Addressing the top 5 challenges presented by point clouds


Point clouds offer a granular view of the as-built situation within a construction project or asset. However, they are also gigantic in size (and growing bigger with every new generation of scanner), difficult to manage and require specialised hardware, software and training to not only manipulate them, but also to correctly assess what is being viewed compared to the real-world situation.

Here we highlight five key problems with point clouds and how Cintoo Cloud addresses each, enabling you to fully leverage your data.

1. Storing/hosting

Point cloud data is massive, often several gigabytes, if not terabytes, in size, quickly taking up precious space on organisations’ servers. This makes accessing the data an issue for third parties, contractors or other external users who need to work on the project, when it is stored on a company-based server, requiring permission and setup by IT teams to do so.

2. Viewing/navigation

It’s difficult to get an accurate picture from your point cloud data of exactly what you’re looking at and, if you’re not a trained point cloud expert, it can be hard to navigate the data. What’s more, you need a powerful PC, and suitable 3D software to manipulate the point cloud.

3. Sharing/Distribution

It’s a laborious process sharing point cloud data with stakeholders, having to resort to hard disks and Dropbox to distribute it and hoping that the people you are sending it to are equipped with the right hardware and software to view it. This is also time consuming, with uploads and downloads or international shipping leaving the recipient of the data waiting up to several days before they can begin working on it.

4. Security

Once the hard disk has been sent out to recipients, you’re unable to keep track of who is viewing and sharing the data. Data can also easily be misplaced, or hard drives broken in transit or at their destination.

5. Collaboration Unable to easily share the data, team members end up working in data silos while stakeholders are all working on individual data sets with no joined-up approach. If you send the point cloud to several different parties at once via hard disk or a file sharing service, there is also the issue of managing version control. If modifications are made by several parties, how do you track all the changes that have been made? How are these changes compiled and managed for accuracy and transparency purposes?

How Cintoo Cloud addresses each of these challenges

1. Storing/hosting

Rather than hosting your point cloud data on your own servers, you can upload it as 3D mesh to our cloud-based platform. Transforming the data to 3D mesh makes it smaller in size but just as accurate. The scan data can be hosted in your data region of choice on AWS or Azure.

2. Viewing/navigation

The accuracy of the high-res 3D mesh means you can easily identify surfaces and pipes in darkened corners, for example, and therefore extract more meaningful information.

Furthermore, navigation is easily done from scan to scan for non-experts or in 3D for point cloud experts.

Try the platform with your own laser scan data to discover how easy our 3D mesh is to navigate: www.cintoo.com/try.

3. Sharing/distribution

The viewing experience can be shared with team members and stakeholders simply by providing them with a URL, and each user’s access can be controlled. Your scan data can be distributed to team members or contractors in point cloud or 3D mesh format for desktop-based consumption and usage – like modelling in Revit for example.

4. Security

With your data uploaded to Cintoo Cloud, you can easily provide others with a log-in and control their permission levels, setting their access to view only or both view and edit. All the user needs is an internet connection and a WebGL browser.

5. Collaboration

Instead of working on different data sets, stakeholders can work on the same data concurrently and make measurements and notes as well as track issues to be addressed, improving project workflows.

See the platform in action and all the benefits it could bring to your organisation by watching our project demos: www.cintoo.com/demos. Or contact us at sales@cintoo.com to start making your project workflows more efficient.