Tips from the Architect: Using Point Cloud Data in ArchiCAD

The latest version of ArchiCAD includes an exciting new feature that allows a user to import point cloud files. A point cloud is a set of data points that represent the three-dimensional, external surface of an object such as an existing site or building. Laser scanners are used to gather the point cloud data, allowing for measures as accurate as 2mm (well beyond normal construction tolerances). This allows users to explore 3D design options without having to spend time developing a 3D model from scratch, as the point cloud captures not only the building but the site it is in as well (grade elevations, landscape, curb cuts, etc).

Once the point cloud is imported into ArchiCAD, users can create sections, interior and exterior elevations, RCPs, and other views. Users can also verify the integrity of the structure to ensure walls are not leaning or sagging. Reviewing these stereoscopic views at each scan location allows for a more comprehensive understanding of a working building than ever before.

The time required to fully capture an entire building is extremely fast. Each space can be captured in a mater of minutes, making it easy to learn the true geometry of an existing house.

Below are some point cloud examples gathered from a single site.

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