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Terrain Point Clouds Archicad Import with CoudCompare

Point clouds have become increasingly important in architecture as they allow for accurate and detailed 3D representations of real-world objects and environments. This technology can be used to capture and digitize the physical world, providing architects with the ability to create more precise and informed designs. Point clouds can be created through a variety of methods, such as LIDAR scanning, photogrammetry, or laser scanning.

In Archicad, you can open and convert .xyz and .e57 file formats into objects that are suitable for placement on either the Floor Plan or in the 3D window.

Point Cloud files have versatile applications in various workflows, such as modeling the surrounding environment or terrain. While the standard import method is covered in the article "Importing Point Clouds and Modeling the Terrain," we would like to introduce you to an additional option using CloudCompare based on Miguel Castro Perez's notes.

If you want to find topography data, we recommend using OpenTopography.

About CloudCompare

System: Win, MAC, Linux

Price: Free for any purpose

CloudCompare is an open source, third-party software that is capable of processing 3D point clouds. For any question, bug report or suggestion, first check the forum or Github Issues.

1. Optimize your point clouds file in CloudCompare

Open your file in CloudCompare. You can optimize the size/quantity and the quality of your Point Cloud, before importing it into Archicad.

  • Click App / Edit / Sub Sampling. Reduce number of points if necessary.

  • Save the point cloud as XYZ.

2. Edit your data in Excel

  • Open the xyz file in Excel.

  • Delete R G B N values.

  • Add the "x y z" column names and delete "//X Y Z R G B N" row.

  • Leave the X on 1A, and Save the files as txt.

  • Open the file and verify that the comma used in your OS is correct. If is incorrect change it. Save the file as txt.

3. Import to Archicad

Open Archicad and import file File / Interoperability / Place Mesh from Surveyors Data.

That's it!



Archicad offers a variety of import options, and this particular import is just one of them. If you're looking to work with point clouds and create terrain, you can also consider using the PointCab or LAND4 add-ons. For additional useful links, please refer to:

👉 Find Find Topography Data:

👉 Read more about PointCab add-on:

👉 Read more about LAND4 add-on: 👉 Read more about standard Point Clouds Import:

👉 Read more about Troubleshooting:

👉 Read more about other Import/Export File Formats in Archicad:

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