What Should You Consider When Commissioning a Point Cloud Survey?

Point clouds are increasingly becoming the standard way to deliver survey data to clients. At Michael Gallie & Partners, we regularly advise our clients on their point cloud requirements and the various point cloud deliverables. What should you consider when commissioning a point cloud survey?

There are a number of considerations to be made when instructing a survey company to carry out a point cloud only survey to ensure that you receive what you need. If you do not discuss your point cloud requirements prior to tender stage, it may not be possible for the survey company to provide you with a point cloud that meets your expectations. Below are some of the important considerations that should be taken when commissioning a point cloud only survey.

Colour or Non-Colour Point Cloud

Whether you want a colour (RGB) or non-colour (Mono) point cloud is one of the main considerations that should be decided at tender stage because the surveyor cannot convert a non-colour point cloud into a colour point cloud once the on-site laser scanning is completed without additional work and cost. Colour point clouds cost more to produce and take longer on-site to complete. As a rule of thumb, the site work takes twice as long to collect a full-colour point cloud than a non-colour point cloud.

Point Cloud Format

At Michael Gallie & Partners we can export numerous point cloud formats that suit your preferred software needs. It is important to stipulate your point cloud format at tender stage so that we can factor into our quotation the processing time to provide the correct point cloud format. We only use the point cloud in a format for the software we use in-house to draw and model in, so if you require another point cloud format we need to know before any point cloud exporting takes place.

Point Spacing

Point spacing is important to stipulate at tender stage, so that the surveyor can estimate in their quotation the processing time to filter the data to the required point cloud spacing. You cannot change the point spacing filter level to a denser level (i.e. 15mm up to 10mm point spacing) without additional reprocessing time and cost. Filtering of the point cloud can reduce the point cloud file sizes considerably so is certainly a consideration when using the point cloud in your preferred software.

Point Cloud Viewer

At Michael Gallie & Partners we can provide various point cloud viewers to suit your needs. The most important consideration regards cost is whether you require a web-based viewer or prefer the point cloud data on a portable hard drive with viewer installed. A web-based viewer is more expensive due to the setup and hosting costs involved.

If you need any advice on point cloud only surveys, please contact Sam Lloyd at Michael Gallie & Partners who will be happy to assist you in this matter

Point Cloud Survey