Public Lab Research note

3D Point Cloud

by lpercifield | June 28, 2011 17:07 28 Jun 17:07 | #363 | #363

There has been a lot of talk about creating 3D point clouds from raster data, including images created using grassroots mapping. The simplest tool that is currently available is the closed source Photosynth application from Microsoft. I uploaded a set of images from the Knight News Challenge conference and this is what was created.

I then extracted the point cloud using Synthexport.

OBJ file is available for download here.


I've played a little bit with Autodesk's Photo Scene Editor. It's free (I think until August). The results of my tries with it look pretty good, but I haven't gotten much farther than just getting something out. Just another option. :)

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Wow, this is great! I guess many of our coastal images are not topographically interesting... but i do wonder what this process would look like with our mining site data:

we have to dig around to find the raw images for that site.

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there is a set of raw images for the WV mining site available now at

Great work Leif!

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If you have LIDAR data then these tools allow processing Point Clouds,etc. Before I retired I was working on using this to determined the location of pools within several hundred sq. miles of data. Local governments have typically funded aerial photography and have LIDAR data. If your interested try Pima County GIS they may give you data for research/educational use. Just a thought.

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Hi, Great writing! I have a question about using PointCab Suite. I read the introduction of Point cloud to BIM on an article and understand about PointCab Suite Revit. And I know that PointCab Suite is powerful tool for point cloud modeling and is easily managed.LAS files and convert them into.RCP format. But when to load that file in Revit, I received some issues with that process. Is there any other format to directly open point cloud files into Revit? Thanks.

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