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point cloud

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A point cloud is a collection of data points defined by a given coordinates system. In a 3D coordinates system, for example, a point cloud may define the shape of some real or created physical system. Point clouds are used to create 3D meshes and other models used in 3D modeling for various fields including medical imaging, architecture, 3D printing, manufacturing, 3D gaming and various virtual reality (VR) applications.

In a 3D Cartesian coordinates system, a point is identified by three coordinates that, taken together, correlate to a precise point in space relative to a point of origin. X, y and z axes extend in two directions and the coordinates identify the distance of the point from the intersection of the axes (0) and the direction of divergence, expressed as + or -.

3D scanners gather point measurements from real-world objects or photos for a point cloud that can then be translated to a 3D mesh or NURBS or CAD model.

See a demonstration of using Point Cloud Manager in AutoCAD Map 3D to work with large LiDAR data sets:

This was last updated in October 2016

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