by Geoff Woodhead
The 2015 version of AutoCAD Civil 3D saw some great changes and improvements to the functionality and behaviour of Point Clouds. This was in large part down to the change in method of import and inclusion of a new Point Cloud object. These changes should provide users with a smoother, faster feeling experience when viewing or manipulating point clouds in their models.
These changes have meant it is now necessary to index and translate your scans into heavily optimized .rcs and .rcp files using Autodesk’s dedicated desktop Reality Capture software called ReCap Pro. The basic version of ReCap Pro can be downloaded for free from Autodesk’s website and allows users to import scans from all vendors and colourise point clouds captured on some scanners. As well as the above users can index, segment and share the data they have captured in a number of different formats. If combined with a Desktop Subscription for ReCap Pro, users are also provided with the ability to register scans without the need for targets during data capture, generate target based accuracy reports, verify survey control networks, perform target-based registration refinement and registration rollbacks.
As a Point Cloud enthusiast I am pretty impressed with the advancements that have made it through to retail versions this year and I hope you are too. If however you would rather use the ‘old’ Point Cloud tools in Civil 3D 2015, worry not as they are still available, though nowhere near as good as the new workflow we have been provided. To access the old Create Point Cloud dialog box to translate your raw point cloud data into an .isd file you can simply type the command CREATEPOINTCLOUD and use the wizard in the same way as in previous versions. Be warned that even one use of the new workflow included in Civil 3D 2015 will put you off from using the older method for good!