Construction professionals and civil contractors use 3D models for a variety of tasks before and during construction, including layout planning and machine control. Though you can use many methods to generate a model, point cloud modeling stands out due to its accuracy and speed.

A point cloud is a set of data points arranged in three dimensions. To generate a point cloud, surveyors use 3D laser scanning technology that measures a high number of surface points in range. After the whole site has been scanned and you have data corresponding to every surface in the area, the points can come together to form a representation of the original.

The problem many professionals face is what to do after the point cloud is generated. Though you can inspect the point cloud directly, this type of data proves impractical for many construction applications. To use the data you gather, you need to convert it into a model usable in CAD. At Take-Off Professionals (TOPS), we perform point cloud services and mesh conversions, so you can easily get the data you need processed.


Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) uses remote sensing technology to collect data about distances, topographical and geographical features, and infrastructure. It emits laser pulses and measures the time it takes for a pulse to reflect off surfaces and return to the LIDAR sensor. The LIDAR system then analyzes the returned laser pulses to create a high-resolution 3D model of the surrounding terrain and objects.


LIDAR data prep involves various steps to generate actionable insights. Some processing steps include:

  • Filtering and cleaning: LIDAR data can be noisy, so it is essential to crop out erroneous or unnecessary points to improve accuracy and clarity.
  • Labeling and classifying: Organizing data points based on attributes will enhance detection and segmentation.
  • Generating DEMs and DSMs: Clean, classified data enables you to create digital elevation models (DEMs) and digital surface models (DSMs) that reveal elevation, terrain and objects.


LIDAR 3D modeling can be used in every project stage, from planning and design to construction. It assists with various applications around the job site, providing precise maps and detailed simulations quickly and efficiently. With accurate surveys from the start of a project, you can enhance safety, discover maintenance and repair needs, evaluate ground features and textures, and determine areas that need leveling or altering.

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Once you’ve collected point cloud data for your worksite, you need to digitally compile it and give it a mesh form, essentially filling in the space between the points so that they produce a solid, realistic surface. Only then can you export the model to CAD. This process is often called surface reconstruction.

To help civil clients with point cloud modeling, TOPS offers point cloud to CAD services and point cloud mesh conversions. We’ll take your raw point cloud data and turn it into an accurate 3D model in your preferred format. Our point cloud services can help you model pre-job topographies, progress takeoffs and as-builts. We also offer personalized point cloud processing services. If you let us know what you need out of your point cloud model, we’ll take care of the details.

Why We Are The Right Partner

At TOPS, our team of licensed engineers, surveyors and 3D technicians spend their time exclusively dedicated to data processing, which gives us the ability to generate accurate point cloud models quickly, so you can get the information you need sooner. By using the process we’ve refined over more than 20 years of operation, we can deliver results for projects of all sizes.

We are a leader in the point cloud modeling industry, providing accurate models and excellent customer service.

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