In Metashape Professional 2.0.0 both structured terrestrial laser scans and unstructured aerial laser scans can be imported using Import Point Cloud (select File > Import > Import Point Cloud) command. All point attributes including structured information are now preserved while importing. 


In this article the following topics are discussed:


How to import laser scans data into project?


To import laser scans data into Metashape 2.0 project its is required to import the point cloud via File > Import > Import Point Cloud and then specify that this point cloud to be used as laser scans data.


You can add several point clouds at the same time. Select all point clouds from the folder with laser scans data that you want to import.


In the Import Point Cloud dialog window specify parameters for import:



In case several point clouds were selected, the parameters will be applied to all point clouds that you want to import.

In the Import Points dialog window specify Direction (Generic, Origin, Trajectory file) and a value for Local surface neighbors for the following formats: ASTM E57 (*.e57), ASCII PTS (*.pts, *.pts.gz ), PTX (*.ptx). 


If the point cloud was recorded in a structured form, then the Direction - Origin parameter should be used.
If the point cloud was obtained in an unstructured form, then use Direction - Generic.


In order to determine the normal of a point in a point cloud, Metashape approximates the local surface of the model with a plane.


The direction of the plane is determined by the nearby neighbors of a given point. The number of nearby points to consider is determined by Local surface neighbors parameter. If the cloud is very noisy, 28 default neighbors may not be enough to confidently determine the normals. For such point clouds, it is worth increasing the Local surface neighbors value to 100. Increasing the number of neighbors will slow down the calculation, smooth out the normals at the corners, but will help to avoid noise. In some cases, increasing the number of neighbors can help avoiding large inverted plots.


The imported laser scans data is displayed as point clouds in the Workspace pane and in the Model view:




In the Model view there are 2 Regions visible around the point cloud. The red color indicates the Point cloud Bounding box. The green color indicates general bounding box for this chunk. You can disable bounding box for chunk, select Model > Show/Hide Items > Show Region.


To display the position of the scanner during shooting,  you need to enable Show Cameras button on the Toolbar:



Select all laser scans on the Workspace pane and choose Use as Laser Scan from the Point Clouds context menu:



The point cloud and spherical panoramas with depth maps information (captured by the laser scanner) are also accessible on the Workspace pane:



For display only one point clod in the Model view select Set Active command from the laser scan context menu:




If a point cloud is assigned to be used as Laser scans, then it can be displayed in Model view by using Show Laser Scans data Toolbar button. Depending on the information recorded in the laser scan data, the cloud can be displayed as various modes: Solid View, Colors View, Classes View, Intensity View, Elevation View, Return View, Scan Angle View, Source ID View, Confidence View. 





Processing only terrestrial laser scans



If laser scans were not aligned in third-party software before importing, then alignment can be performed in Metashape. 


Select Workflow > Align photos command. In the Align Photos dialog window specify the preferable parameters. The basic parameters can be used, just as in the case of regular image alignment, the major difference is that it is important to enable Reset current alignment option:



You can also reset alignment with the Reset Alignment command from the Laser Scans context menu. 








Processing terrestrial laser scans and images


If you have aligned the laser scans in a third-party product before importing laser scans into Metashape, then you need to merge laser scans in one group and fix the group to preserve the alignment during the bundle adjustment step. 


Select all laser scans on the Workspace pane and choose Move Laser Scans > New Laser Scan group. Then in  the Group context menu select Set Group Type > Fixed: 



Then add photos into project (select Workflow > Add Photos or Add Folder command): 



You need to reset alignment for laser scans group. Select Reset Alignment command from the Group context menu. The external orientation of the laser scans will be reset, while the alignment of the laser scans within the group will be saved. If reset for external alignment is not performed - the laser scans group is not used by the algorithm during alignment with the images.



Select Workflow > Align Photos to align images with laser scans: 




The result of the combined alignment of the laser scans and images will be displayed in the Model view:





Markers can also be used for alignment. Markers are shown as white flags in Model view. If the position of a marker for each laser scan is specified, the flag becomes green. In all other cases (i.e. if the positions of the markers is only specified on the images) the flag remains white: