PCD (Point Cloud Data) Reader/Writer

Licensing options for this format begin with FME Desktop Professional Edition.

The PCD (Point Cloud Data) Reader/Writer allows FME to read and write point clouds from features into files in the Point Cloud Library’s (PCL) native file format.

This allows workflows to be created that use the PCD Writer and Reader to create intermediate point clouds that can be operated on by various PCL tools to perform functions such as segmentation and surface extraction, and then read the result data back into FME and perform other work.

PCL is optimized to use the PCD format internally – when working with PCL, users might want to use PCD as an intermediate format.


PCD files contain two sections:

  • a human-readable header that defines the number, size, dimensionality and data type of the point cloud;
  • a data section which can be in ASCII or a binary, non-human-readable format.

PCD supports only numeric components. The data from the PCD file is read from or written to a point cloud geometry on an FME feature. These files use the .pcd file extension.

Reader Overview

FME considers a single PCD file to be a dataset. Each dataset contains a single FME point cloud feature.

Writer Overview

The PCD Writer writes a point cloud geometry to a PCD file. Each point cloud feature will be written to a single PCD file.

Since PCD cannot store string type components, they must be stripped from the incoming point cloud geometries. Any non-point cloud geometry sent to the writer will be rejected.

FME Community

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