Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

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Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by JacekJaskolski »

Hi All,

I'm looking for a basic online service to process point clouds and extract 2d sections for drafting purposes.

I have checked all of the SaaS listed in this forum (3dUserNet, Cintoo, GeoSignum, NavVis, Pointerra, Pointly, Pointshare+ and Vercator), some very powerful and clearly an overkill for our case, but apparently none offer the exact features that we need.

This might be because our use case is somewhat non-standard:

We are a drafting company working with 3d scans that our clients make. These are usually single walk captures from a BLK2GO. We currently follow a semi-manual workflow on local machines: We download the cloud, run a CloudCompare CLI script to subsample and denoise it, then open the pre-processed cloud in CC for further manipulation. The end result is a set of 2D images which our drafters use as underlays for creating 2d & 3d as-builts. We draft them in an online software (this is not your typical CAD software, these floor plans are used for real-estate marketing), so it really doesn't make much sense to process the point clouds on local machines. Furthermore, we have 100+ drafters working remotely on a loose or semi-permanent basis, so buying a lot of desktop licenses is not a viable option. That's why we're looking for an on-line alternative.

The solution should allow to:
1. import a point cloud (unstructured E57) directly from a URL.
2. [optionally] apply random (or, better yet spatial) subsampling
3. [optionally] apply a noise filter (e.g. SOR)
4. make basic operations: rotation, rectangular cropping/segmentation
5. extract 2D layouts/sections with scale control

Ideally, these features should be exposed also in the form of an API so we can automate as much of the process as possible.

Since we deal mainly with simple houses or apartments, in most cases we do not need to inspect the clouds in 3d at all. We're perfecly comfortable working with just 2d representation of the scans. No need for fancy 3d visualization and navigation.

We have actually started developing our own custom online tool for this and have a working proof-of-concept. It might be that, given our specific needs, it might be the most suitable option, but before we invest more time & money in this custom solution I want to make sure that we are not reinventing the wheel...

Is there a SaaS which fits our criteria?
Thanks in advance for any recommendations and comments!
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by RJGEOMATICS »

Central log in computers. So long as the pointclouds are register. Both PointFuse and Edgewise provide great efficiency. Just run remote desktop

Not a perfect solution but it isn't bad.

Also just as an FYI Matterport now has full scan to Bim. Just capture with the Pro2 camera or BLK360 and you get a full IFC model direct from Matterport about 48 hours later.

In either event. Matterports rates are a good guide for what things are worth.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by max72 »

Not a SaaS, but Pointcab Origins is worth checking.

The output from the basic version is what you are looking for. Rather fast, easy to use, it doesn't require fast machines.

Thinking out loud, you might have a "converter" providing the referenced raster to the "drafters", or each user might connect to a remote machine and do the conversion (with a risk of collision). Not sure, but I guess with "no dongle" license you have to connect to internet and be granted, so if the risk of concurrent connections is low everyone might be able to have it on the local machine and lease the license for a short period of time. Rather risky anyway, if someone forgets the tool open..

There is also a vectorizer tool as an addon, if your rooms are empty it might be worth a check, you might save a huge amount of time.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by landmeterbeuckx »

JacekJaskolski wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:59 pm Hi All,

I'm looking for a basic online service to process point clouds and extract 2d sections for drafting purposes.

I have checked all of the SaaS listed in this forum (3dUserNet, Cintoo, GeoSignum, NavVis, Pointerra, Pointly, Pointshare+ and Vercator), some very powerful and clearly an overkill for our case, but apparently none offer the exact features that we need.

This might be because our use case is somewhat non-standard:

We are a drafting company working with 3d scans that our clients make. These are usually single walk captures from a BLK2GO. We currently follow a semi-manual workflow on local machines: We download the cloud, run a CloudCompare CLI script to subsample and denoise it, then open the pre-processed cloud in CC for further manipulation. The end result is a set of 2D images which our drafters use as underlays for creating 2d & 3d as-builts. We draft them in an online software (this is not your typical CAD software, these floor plans are used for real-estate marketing), so it really doesn't make much sense to process the point clouds on local machines. Furthermore, we have 100+ drafters working remotely on a loose or semi-permanent basis, so buying a lot of desktop licenses is not a viable option. That's why we're looking for an on-line alternative.

The solution should allow to:
1. import a point cloud (unstructured E57) directly from a URL.
2. [optionally] apply random (or, better yet spatial) subsampling
3. [optionally] apply a noise filter (e.g. SOR)
4. make basic operations: rotation, rectangular cropping/segmentation
5. extract 2D layouts/sections with scale control

Ideally, these features should be exposed also in the form of an API so we can automate as much of the process as possible.

Since we deal mainly with simple houses or apartments, in most cases we do not need to inspect the clouds in 3d at all. We're perfecly comfortable working with just 2d representation of the scans. No need for fancy 3d visualization and navigation.

We have actually started developing our own custom online tool for this and have a working proof-of-concept. It might be that, given our specific needs, it might be the most suitable option, but before we invest more time & money in this custom solution I want to make sure that we are not reinventing the wheel...

Is there a SaaS which fits our criteria?
Thanks in advance for any recommendations and comments!
Looks like Undet is something for you. There is a subforum on it.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by JacekJaskolski »

Thanks very much for you insights.

Yes, we have considered setting up a central computer with remote desktop connections. In fact we still are thinking about this as a temporary solution, with the upside that it should work off the bat. The downside is that it is not really a scalable, stable and sustainable option in the long run.

