Markets Technology

Shape Extraction from Point Clouds in AutoCAD

Autodesk Labs has recently announced the availability of a new “Point Cloud Shape Extraction Plug-in for AutoCAD”. This is a potentially very important development, particularly if Autodesk has been able to solve some of the difficult problems that surround this critically important issue.

My son and I were discussing this very topic with Jarlath O’Neill Dunne from the University of Vermont and the Spatial Analysis Lab today over lunch. Jarlath has done a lot of thinking and hands on research into automated feature extraction, as have many others including the US military. This is the “search for the Holy Grail”.

If Autodesk has something new and exciting it certainly has the potential to be a game changer for the laser scanning industry. Kudos to all involved and please let me know what you think of the software.


  • This is not really feature extraction, its simple primitive fitting and section line extraction. A bit dissapointing, this stuff has been around for a while now, nothing new here.

  • Automatic point clouds modeling and general objects extraction is still a great challenge however, AutoCAD 2011 with its 3D loft (section) tools works great with cloudworx (Leica) in generating non primitive objects from points cloud. It is not automatic yet highly effective.

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