AutoCAD Family of Products - Getting the Point (Cloud) Part 2

So... in the last post I talked about Point Clouds in Recap 360, you can read my blog here if you missed it.

In this post I will be talking about the AutoCAD family of products, starting with AutoCAD 2017 and what you can do with Point Clouds in there, moving onto Map3D and then Civil 3D. Due to the length of this blog I have changed part 2 to a downloadable guide and you can view this by filling out the form at the end of this blog.

Included in the guide are the following:

AutoCAD 2017

Once you have cleaned up your point cloud and selected the area you want using Recap 360, you can then put it into AutoCAD. On the Insert tab you will see the Point Cloud panel.

AutoCAD Point Cloud Panel

I get asked a lot about getting geometry out of a point cloud. Right now, in an infrastructure project there is limited functionality to extract any geometry from a point cloud in AutoCAD. It will extract geometry from up to 3 planes which is useful for building and structure edges, things like abutments. But most of our geometry is wiggly wobbly geometry. You can of course draw polylines and snap to the point cloud.

The section Plane button is useful still so we can examine a scan in section. It’s a live section so pulling it through your model will give you a great view of what is happening.

AutoCAD Map 3D Add Point Cloud DataAutoCAD Map 3D

AutoCAD Map 3D can do all the above, because it’s AutoCAD, but it can also add the point cloud to the Task Pane. This makes it easier to switch on and off, just like all the other features in there.

You can then very quickly do things like filter your Point Cloud. For example, if you right mouse click the point cloud in the Task Pane you get the option to Style by or Filter. The Style by is another way to do the same as in AutoCAD by selecting your point cloud and hitting the Stylisation button with the ‘Set Style’ option opening the ‘Point Cloud Colour (Color) Map’ window.

The ‘Filter Point Cloud’ is an excellent way to set the view you want. Some of these can be achieved in AutoCAD also, but in Map 3D it’s quicker and easier.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017

Because Civil 3D is built on AutoCAD and has Map 3D built in, there are all the options above included. In addition, there is another Point Cloud Engine. In AutoCAD and AutoCAD Map 3D you can only bring in RCP or RCS files (Recap). Not a big problem, because you always have Recap. In Civil 3D however, you can also use the Toolspace to add point clouds in their raw format. In fact, all these formats:

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 Create Point Cloud

In addition to this, Civil 3D can also create a surface directly from the Point Cloud.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2017 Create Surface

To see all the options available in all 3 AutoCAD products in more detail, just fill in the form below and then click on the button to view the guide. And don’t forget to see where Autodesk are taking this technology, look out for Part 3, Infraworks 360 and Point Clouds, coming soon. 

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