Point Clouds as a Fundamental Data Type

Greg Bentley, CEO at Bentley Systems was one of the first in the AEC software business to embrace the importance of 3D laser scanning. A long time friend of mine, Dave Dadoly who is a VP at Bentley encouraged me to take a look at laser scanning 10 years ago. It took another 5 years for me to heed his advice.

As Geoff Jacobs points out in a recent “Industry Pioneers” column in the LiDAR News Magazine Bentley was the first CAD vendor to offer point cloud support in 2003! CloudWorx for Microstation has been around for quite awhile as well.

Bentley’s interest grew when they licensed the Pointools engine 4 or 5 years ago and then when they wanted to support point clouds as a fundamental data type they acquired Pointools a year ago. I guess it should not come as a surprise that they are well down the path of integrating point cloud support into their design workflows.

In yesterdays presentation by Faraz Ravi, former Pointools CEO at Bentley’s Be Inspired awards conference he pointed out the “context” value that point clouds provide and is often taken for granted. Point clouds are now also a supported data type in MicroStation i-models, something like TruView, but I think the most important part of the point cloud support that Bentley is developing is in their project data management system ProjectWise. This is an industrial strength, enterprise scale technology. The major companies and DOTs are going to find real value in this.

I noticed Greg Bentley was in the front row and he was taking notes.


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