references, as ISD or PCG formats. (Look for the Point Cloud panel on the Insert tab of your ribbon)

The point cloud ribbon also allows control of the display density.  You can attach more than one point cloud, but the density controls all point clouds attached. (Use the slider bar to control point cloud density)

Point clouds consist of 3 dimensional point objects, usually shot by lasers, and you can rotate, zoom, as well as orbit around them.  Point cloud information can be used to assist in creating real, three- dimensional geometry.  Given the fact that AutoCAD can handle up to 2 billion points, you’re not in any danger of information overload since  typical point clouds are less than 50 million points.

So, check it out and let us know what you think…take care and keep cool!


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