Point Cloud Domain Working Group


The OGC Point Cloud DWG is motivated by the fast growing popularity and use of point cloud technology. This includes a number of formats and types such as: laser scans from aerial and terrestrial platforms (e.g., LiDAR), triangulated elevation points, and dense observations from the meteorological community.

Project Scope

The establishment of the Point Cloud Domain Working Group (DWG) aims to bridge the existing gap in the OGC standards framework concerning point cloud data management and utilization. While the DWG will not directly craft new standards, it is designated as the central forum for the exploration and comprehension of challenges, issues, and obstacles related to interoperability within the point cloud data community. This platform will facilitate discussions to identify and understand the nuances of point cloud data integration and usage, thereby contributing to the broader goal of enhancing interoperability and effectiveness of point cloud data across various applications and systems.


Within the OGC, numerous Working Groups convene to deliberate on a wide range of topics, including services, domain-specific concerns, and various data formats. Despite this extensive coverage, point cloud data has not received the focused attention it warrants, often being grouped with images or terrain data. Yet, the application of point cloud data is expanding swiftly across multiple sectors such as utilities, mining, and 3D modeling, evidencing its growing importance. This type of data is stored in a plethora of formats, with some achieving the status of de facto standards across different fields, including Multi-dimensional Scientific data, LiDAR, Elevation, Seismic, Bathymetric, Meteorological data, and data from Fixed/Mobile consumer sensors (IoT). The diversity in point cloud data usage, coupled with a lack of standardization, has led to the proliferation of various data formats, prompting OGC members to raise concerns about the ongoing divergence within the community and the potential hindrance to interoperability.

A case in point is LiDAR data, predominantly exchanged using the ASPRS standard LAS format. However, the utilization of LAS data for analysis or display necessitates processes like indexing, optimization, and/or compression, for which a range of methods exists, from vendor-specific schemes to commercial and open-source tools. Additionally, more advanced LiDAR encoding formats, such as the Sensor Independent Point Cloud (SIPC) based on HDF5, are being developed within specialized communities. While OGC members are not necessarily advocating for a unified point cloud encoding standard, there is a clear interest in enhancing interoperability among point cloud datasets. The goal is to identify strategies that allow these datasets to seamlessly integrate with and operate alongside other OGC standards, thereby promoting a more cohesive and interoperable data landscape.


The Point Cloud Domain Working Group (DWG) is dedicated to advancing the management, interoperability, and standardization of point cloud data within the OGC framework. Its activities include evaluating various point cloud encoding and optimization formats to understand their strengths and weaknesses, exploring OGC services that could standardize the dissemination of point cloud data, and developing best practices for its management, processing, and sharing. Additionally, the DWG aims to identify areas in need of standardization and spearhead the formation of Standards Working Groups (SWGs) to address any identified gaps in the OGC standards baseline.


The Point Cloud DWG will work closely with other OGC Working Groups as well as external stakeholders.


Working Group Chairs: Jan Boehm (University College London), Stan Tillman (Hexagon), Peter van Oosterom (Delft University of Technology)


Geospatial, LiDAR

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