Thursday, March 23, 2017

LiDAR data coordinate readout in Cloud Compare

It is useful to obtain a readout of LiDAR data points in Cloud Compare, perhaps to determine the height value, or the intensity value of a LiDAR point. This post illustrates how to read out coordinate values in Cloud Compare.
  1. In Cloud Compare, load in a LAS file, e.g. Serpent Mound Model.las.

    The Global Shift/scale dialog box appears.

    Note: Real LiDAR data have large coordinate values requiring double data types, but most 3-D software like Cloud Compare works with coordinates in float data types internally. So in order to preserve the LiDAR coordinates in Cloud Compare, it may be necessary to apply some coordinate offset and/or scaling so that the LiDAR data points can fit into float data types. So when you load a LAS file in Cloud Compare, it will calculate and recommend an offset/scaling values before importing, as shown in the screen shot below.
  2. Click Yes.

    The LAS file is loaded; its data points are globally shifted and scaled.
  3. In the toolbar, click the Point picking icon.

    A point picking toolbar appears on the top right corner.
  4. By default, the first command (Select one point and displays its info) on the left is active. If not, click on it.
  5. Click on one LAS point.

    A balloon appears showing the X, Y, Z and a scalar value.

    Note: the xl, yl, zl on the left are local float data type coordinates. The xg, yg, zg on the right are the actual LiDAR data point vertices. The Point Source ID is the current scalar value.
If you want to get the read out to show another scalar field, you have to set the desired field before entering the Point Pick command, as described below.
  1. In the Tree pane, select the point cloud node, e.g. Serpent Mound Model.

    The Properties appear below the Tree pane.
  2. In the Scalar Fields | Active field, choose the desired field, e.g. Intensity.

    The point colors change to intensity values.
  3. Now, use the Point Pick command to readout a point.

    The readout balloon now shows the selected scalar field - Intensity.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Batch sample or convert videos to animated GIF files WebApp

I wrote a WebApp VidzGif for batch sampling or converting video files into animated GIF images that works with just a Web browser without uploading the videos to a server for processing.

To use this WebApp, do the following:

  1. Open up the WebApp at with a Web browser.

  2. Optional. Click Settings. Set the desired parameters, e.g. sample interval, duration, etc.
  3. Click the Browse button and select one or more video files. Or drag and drop one or more video files into the dashed box.

    The videos are sampled and rendered into GIFs.
  4. To save out the GIF, right click on the image and choose Save image as.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Interactive cross-section in Cloud Compare

After loading LiDAR point clouds in Cloud Compare, it helps sometimes to cut a cross section or profile to get a feel for the land. There is a couple of Segment commands but the one I use for this purpose is the Cross Section Tool with the graphic interactors.

The following steps show how to use the Cross Section Tool.
  1. Load a point cloud file, e.g. Serpent Mound Model LAS Data.las, into Cloud Compare.
  2. Select the cloud in the DB Tree pane.

  3. Select Tools | Segmentation | Cross Section.

    The graphic interactors (the large 3D arrows pointing to the X, Y, Z axes) and Cross Section box appear
  4. Drag a cone of an interactor to thin the cross section box.

  5. Drag the torus of an interactor to rotate the cross section box.

  6. Adjust the interactors and camera view until the desired orientation is achieved.

    Note: if you wish to segment out the cross section into another cloud, click the Tick icon on the Cross Section tool box. Otherwise, click the X icon to exit the command when done.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How to enable Cloud Compare's Fine Registration (ICP) command

For the longest time, I tried to align two point clouds with CloudCompare's Fine Align (ICP) command. But unfortunately, the command would not enable for me no matter what I did. I selected one cloud, two cloud (or so I thought). Neither reading the documentation nor watching the YouTube videos helped. The screenshot below showed the deactivated Fine Align command in the tool bar.

It turned out that proper selection is key. I was using the SHIFT key to select one cloud folder node and another cloud folder node, which selected folders, and clouds among other things.

  1. The proper way was to press down the CTRL key while clicking on only cloud nodes in the tree view pane, as shown in the screenshot below. Once two cloud nodes have been selected, the File Align icon in the toolbar will become enabled.

    The File Align icon is enabled.
  2. Click the Fine Align icon.

    The Clouds registration dialog box appears.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Clear Javascript, CSS, and HTML web cache in Chrome

When developing Javascript code for web pages, the Chrome browser caches the Javascript code including cascading style sheets and HTML files. Any changes made to the code may not be reflected when the page is refreshed. I found this frustrating. That is, until I discovered that Chrome has a way to clear its cache before reloading the web page.

To enable this, do the following:

  1. Select Options (the 3 vertical dots icon on the top right) | More Tools | Developer Tools.

    The Developer Tools pane appears.
  2. Now, do a mouse-right click on the Reload Page icon, as shown in the screenshot below.

    A popup menu appears.

  3. Choose Empty Cache and Hard Reload.

    The cache is cleared and any any changes made to the code is reflected in the reloaded page.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Show Myanmar Datum 2000 coordinates with this Mapplet

Myanmar uses a Universe Transverse Mercator projection at Zone 46 (with a Myanmar Datum 2000). For convenience, this mapplet has been written to display and locate Myanmar easting, northing coordinates on Google Maps. To show the coordinates of a location on the map, just click a point on the map, as shown in the screenshot below. A marker Info window will pop up displaying the Myanmar Datum 2000 easting and northing coordinates, as well as the Geographic latitude, and longitude values.

Try out this mapplet at this location

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tip to speed up the Android Studio project build compilation process

Android Studio builds Android projects with the default Gradle property settings. If you find the build process taking a long time and your computer has adequate memory, it is possible to tweak the settings to allocate more memory to the build process to reduce the compilation time.

In Android Studio, open up the top level file to change the settings, as shown below.

In the editor, locate the commented line with the string "org.gradle.jvmargs", and make a copy of it directly underneath; then remove the # character to un-comment it.

An example of an edited file is shown below.

# Project-wide Gradle settings.

# IDE (e.g. Android Studio) users:
# Gradle settings configured through the IDE *will override*
# any settings specified in this file.

# For more details on how to configure your build environment visit

# Specifies the JVM arguments used for the daemon process.
# The setting is particularly useful for tweaking memory settings.
# Default value: -Xmx10248m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m
# org.gradle.jvmargs=-Xmx2048m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8
org.gradle.jvmargs=-Xmx2048m -XX:MaxPermSize=512m -XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8

# When configured, Gradle will run in incubating parallel mode.
# This option should only be used with decoupled projects. More details, visit
# org.gradle.parallel=true

Now, the build process should complete faster.
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