Smart cities, 3D urban modeling, flood modeling, dike monitoring, forest mapping, and digital object preservation in history and art are all examples of the increased significance of point clouds for societal and scientific applications. Using laser scanning from airborne, mobile, or static platforms, dense image matching from photos, or multi-beam echo-sounding, has the potential to generate point clouds with billions (or even trillions) of elevation/depth points.
The Netherlands in 3D
In 2013 we started a collaboration with archaeologists to create a point cloud viewer of the Via Appia, an ancient paved road in Italy (read an interview with our team of eScience Research Engineers here).
More recently we have used the technology from this archaeological project to create a 3D point cloud of the Netherlands: the AHN2-webviewer. The webviewer uses the AHN2 dataset, which consists of no less than 640.000.000.000 height values.
Below you can view a video explaining how to use the webviewer, which can be accessed at ahn2.pointclouds.nl. Watch your neighborhood in 3D and start measuring away, enjoy!