Agisoft Metashape allows to generate and visualize a dense point cloud model. Based on the estimated camera positions the program calculates depth information for each camera to be combined into a single dense point cloud. Metashape tends to produce extra dense point clouds, which are of almost the same density, if not denser, as LiDAR point clouds. 


You can import LiDAR or photogrammetry point clouds obtained from external sources into Metashape project to be merged with the dense cloud generated in Metashape or even to substitute it. The workflow described in the article is suitable for the Professional version of the program. 


The workflow is as following: 

  • adding images to a project;
  • importing a LiDAR point cloud;
  • placing markers on a laser point cloud and images; 
  • align photos;
  • build Mesh using LiDAR point cloud (you can build dense cloud and merge dense cloud and LiDAR point cloud and using merging point cloud);
  • build texture using photos. 

Add Photos


1. To add photos select Add photos... or Add folder... command from the Workflow menu. 


2. In the Add Photos dialog browse the source folder and select files to be processed.



Import Point Cloud (LiDAR point cloud)


Metashape allows to import a point cloud to be interpreted at further processing stages as a dense point cloud. If you want to upload a dense point cloud got from some external source (photogrammetry technology, laser scanning, etc). Dense point cloud can be imported in one of the following formats: Wavefront OBJ, Stanford PLY, ASPRS LAS, LAZ, ASTM E57, ASCII PTS. 


To import Dense Point Cloud: 


1. Select Import Point command from the File menu. 


2. In the Import Points dialog browse to a file in one of the supported formats.


3. Click Open button.


4. Select Coordinate System and Shift in Import Points dialog window. 



5. Click the OK button to start the import. 


6. The progress dialog box will appear displaying the current processing status. To cancel processing click Cancel button.

Placing markers on a LiDAR point cloud and images


1. Place markers on a LiDAR point cloud (using Add Markers command from the context menu).  We recommend using as many markers as possible for a more accurate result. If you have a GCPs you can using them. 



2. Place markers on the photos.



3. Click button Update on the Preference pane (need all the markers to be check in Reference pane). 



Align Photos 


1. Select Align Photos... command from the Workflow menu. 


2. In the Align Photos... dialog window select the desired alignment options. 



3. Click the OK button. The progress dialog box will appear displaying the current processing status. To cancel the processing click the Cancel button. 


4. Alignment having been completed, computed camera positions, and a sparse point cloud will be displayed in the Model view.


Build Mesh (using LiDAR point cloud) 


1. Select Build Mesh command from the Workflow menu. Set the Dense cloud in the Build Mesh dialog:



2. Click OK button to start building geometry. 



Build Texture (using photos)


1. Select Build Texture command from the Workflow menu. Set the Source data - Images in the Build Texture dialog:



2. Click OK button to start building texture.