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mankoff January 15, 2012 18:28

Generating Mesh from LiDAR data (PointCloud or Surface)

I'm fairly new to OpenFOAM and just beginning to make my own experiments and meshes. I have data collected with a LiDAR that is in pointcloud format (PLY, PCD). I can convert it easily to a gridded format using the opensource Points2Grid tool. I would like to be able to use this as one wall of my simulation. It does not seem that there is much overlap between the LiDAR and CFD. Has anyone done something similar, or have pointers or know of tools that can take a pointcloud and generate a mesh from it?



ic3wall February 1, 2012 10:53

What do you want to do exactly ?

You have coordinates in space corresponding to the points where your Lidar is taking measurements ? And you want to create a mesh from this ?

its not clear ..

mankoff February 1, 2012 10:58

Correct. I have (x,y,z) triplets in space from LiDAR. I'd like to create a mesh from this.

niklas February 1, 2012 11:07

if you can convert it to an STL it sounds pretty similar as the snakeriver tutorial.

mankoff February 1, 2012 11:10

Yes. Any suggestions on free tools that convert point clouds to STL?

ngj February 1, 2012 11:33


You could try to find a delaunay-triangulation tool. Having the triangles you should be able to write the STL yourself. With a delaunay-triangulation you will also have the best estimate of the surface between the measured points.

I believe matlab uses/used qhull, which is an open-source delaunay bundle.

Best regards,


ic3wall February 1, 2012 12:24


Originally Posted by mankoff (Post 342279)
Correct. I have (x,y,z) triplets in space from LiDAR. I'd like to create a mesh from this.

For converting xyz coords to STL, you can use global mapper, very convenient.

Why don't you create a mesh around these points, a cube for example, and then refine ?

Do you have the topography ?

dshawul February 1, 2012 13:41

If you can't find a better tool, there are MATLAB scripts in the web that you can use to convert point data into stl format.

elvis February 2, 2012 06:14


A Synthetic LiDAR Scanner for VTK
A Leica PTX Reader for VTK

I guess that VTK is your friend

bastil February 2, 2012 07:09


Originally Posted by niklas (Post 342282)
the snakeriver tutorial.

What the hell is the snakeriver tutorial?

elvis February 2, 2012 08:10

snakeriver tutorial is a terrain meshing example

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