What is point cloud cross section

A cross section is a horizontal cross-section through a 3D object/surface at a certain location. A cross section can be acquired with point cloud software by aligning the cross section plane to the desired vertical position and exposing it fully orthogonal to the direction towards it.

Point cloud cross sections are usually visualized as 2D planes or slices through 3D objects/surfaces that represents either the profile of an object’s surface (e.g. road cross section), or which intersects one or more contours representing topographical features (e.g. land cross section).

Given such representation, cross sections show how different features vary in space along one spatial dimension – typically depth – and thus, they enable for example

Why do you use cross sections

Point clouds cross sections can be used for many practical purposes, including but not limited to

3D visualization of cross sections in relation to 3D data (e.g. cross sections along roads that are visualized as cross sections through point clouds representing the road cross sections)

  • To extract topographical information like which parts of a building are elevated with respect to others (land cross section) or how the ground plane in the neighborhood is built up (road cross section) etc. etc.

Other applications can include landscape cross sections for vegetation management, groundwater flow modeling and development of surface models, soil mapping, geotechnical surveys, archaeological recordation and much more.  

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