CupixWorks Support Center

Viewing Point Clouds in SiteView

Viewing Point Clouds in SiteView

SiteView allows users to display and share laser scanner point clouds. To help you understand the scope of point cloud support in SiteView, this article will cover the following topics:




Supported File Formats

These are the currently supported cloud point file formats: 

  • LAS (LASer File Format from American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) 
  • LAZ (lossless LiDAR compressed LAS File Format) 
  • PLY (Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format) 
  • PTS (Leica Single Scan File Format) 
  • RCP (Autodesk ReCap Project File Format)* 
  • RCS (Autodesk ReCap Scan File Format)* 
  • XYZ (generic ASCII/ Binary point cloud File Format)

(* = Note that RCP and RCS are only supported by Cloud Connect for Windows. The Mac version does not support these file formats.)



Capture View Layout

The simplest way to view and navigate through point cloud data is with the Capture View Layout. This layout contains the Main Capture Viewer and Map Viewer Widget Windows. It can be accessed by clicking on the Manage Widgets icon in the top Toolbar menu:

  1. Click on Manage Widgets
  2. Click on the Capture View Layout button:



Capture Viewer Modes 

When a SiteView contains a published point cloud, a message notifying the viewer that point cloud data is available will appear in the bottom right of the capture window:

To load the point cloud data, click the Load Point Cloud icon in the viewing mode menu at the top right corner of the Capture Viewer. The point cloud will load and cover the current pano.

Once it is loaded, there are three viewing modes available:

  • Walk-through mode (default view)
  • 3D mode
  • Fly mode

Please read Capture Viewer Settings to learn the basics of viewing mode options.


Walk-through Mode

The default point cloud view is Walk-through mode  . In this mode, you can choose how panos and point clouds are displayed in the capture window.

Options for changing views can be found in the upper right toolbar inside the Capture Viewer window:


To change the visibility of the point cloud inside the Capture Viewer, use Filter Visibility  to choose between:

  • All  - Displays the point cloud (and other 3D objects) overlaid on the pano shown in that Capture Viewer. This is the default display mode. Use this option with clipping panels (described below) if you want to view cross sections of the point cloud over 360° photos of the space.
  • Panos  - When selected, displays only panos in that capture window. Point clouds will not be shown. Reference dimensions, transported BIM objects, annotations, and markups will still be displayed.
  • 3D objects and point cloud  - Displays only 3D objects within that capture window. Point clouds will be shown, however no panos will be loaded. If clipping panels are used to cut away cross sections of the point cloud, the blue 3D modeling space will be shown in the background. However, navigation when only a point cloud is displayed still uses pano locations from the associated digital twin.

You can learn more about Walk-through mode by reading How to Navigate SiteView in Walk-through Mode.


3D Mode

In 3D mode  , the entire point cloud is displayed in 3D space overlaid on top of the Reference Plan for that Level.

To view the point cloud in 3D mode:

    1. Move your mouse cursor to the upper right toolbar inside the Capture Viewer window. 

    2. Click on Walk-through mode   .

    3. Then click on 3D mode  .

You can learn the basics of navigating the point cloud in 3D mode by reading How to Navigate SiteView in 3D Mode.


Fly Mode

Navigating a point cloud in Fly mode  allows you to move quickly inside and outside of a structure. You can quickly and easily "fly" vertically or horizontally using the keyboard. To fly through a point cloud: 

    1. Move your mouse cursor to the upper right toolbar inside the Capture Viewer window. 

    2. Click on Walk-through mode  .

    3. Then click on Fly mode  .

Basic Navigation:

  • Left-click or right-click and drag the mouse around - Pan inside the capture display.
  • Mouse scroll wheel - Zoom in and out.


Walking with Arrow Keys:

  • Left and right arrow keys - Pan inside the capture display. 
  • Up and down arrow keys - Zoom in and out. 


Walking with WASD:

  • W - Move to the pano in front of you. 
  • A - Move to the pano left of you. 
  • S - Move to the pano behind you. 
  • D - Move to the pano right of you.


Go up and down:

  • Q - Move upward
  • E - Move downward


Adjust speed:

  • Hit - (minus key) to slow down the keyboard movement speed
  • Hit = (equals key ) to speed up the keyboard movement speed


Teleport:

  • Click on a destination inside the Capture Viewer to "teleport" there.



