Point cloud and QGIS 3D improvements - progress report 1

MARCH 15, 2022 crowdfunding qgis

This is a part of series of blog posts to update QGIS community with the outcome of the funding we had raised during late 2021 to improve elevation and point clouds in collaboration with North Road and Hobu. For other updates see part 2 and part 3.

A big thanks!

This work was made possible with generous donations and support by the individuals and organisations below (not in a particular order):

Stuart Smith, BayesMap Solutions, Tibor Lieskovský, Balanced Risk Strategies, Yoichi Kayama, Basel Land Registry and Surveying Office (GVA), Rudaz + Partner, Jakub Fuska, Richard Barnes, Spatial Thoughts, Hans van der Kwast, António Pestana, Richard Lorion, Eagle Resources, Suresh Muthukrishnan, 12P Consulting, Alta, JCIS Consultants, Brenna Hughes, Amt für Geoinformation Basel-Landschaft, Darren Farmer, F.A.R.M. Facilitazioni Agroecologiche Regionali Mobili, Ali Nayeri, Land Vorarlberg, Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation, QGIS User Group Switzerland, Robert Thunen, Twomile Heavy Industries, Inc., Roberto Moyano, Jens Grehl, Pēteris Daknis, Rob Willson (Ecophylla Consulting), Daniel Löwenborg, Ville de Vevey, Alfredo Toledo (Suriyaco), QTIBIA Engineering, Ian Burrows (FAS), Pascal Obstetar, Lidar Guys, Mapping Automation, LLC, Featherstone Survey and Civil, Peter Schmitz, Fernando Michel Tuesta Chichipe, Hugo Sørensen, Bernie Connors, Watershed Research and Training Center, MBS Environmental, Andreas Neumann, Adrian Matter, Mapfly, Enso, João Gaspar, Eric van Dijk, City of Uster, Switzerland, QGIS Usergroup Denmark, STAEREA, Ostschweizerische Gesellschaft für Höhlenforschung, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria), IGN FI, Travis Flohr, Amt für Wald beider Basel, Matthew Bodnar, Surface libre, OSGeo:UK, National Land Survey of Finland,Natural Resources Canada, Fonds Brukhalter, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Höllochforachung AGH, gis experts, BNHR, Rogue Geoscience Ltd., USACE CRREL and Ian Huitson.

In addition to the list above, we thank several anonymous donors who chose not to be listed.

If you have made a donation towards this work and your name or your organisation name does not appear here, please contact us (info@lutraconsulting.co.uk).

3D view manager

Previously, if you closed a project with a 3D map view, the 3D map view and all its settings were lost when you reopen that project. So in QGIS 3.24 we’ve added a “3D map view manager” that takes care of listing, removing, renaming and duplicating 3D map views in your projects! We’ve also added a new “3D Map Views” menu, which contains all your created 3D map views for easy access.

To summarise, these are the advantages of this new feature:

  • Saving 3D map views within QGIS project (similar to other settings) and being able to retrieve the 3D view after closing (either the view or the project)
  • 3D map view manager: which allows you to duplicate, rename and delete 3D map views

3D Map Views Manager

Dock/undock 3D views

3D map canvas panel was difficult to move, resize and often resulting in unwanted docking. With QGIS 3.24 we added the ability to switch 3D maps from a dockable widget to a top-level window (and back to a dock widget), so that these map views can now be managed, resized and moved just like a standard application window. In addition, you can now use 3D map view in full screen mode.

Docking and undocking 3D view

Respect Z ordering of point clouds in 2D

We’ve added an option to render point clouds according to their Z-order in 2D map views. With the new bottom-to-top ordering option enabled, points with larger Z values will cover lower points – resulting in the appearance of a true orthographic photo. There’s also an option for reverse sorting (top-to-bottom), where the scene appears as if viewed from below. This feature is available in QGIS 3.24

The image below displays the default Z ordering of a LAS file when loaded in QGIS:

Default Z ordering

The same layer with the ordering of Z switched to bottom-to-top:

Z ordering bottom to top

Visualisation of point cloud as solid surfaces

With this feature you can render point cloud layer in the 3D view as solid surfaces generated by triangulation. The triangulation is available for all the 3D point cloud renderers: unique color, ramp color, classification and RGB. This feature will be available in QGIS 3.26 and you can try it in the current QGIS nightly/master.

Triangle rendering of point clouds

Posted by Saber Razmjooei