With the recent advancements in LiDAR survey technology and photogrammetry there has been a huge demand in capturing and storing point cloud data. Point cloud data are vector in nature, but are usually orders of magnitude larger than a standard vector layer. Typical vector datasets range from thousands to millions of features, while point clouds range from millions to billions or even trillions of points. Due to this sheer number of points a completely different approach to visualise, analyse and store point clouds is needed in a GIS platform.
Integrating a point cloud viewer in a desktop GIS application adds a lot of value for users compared to a specialised and dedicated point cloud viewer:
- Point cloud data can be visualised, compared, and analysed alongside other types of spatial data (including vector, raster and mesh layers)
- A familiar user interface and workflows
- Integration with analytical tools to quickly create derived datasets
Despite these benefits, current versions of the QGIS desktop application do not support visualisation of point cloud data. With our partners at Lutra Consulting and Hobu, we have decided to bridge this missing gap and add point cloud support in QGIS, and are launching a new crowdfunding campaign to fund this work!
Head on over to the official crowd funding page here for the full details of the campaign, and for details on how you can contribute and make this work a reality.