Point Cloud Settings

SiteView offers four user-defined point cloud rendering options in SiteView Settings:

  • Point Limit per Frame - Adjust point cloud loading time.
  • Point Size - Choose from Fixed sizing and Adaptive sizing.
  • Point Color Mode - Select how points are colorized. 
  • Point Color Silhouette - Display shapes calculated from the point cloud.


Point Limit per Frame

To load SiteView point clouds faster, users can adjust the maximum number of points that can be loaded each time the capture window frame needs to be rendered.  Rendering occurs whenever the user moves to a different location in the digital twin, or when the user rotates at a location.  By selecting a smaller point limit per frame, point cloud imagery is rendered faster with larger point sizes.  A larger point limit per frame will result in smaller point sizes and a more detailed point cloud render, however loading times will be noticeably longer.

The point limit per frame currently ranges from 0.1 million to 3 million points.

NOTE: to change the point limit per frame, click and drag the slider.


Point Size

Point sizes can be rendered in two different ways:

  • Fixed - All points are rendered at the same size.
  • Adaptive - Points in a lower density region are rendered larger, while points in a higher density region are rendered smaller.


Point Color Mode

Point clouds can be displayed in four color modes.  To change the colorization, go to SiteView Settings from the top toolbar, then select the desired display option from the drop down menu next to Point Color Mode.

The following point color modes are supported:

  • RGB - Points are colored with the real world RGB (Red, Blue, Green) value of scanned surfaces.  RGB is only available if the laser scanner uses an external or integrated camera to take corresponding images at each scan location.
  • CMY - If the point colors are defined in CMY (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow), use this option to view their color.
  • Elevation - Points are color coded by elevation, with blue indicating points closest to the floor, and red indicating points closest to the ceiling.
  • Intensity - Shown in grayscale, intensity shows the strength of the reflected laser beam when scanning to create the point cloud.  Lighter points indicate areas with a strongly reflected beam, and darker points indicate areas where the reflected beam is weaker. You can expect highly reflective surfaces such as smooth floors and metal to generate lighter points, whereas dark surfaces that absorb light generate darker points.


Point Color Silhouette

When an area is scanned, surfaces of objects and their resulting shapes can be extrapolated using the resulting point cloud. Point clouds in SiteView can be displayed with or without a black outline that traces the silhouettes of these calculated shapes. Enabling point color silhouette better defines the edges of shapes within the displayed point cloud, improving the visibility of objects.

To enable or disable point color silhouette, go to SiteView Settings from the top toolbar, then click the toggle next to Point Cloud Silhouette to turn this feature on (toggle turns blue) or off (toggle turns gray).



The Clipping Tool

In SiteView, users can hide or show regions of the point cloud and and compare them to the panos underneath by using clipping panels.  Clipping panels are planes perpendicular to the X, Y, and Z axis.  Each axis has two clipping panels which start at the extremities of the point cloud, and users can adjust the clipping panel positions along their corresponding axis to show or hide sections of the point cloud.  For example, the Z-axis has one clipping panel that starts at the very bottom of the floor and a second clipping panel that starts at the very top of the ceiling.

Note: You can view the clipped region in the Map Viewer as orange dotted lines.


Show Clipping Tool

The effect clipping panels have on the point cloud can be seen in both Walkthrough and 3D Mode.  When a clipping panel is adjusted, parts of the point cloud will no longer appear.  To open the clipping panel menu, click on the Show Clipping Tool  button on the capture window toolbar.  The clipping panel menu offers clipping panel sliders to adjust the positions of the clipping panels along the named axis, the option to lock to and view the extremes of each clipping panel, the ability to download the point cloud region inside a volume defined by the clipping panel(s), and the option to reset all clipping panels.


Clipping Plane Sliders

The point cloud coordinate system is defined with the standard horizontal X-axis, vertical Y-axis, and a Z-axis that points in and out of the computer screen, and the same coordinate system is used on the reference plan. The clipping panel sliders move across a range from 0 to 100, where 0 begins at the corresponding axis, and 100 ends at the farthest location a point is located from the axis. The region of the point cloud that remains shown will depend on how the clipping panels are adjusted.

