Point Cloud XYZ (POINTCLOUDXYZ) Reader/Writer

The Point Cloud XYZ (POINTCLOUDXYZ) Reader/Writer allows FME to read and write point clouds from features into files in the xyz format.


XYZ files are ASCII database files, where each column in a row is delimited by some separator character. Each row represents a point within a point cloud.  Each column represents a point component for the point. The data from the Point Cloud XYZ file is read from or written to a point cloud geometry on an FME feature.

By convention, these files use the .xyz, .csv, or .txt filename extensions, but the Point Cloud XYZ reader and writer can use any extension.

Reader Overview

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

Writer Overview

The Point Cloud XYZ Writer writes a point cloud geometry to a XYZ file. Optionally, the point components of the cloud are also output.

The writer will write a gzipped file if the extension of the destination file ends with .gz.

About Point Clouds

A point cloud is a type of geometry that is useful for storing large amounts of data, typically gathered from LIDAR applications. The use of LIDAR allows for fast and accurate collection of data, such as for forestry canopy measurements, or landscape modeling.

Point cloud geometry allows for quick and efficient processing of a large collection of vertices in 3D space that represent the external surfaces of objects. Together, these vertices form a model which can be transformed, and visualized. Some operations of the point cloud geometry involve thinning, splitting, and combining to produce a more useable set of vertices. This is an example point cloud image:

Data Inspector screenshot that shows a point cloud image.

Associated with each vertex are a number of properties called components, which contain a value that describes the point.

These component values can be used to classify different sections of the collection of points contained in the point cloud geometry.

All components have a name and type. Possible component types are Real64, Real32, UInt64, UInt32, UInt16, UInt8, Int64, Int32, Int16, Int8, and String. Numeric components additionally may have a scale and offset factor; in such cases, the applied value of the component will be value x scale + offset. String components additionally may have an encoding.

While components may have any name, there are a few common components that exist in several formats. These components are described in the following table.

Component Name Description
x The x component of the geometry.
y The y component of the geometry.
z The z component of the geometry.

The magnitude of the intensity of the pulse return.

color_red The red image channel value of the object at the point.
color_green The green image channel value of the object at the point.
color_blue The blue image channel value of the object at the point.

The class of the point. Categorizes a point into fields, such as ground, building, water, etc.

Values correspond to the ASPRS LAS specification.

return The pulse return number for a given output pulse.

The total number of detected returns from a single pulse.

gps_time The number of seconds since the beginning of the week.
gps_week The week number, counting from January 6th, 1980.
angle The angle of the pulse that the point was scanned at.
flight_ line The flight line number the point was detected in.
flight_line_edge Specifies whether this point lies on the edge of the scan, along the flight line.
scan_ direction The direction in which a scanning mirror was directed when the point was detected.
point_source_id A value that indicates the source of the file, for example a file number.
posix_time Used to express the time, as the number of seconds elapsed since UTC January 1st, 1970.
user_data The user data value is for the user to use.

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