About Point Clouds and LiDAR Data

Point clouds are large data sets composed of 3D point data. Aerial LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) laser scanners are the most common instruments used to collect geographic point cloud data.

Geographic LiDAR data is most commonly available in LAS (LiDAR Aerial Survey) or ASCII (.xyz) format. LAS is an industry standard file format defined by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing that includes a system of point classification. A processed LAS file may have points classified as bare earth, high or low vegetation, building, and so on.

Zoom into the point cloud to see the distribution of the individual points.

Point clouds are derived from raw data scanned from physical objects such as building exteriors and interiors, process plants, topographies, and manufactured items. After you collect the raw data, it must be converted to readable point cloud files. Autodesk ReCap converts raw scan data to scan files (RCS files), and project files (RCP files) that reference multiple RCS files. Both these formats can be attached to your drawing in AutoCAD Map 3D toolset. After that, you can add a point cloud layer to the Display Manager, where you are able to filter the point cloud data or apply color stylization.