PointSense Seminar.

During the launch of the PointSense Plant product, kubit provided a number of seminars detailing the powerful features of this exciting tool. The webinars show the ease of accurate piping design in AutoCAD with the native PCG engine along with a great of variety of powerful tools working directly on the native PCG engine. The webinar has been divided into 4 sections of 15 minutes duration and should be watched in the following order:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Ortho Image from PointCloud’s

Following on from our previous post announcing PointCloud Release 7, here is a video showing one of the new (and probably most useful) functions.

Then ortho image is easily created from a laser scanned point cloud in AutoCAD. The image is to scale and can be imported to any program that handles raster images. Draw easy elevations, great for printing or annotating for a deliverable. Contact us for more information.

Multiple Slices and Polygon Fitting in PointCloud Pro

Kubit USA have been producing YouTube Videos showing many of the powerful features of PointCloud Pro for AutoCAD.

In this movie we automatically extract profile lines from a laser scanned tunnel using kubit PointCloud Pro for AutoCAD. Multiple slices are taken along a defined path and lines are fitted to the profile slices with the kubit “Polygon Fit” tool. These profiles can also be used easily to create a model using traditional AutoCAD modelling commands:


PointCloud 7 is now available

We are pleased to announce that the latest version of kubit’s PointCloud software for AutoCAD is now available for download.

The new features include:

  • Support of AutoCAD 2012 and Autodesk products based on AutoCAD 2012.
  • New product family “PointSense”. The first of this new family will be released in the UK in July. “PointSense Plant” is a catalog driven plant modelling tool that identifies pipe fittings from a catalog and matches them to the cloud.
  • Generation of Ortho Images from point clouds including “X-Ray”. Included in the “Basic” and “Pro” variants images may be created which could enable off-line tracing of detail to create 2D drawings.
  • Fit cylinder with just two clicks (AutoCAD 2010 and higher). A faster and easier method to fitting pipes than previous releases.
  • “Flatten drawing“ – project geometry to a UCS. For delivering 2D drawings from 3D wireframe.
  • “SmartSection” for detailed display of AutoCAD point clouds (PCG). One of the disadvantages of the PCG engine in AutoCAD is the density of the point display. Smart sections enable the current working section of the cloud to be displayed in it’s full density.
  • Improvements to the image orientation workflow. Controlling the viewports and view is vital for fast modelling. Release 7 eases this with a number of new commands.
  • Support for “Ribbons” in AutoCAD 2010 to 2012: an alternative for the classic menu and toolbars (actually takes less space than showing all toolbars)

PointCloud Release 7 supports All 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows 7, Vista and XP (Windows 2000 is no longer supported).

Each of these new features will be examined in forthcoming posts.

Release 7 is provided free of charge to existing users on subscription but please remember to request your upgraded license before installation.

Kubit Partner Conference

Once a year the kubit resellers from around the world gather at kubit’s Dresden offices to review and discuss developments in surveying software and new products for the next year. I have just returned from the 2011 conference and am really pleased to report that the future of kubit software looks really promising. Both PhoToPlan and PointCloud have some new really powerful and important new tools that will help extract more information from the PointCloud or Photograph quicker and easier.

There will be many posts in the coming weeks and months to detail these improvements but briefly;

PointCloud: (both Basic and Pro) now include Orthographic Image Generation – a quick and easy to use tool that is ideal for extracting plans and elevations for tracing. There is also a new focus on industry specific tools – the first of these is PointSense Plant. PointCloud also benefits from the improvements to the pointcloud engine in AutoCAD 2012.

PhoToPlan: In addition to many workflow improvements, the tool will also feature a new ortho image  tool – generating Orthographic Photographs from the combination of geometry (or pointclouds) and orientated images.

Detailed announcements will be made soon.

Pointclouds in AutoCAD 2011

One of the (much hyped) new features of AutoCAD 2011 was the inclusion of handling pointcloud data. In this post we will take a quick look at this functionality and how you can make real use of this.

The first issue is that AutoCAD can only read specific (limited) pointcloud formats; LAS, XYB and the 2 Faro formats FLS and FWS. Many users will find this a limitation and need further formats. Further formats may be imported by adding the free version of PointCloud from kubit. The product page is here and the software may be downloadedhere. PointCloud adds the formats PTZ, RiScan Pro and ASCII (CSV, TXT etc).

The workflow of importing pointcloud data is to first index the supplied file to create a PCG file which is Autodesk’s pointcloud format.

This PCG file may be attached in the same way as any other AutoCAD block or image file.

The method of display of the points depends on the current AutoCAD Visual Style. A 2D non-rendered (2D) style displays all of the points in a single colour: black. Selecting a rendered (shaded / 3D) style displays the points in colour.

AutoCAD manages the number of points displayed on the screen. At first loading the density of the points displayed may appear rather thin. Select the density command. Here I have set the value 70. The display is now far more usable. You will find the pan and orbit are very quick and all points within the cloud may be via the Node object snap.

Many will view the fact that AutoCAD can only display the whole cloud or no cloud as a major limitation, this is another limitation that may be bypassed with kubit’s PointCloud software although this further functionality requires the paid version.

PointCloud allows the definition of sections which may be managed in the section manager. These may be created in the following ways;

  • Slice
  • (Shift slice up/down and change slice thickness)
  • (Multiple slices: Parallel or perpendicular to objects/curves)
  • Clipping Box
  • Clipping Polygon (2D projection, inside or outside remains visible).

A typical use of the slice command is to create a plan.

This of course may then be traced. If the version of PointCloud being used is the Pro version then the Automatic Fitting may be used to fit the plan to the slice. This is completed by drawing a very approximate polyline (with the correct number of corners) and selecting the Fit Polygon command.

Working with elevations is a key use of PointCloud data. This however shows another weakness in the AutoCAD  pointcloud display. The density of the data displayed may not be sufficient for tracing details.

Again, PointCloud may come to the rescue here. Using the section manager individual sections of the data set may be saved in PTC format – the native format of kubit’s PointCloud (which enables the support for PointCloud data in AutoCAD’s prior to 2011). The display of the PTC is far denser allowing the details to be seen clearly.

Edit/Note: Release 7, released in May 2011 introduced “SmartSections” a new way of creating and working with this higher density display. The new SmartSections are faster and simpler to use. End Edit/Note.

A further tool within PointCloud is Plane fitting. This enables a plane to be fitted to a number of points and in the case of elevations, the UCS placed on this plane ensuring the elevation is drawn in the correct position.

At first glance it may seem that are are too many disadvantages to using the Autodesk PCG engine and other tools provide a better solution. However when you consider that the PCG engine allows up to 2 billlion points to be inserted into AutoCAD I would suggest that PCG + PointCloud is the ideal tool to manage the dataset within AutoCAD, creating overall plans and views.  with sectioning the data to PTC sections for detail extraction. Take time to download and evaluate PointCloud, again details here.