In 3D mode when viewing the point cloud in the initial view (looking down at the point cloud), the clipping panel behavior is as follows:

  • Clip along X-axis from 0 to 100 - When the X-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 0 to 100, the point cloud will be hidden from left to right.
  • Clip along X-axis from 100 to 0 - When the X-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 100 to 0, the point cloud will be hidden from right to left.
  • Clip along Y-axis from 0 to 100 - When the Y-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 0 to 100, the point cloud will be hidden from bottom to top.
  • Clip along Y-axis from 100 to 0 - When the Y-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 100 to 0, the point cloud will be hidden from top to bottom.
  • Clip along Z-axis from 0 to 100 - When the Z-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 0 to 100, the point cloud will be hidden from floor to ceiling.
  • Clip along Z-axis from 100 to 0 - When the Z-axis clipping panel slider is moved from 100 to 0, the point cloud will be hidden from ceiling to floor.


Lock or Unlock the Clipping Plane

Users can view cross sections of the point cloud from all six directions of the 3D space by using the lock clipping panel functions.  To lock the clipping panel, click on the Lock to ____ View button to the left or right of each clipping panel slider. Click the button again to deselect the Lock to ____ View option.
In 3D mode when viewing the point cloud in the initial view (looking down at the point cloud), the clipping panel behavior is as follows:

Along the X-axis, users can lock the clipping panel to the right or left view:

  • Lock to Right View - Viewer is at the rightmost part of the point cloud facing in the negative direction of the X-axis (toward the left), and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from right to left as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 
  • Lock to Left View - Viewer is at the leftmost location of the point cloud facing in the positive direction of the X-axis (toward the right), and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from left to right as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 

Along the Y-axis, users can lock the clipping panel to the back or front view:

  • Lock to Back View - Viewer is at the top of the point cloud facing the negative direction of the Y-axis (toward the bottom of the screen), and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from top to bottom as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 
  • Lock to Front View - Viewer is at the bottom of the point cloud facing the positive direction of the Y-axis (toward the top of the screen), and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from bottom to top as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 

Along the Z-axis, users can lock the clipping panel to the top or bottom view:

  • Lock to Top View - Viewer is looking down at the point cloud, and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from ceiling to floor as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 
  • Lock to Bottom View - Viewer is looking up from the bottom of the point cloud, and a cross section of the point cloud is displayed from floor to ceiling as the user slides the clipping panel from 0 to 100. 


Download Point Cloud

Once you have set a volume within the 3D space using the X, Y, and/or Z clipping planes, you have the option of downloading the point cloud within this defined clipping volume. This point cloud section will be saved to your computer as a PLY file within the Downloads folder.

To download a point cloud section:

    1. Use the X, Y, and/or Z clipping planes to define the section of the point cloud you want to download.

Tip: View the point cloud in 3D Mode to gain an overall understanding of where the clipping volume is confined in 3D space, and use walkthrough mode to visually fine tune boundaries of the clipping planes.

    2. Click Show Clipping Tool .

    3. Click on Download Point Cloud.

    4. In the Download Point Cloud box, choose the Point Limit.

    5. Also, choose whether or not to Use Coordinates from Source Data.

   6. Click on the Download button.

You can now access your downloaded PLY file from the Downloads folder on your computer.


Reset Clipping Tool

To restore the default clipping plane settings along the X, Y, and Z axis, click on Reset. The entirety of the point cloud will be displayed again.


Clipping Tool Options

There are three Clipping Tool rendering options that you can slide from on to off, and back again:

  • Panos - This option will limit you to navigation of only the panos inside clipping planes.
  • 3D Objects - This option will clip transported BIM objects and sketch walls by the clipping planes.
  • Point Cloud - This option will render points inside the clipping planes only.

Timeline Compare Layout

Sometimes you may need to view 360° imagery and a point cloud side by side instead of overlaying the point cloud on the digital twin. Setting up SiteView to view point clouds and digital twins next to each other is similar to viewing two digital twins from different dates simultaneously, or viewing a digital twin next to its corresponding BIM.

To view a point cloud and digital twin simultaneously in different windows:

  1. Make sure you are in Walk-through Mode. If not, click the Walk-through Mode button in the upper right of the capture window.
  2. Click on Manage Widgets  in the upper right of the top toolbar.
  3. Click on Timeline Compare Layout.
  4. In the capture window where you want to only view panos, from the in-window toolbar, click on Filter visibility  .
  5. Click on Panos  from the drop down.

You are now able to view panos in one window and the corresponding point cloud in the other.

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.