POINTCAB SIGNS PETITION FOR OPEN POINT CLOUD FORMATS
The eternal problem with converting
When working with point cloud data, users still have to jump back and forth between different data formats. Using different software solutions or even sharing data often requires conversion to open formats such as .e57. The constant conversion of data consumes time, resources, and storage capacity. In addition, this process often leads to a loss of information.
Although these problems are well known, the market has not yet reacted. Shouldn’t we be glad that open formats like .las, .laz, or .e57 exist at all? It is true that before these formats were published, there was practically no way to pass on point cloud data to other systems in a meaningful way. In the meantime, however, this solution is simply no longer practicable.
While the computing power for point cloud processing has increased significantly over the years, the volume of data has also grown considerably. More and more points and additional information are being collected to produce more precise and reliable results. However, higher data volumes also mean a longer conversion times. Time that cloud surely be used more efficiently. In addition, the .e57 format – the industry standard – is compressed rather poorly and requires much more storage capacity than other formats. Heavy point cloud users will quickly run into a storage problem that will also put a strain on their wallets. Similar problems occur with data transfer. Downloading a point cloud project might take serval hours.
But what can be done in practice to combat these problems? The solution is actually fairly obvious. If all software on the market were able to read the native formats of the various laser scanners and software directly and, in the best case, also write them, the age of constant conversion would be a thing of the past. This would be technically possible without much hassle. So why is it not happening?
In order for a software to be able to read other point cloud formats, you need a so-called Software Development Kit (SDK) from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers, such as RIEGL, already make their SDK available to other applications. Unfortunately, there are still many other manufacturers who do not yet provide SDKs and so the user is still forced to convert their data.
The petition for open point cloud formats therefore calls on manufacturers who have not yet made an SDK available to do so. This would not only be in the interest of the end user. Research and even the manufacturers themselves would also benefit. That is why we have signed the petition and plan to make an SDK for our own .lsd format available soon.
If you also think that something has to change, then join us with your voice and sign the petition too.