Point Cloud Exploitation Tools

Point Cloud Exploitation and Analysis

LP360 sUAS is an advanced desktop toolset designed to make easy work of extracting information and derived products from data collected by small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS, UAVs, drones). LP360 sUAS works with point clouds derived from LIDAR systems as well as Structure from Motion (SfM, dense image matching, point clouds from imagery, multi-ray, photogrammetry) point clouds. For sUAS data collection and processing, LP360 sUAS picks up where point cloud generation tools such as PhotoScan and Pix4D leave off. LP360 sUAS has a very rapid Return on Investment (ROI), paying for itself within just a few stockpile edit sessions.

An sUAS provides a cost effective approach for collecting image and derived point cloud elevation data over project areas where manned aerial flights would be cost prohibitive. Examples include:

  • Localized, high resolution inspection
  • Volumetric analysis for stockpiles and open pit mines/quarries
  • Cut and Fill (earthworks) analysis for construction projects
  • Detailed site mapping
  • Small area mapping for site planning

Planning and flying the mission is performed with either proprietary software provided by the sUAS manufacturer or with an open source package such as Mission Planner and APM Pilot. The process of orienting images and generating a point cloud/orthomosaic is performed with a commercial point cloud generator such as Pix4D Mapper or Agisoft’s PhotoScan Pro (both of which are sold and supported by AirGon LLC). Quality Assessment, Analysis and Derivative Product generation are performed with LP360 sUAS.

Initial quality assessment is performed with tools provided by the point cloud generation software to ensure that full data coverage has been achieved and that the image orientation process can converge to a solution. Following this initial processing step, the data (both the derived point cloud and the orthomosaic) are imported into LP360 sUAS.

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LP360 sUAS includes an extensive collection of visualization modes and tools. Comprehensive visualization is a core element of the exploitation environment both for inspection and for quality assurance. Points can be displayed by intensity, color value, elevation and classification. Modes such as Classification can be modulated by intensity, a feature essential to interactive classification. Rendering modes include points, a surface model triangulated irregular network (TIN), wireframe and combinations of points on surfaces. Surface “sun” shading is also supported. Contours are dynamically generated and displayed. Viewing windows include plan (map) view, profile (cross section) and 3D.

There is even a free Viewer available that you can deliver to your customers, allowing them to experience the rich value of point cloud/ortho data.

Points displayed in 3D Window

Quantitative Quality Assessment

LP360 sUAS includes tools for testing both the horizontal and vertical accuracy of point clouds and orthomosaics. Complete visualization and reporting, in accordance with the 2014 ASPRS Accuracy Specification, are provided. Without a 3D visualization environment, vertical errors are very difficult to assess. A report generator is included, allowing you to deliver an accuracy report as part of the customer deliverables.

Manual and Automatic Classification

LP360 sUAS includes interactive tools for “classifying” data in both the Map View and Profile Views. Classification sets an attribute tag on points that designates their feature class (e.g. ground, vegetation, building, overhead structure and so forth). Classification of data is an important data preparation step prior to volumetric analysis and ground digital elevation model (DEM) generation. For example, conveyor systems overhanging stockpiles are classified prior to volumetric analysis to allow them to be excluded from the volume computations. In addition to interactive tools, LP360 sUAS includes utility “Point Cloud Tasks” for classifying height above ground, moving one class to another class and generating classification statistics.

The LP360 sUAS automatic Ground Classification is a configurable point cloud task (PCT) that allows for comprehensive classification of flat or hilly terrain. The Model Key Points (MKP) Point Cloud task intelligently thins the dataset to create surface models with a user specified vertical accuracy using fewer points where possible to define flat or sloped areas.

Classification of points in map view and profile Window, orange represents the Groung class and red represents the Building class

Volumetric Analysis

LP360 sUAS includes a complete tool set for volumetric analysis. These tools allow you to define the “toe” of a volume calculation with a variety of methods from interactive sketching to predefined definition files. Volumes can be computed using defined bases or between point clouds (for use in time change analysis). The reports include tabular data as well as the ability to generate output point clouds that represent the volume area (for example, a point cloud of a stock pile).

Cross-Sections and Contours

Cross sections can be extracted from point clouds using a variety of “alignment” definitions. The cross sections can be of a user specified length or clipped to enclosing polygons. LP360 sUAS includes advanced contouring tools that allow for both interactive visualization (dynamic contouring) and generating file-based contours for customer delivery.

Volumetric extraction with cross-sections and contours

Derivative Product Generation

LP360 sUAS includes an extensive set of tools for creating derivative products. The digital elevation model (DEM) tools allow you to set the grid spacing and interpolation methods. Project-wide contours can be exported at user specified intervals and labeling. Contour smoothing can be applied for cartographic applications. Additional products include slope, aspect, hill shade and intensity rasters.

Derivative Product Generation