I know and like PointCAB and if I were to setup a standard on-premises production it would certainly be my software of choice (even though we have managed to push the limits of CloudCompare and achieve very similar deliverables without much additional processing time). Our drafters work remotely from different parts of the country and in different times of day/night so collisions would indeed be an issue.
We draft ~100 properites a day. Currently ~5% are based on point clouds but I expect this number to grow.

As for PointFuse and Edgewise, while they are impressive tools, I see more use for them in the traditional BIM workflows. In our case it is just quicker for the drafter to trace over well prepared underlays, rather than fix the geometry that was recognized by the building elements detection algorithm. Not to mention that the drafting sofware we need to use (market requirements) is not compatible with IFC or CAD formats.
Same goes for Undet - if I understand correctly it is a plugin for Sketchup/AutoCAD/Revit and other desktop software packages, so it doesn't fit our needs in that regard.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by landmeterbeuckx »

JacekJaskolski wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:35 pm Thanks very much for you insights.

Yes, we have considered setting up a central computer with remote desktop connections. In fact we still are thinking about this as a temporary solution, with the upside that it should work off the bat. The downside is that it is not really a scalable, stable and sustainable option in the long run.

I know and like PointCAB and if I were to setup a standard on-premises production it would certainly be my software of choice (even though we have managed to push the limits of CloudCompare and achieve very similar deliverables without much additional processing time). Our drafters work remotely from different parts of the country and in different times of day/night so collisions would indeed be an issue.
We draft ~100 properites a day. Currently ~5% are based on point clouds but I expect this number to grow.

As for PointFuse and Edgewise, while they are impressive tools, I see more use for them in the traditional BIM workflows. In our case it is just quicker for the drafter to trace over well prepared underlays, rather than fix the geometry that was recognized by the building elements detection algorithm. Not to mention that the drafting sofware we need to use (market requirements) is not compatible with IFC or CAD formats.
Same goes for Undet - if I understand correctly it is a plugin for Sketchup/AutoCAD/Revit and other desktop software packages, so it doesn't fit our needs in that regard.
Pointcab projects can be viewed with a free viewer. If you do your sections and other stuff in a certain template you can do the sections in one location and send them through to the drawing teams.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by JacekJaskolski »

Pointcab projects can be viewed with a free viewer. If you do your sections and other stuff in a certain template you can do the sections in one location and send them through to the drawing teams.
True.
The challange though is to eliminate the need for an intermediate serial processing step in our workflow.

In the Real Estate Listings market the standard turnaround is 24h (in some countries it's already down to 12h). We are able to meet and exceed these expectations by pushing the limits on the optimization and automation of our workflows. Remote working drafters in our network pick up the projects at different times of the day and start working immediately. We don't have the luxury to introduce an intermediate step and to risk waiting for a project to be processed by one person before it goes to the other. Not in the long run at least. The goal is for our drafters to be able to extract the layouts form a pointcloud themselves and to do it in less than 5 minutes total.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by jedfrechette »

I love to see people pushing beyond the 1 person in an office working on 1 project on a box workflows that so many of us are still doing.

Could you completely automate the section generation step? Instead of having your drafters generate the specific sections they want have an automated process that generates a bunch of 2D sections in a standard configuration and then let the drafters pick the sections they want and throw away the rest.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by JacekJaskolski »

Could you completely automate the section generation step? Instead of having your drafters generate the specific sections they want have an automated process that generates a bunch of 2D sections in a standard configuration and then let the drafters pick the sections they want and throw away the rest.
Yes, we also thought about this type of "brute-force" approach. It's not as straightforward as one might think though. You need to rotate the cloud in XY first, crop the extents, identify floor levels (so that you can extract or color-code sections at certain heights), etc. etc.

But in general I do think that for at least 80% of the cases it should be totally possible to automate the entire process, including the above mentioned steps (we already have some great results from the prototype scripts we're coding on our own). For the remaining 20% we'll still need some basic manual processing funcionality.
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Re: Looking for online SaaS for basic point cloud processing - does it even exist?

Post by smacl »

JacekJaskolski wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:56 am
Could you completely automate the section generation step? Instead of having your drafters generate the specific sections they want have an automated process that generates a bunch of 2D sections in a standard configuration and then let the drafters pick the sections they want and throw away the rest.
Yes, we also thought about this type of "brute-force" approach. It's not as straightforward as one might think though. You need to rotate the cloud in XY first, crop the extents, identify floor levels (so that you can extract or color-code sections at certain heights), etc. etc.

But in general I do think that for at least 80% of the cases it should be totally possible to automate the entire process, including the above mentioned steps (we already have some great results from the prototype scripts we're coding on our own). For the remaining 20% we'll still need some basic manual processing funcionality.
We've done quite a bit of work on automated section extraction in SCC which in my experience comes down to quality of input data and tuning up of classification and noise filters. See the example below for how this plays out with ZEB Revo data on a building with largely square walls.


youtu.be/VHKv7zNiX80

Compare this to an example done on a historic structure with lots of curves and small detail scanned with a P40.


youtu.be/L1ApPht9Pfw

While you can get great results using these techniques with good data and tools, in my experience they assist automated extraction but still rely on some manual editing where good data is available. If there are a lot of complex curves, they can speed things up significantly. Where the data is poor and all the walls are flat, fully automated extraction doesn't really add that much value as the amount of editing means you are better starting from scratch. What does add value is good automated classification to get rid of furniture, people and various other bits of noise, and also to separate floors and walls. You'll always need the full point cloud in my opinion as you need to be able pick the best unobstructed positions for your sections.

(Note that SCC is not a SaaS software and doesn't serve that market, examples above just to illustrate possible techniques)
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