Point clouds in BricsCAD has changed significantly in BricsCAD V20 compared to V19: improved data representation and the introduction of a point cloud cache manager.
New improved data representation
The internal representation has changed. The output used to be one monolithic binary file with extension .bpt, but is now one project file with extension .vrm accompanied by a folder with the actual point data. This new format has the following advantages:
- It can be displayed faster and more realistically.
- While the old format was up to two times larger on disc than the source data, the new format is up to two times smaller than the source data.
- The data format is fully compatible with the Bricsys Insight VR software.
Point cloud cache manager
Before, data needed to be explicitly preprocessed before attaching them to a dwg. Now, this process is simplified by our new point cloud management system.
- A user can directly attach point cloud source data to a dwg.
- The cache manager will perform the preprocessing in the background if needed and attach the point cloud to the dwg.
- When this data has been processed before (and this thus found in cache), it is directly attached.
- All the cached datasets are centralized in the cache manager, so there is no more need to move around converted datasets. This cache manager also keeps track how much data it contains and warns the user when this is larger than a preset maximum size.
The location and size of the cache folder is set through the PointCloudCacheFolder and PointCloudCacheSize user preferences.
For the following example, we used a dataset publicly available on https://www.navvis.com/m6-pointclouds. The source file contains 63 million points and takes about 2 minutes to import.
Fun tip: use the NAVIGATE command to walk inside an imported point cloud.
For the example above, the screenshot below shows an impression from inside the point cloud.
Point cloud user scenarios
To attach a .ptx, .pts, .las or .rcp point cloud file
This can now be done directly by attaching such data to the dwg. The preprocessing is executed in a background process and you are notified when it is ready.
Then, the point cloud data display after a simple REGEN.
To send a .dwg file with point cloud data attached to another user
- User A creates the dwg and attaches the point cloud data to it. This creates a cache representation on the computer of user A in the point cloud cache folder,
- When user B wants to work on this dwg, he has to receive both the dwg and the point cloud source data at the same relative path to the dwg as when user A created it.
- When user B then opens the dwg in BricsCAD, the cache will be generated automatically.
- This also applies to a dwg with an rcp attached, as created in AutoCAD.
Attach a point cloud to multiple drawings
When you create a new dwg at the same relative path to the point cloud source data and you want to attach these data to the new dwg, the caching recognizes the file location and the data is immediately attached and displayed.
New Point Cloud commands for V20
POINTCLOUDIMPORT: When a point cloud was already preprocessed outside the caching system (like a beta of V20 or the Bricsys VR software Insight), this command lets the user import those data into the cache manager.
POINTCLOUDREFERENCE: opens a dialog to let the user select a dataset from the cache and attach it to a dwg.
POINTCLOUDDELETEITEM: opens a dialog to let the user select a dataset from the cache to delete it from disc.
Other new features in V20:
- The POINTCLOUDPREPROCESS command gives balloon progress updates during its computations.
- The POINTCLOUDPREPROCESS command and POINTCLOUDATTACH command now have unattended counterparts, being resp. -POINTCLOUDPREPROCESS and
The result is that the item will prepared in cache AND attached to the current dwg. The user gets to see a notification balloon when the preprocessing is finished. Possibly, a REGEN is needed for now to update the drawing. This also means that the POINTCLOUDPREPROCESS command will no longer be required and probably will disappear.
For legacy reasons, attaching old bpt files will still be supported in V20, but new bpt files can no longer be created. After V20, support for bpt files will be dropped completely.
The rest of the functionality remains the same:
- Snapping behavior to point cloud points while editing.
- Sectionplanes (clipping the whole scene including the point cloud) .
- Pointcloudcrop (clipping just the current point cloud object).
- Colormaps: use false colors to highlight differences in intensity or elevation.
- Behavior in drawing explorer (add/modify/remove point cloud definitions).
- Properties panel: when a point cloud is selected, several properties are available for inspection and even direct modification.
- Geometric properties, such as rotation (around the z-axis), scale and insertion X,Y,Z
color map to be applied.