How To Cut Sections in the CyArk Point Cloud Viewer

by Hannah Bowers
September 28, 2009
The CyArk 3D Point Cloud Viewer is a powerful tool that allows you, the user, to interact within a 3D model space. This enables anyone to view our 3D point cloud data in true 3D.

This application has been available on our site for some time now, and comes in two versions. The Lite version allows anyone to explore a 3D Point Cloud by rotating, zooming, panning, and otherwise reorienting the data (basic controls pictured below). This version is available to anyone. The second, full-featured version of the viewer allows you to actually manipulate the point cloud. This includes the ability to cut the point cloud into sections (detailed below), as well as to make accurate measurements from the 3D data. This version requires a CyArk Professional Account. If you don't yet have a professional account, you can sign up on the Registration Page. It's free and only takes a a few minutes.

Getting Started

The basic navigation controls are located on the top toolbar of the viewer, and include the ability to rotate, free look, pan, and zoom.

Cutting Sections

Point clouds, by their very nature, have many layers. This can sometimes become problematic, when, for example, you're trying to view the interior of a room, but the exterior points are obstructing your view. In such cases, the ability to cut sections comes in handy. This allows you to view "slices" of the point cloud by temporarily hiding points, thereby allowing for a better view.

To do this, select "Cut Section" from the Section Cut Tools drop down menu in the toolbar (pictured below). You're cursor will change to depict a razor knife. Select the side of the green, bounding box that you would like to cut from. The side you select will become transparent green.

Move the cut plane to your desired position by dragging the slider bar on the right side of the viewer window (highlighted below in yellow).

After the slider is positioned correctly, you have two options, both which will hide the transparent green cut plane:
1) Use the Rotate / Orbit Tool to move the entire space and observe.
2) Rotate the cut plane around a single axis. To do this, first select either "X Rotation", "Y Rotation", or "Z Rotation" from the Section Cut Tools drop down menu. Then move the slide bar on the right of the screen to rotate the bounding box.

In the following image, the cut plane was rotated around the x-axis.

The ability to cut sections makes the point cloud viewer an important and powerful tool for grasping the 3D data collected during scanning, giving you the ability to manipulate point cloud data. With this tool, individual structures and sites become opportunities for exploration and learning.

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