Geo Week News

September 1, 2021

Dedicated point cloud processing software finally comes to macOS

If you go searching for it, point cloud visualization software for macOS is easy to come by - but point cloud processing is another story.

While there is already at least one open source tool available with support for macOS (3D point cloud and mesh processing software, CloudCompare), dedicated mac-friendly software remains hard to find. Now, PointCab, a developer of point cloud processing and visualization software, has, according to the company, released the first commercial software for macOS. 

Tested successfully on macOS Big Sur 11, Catalina 10.15, and Mojave 10.14, PointCab’s point cloud processing software, Origins, can read all open laser scanning formats and its results are compatible with all prevalent CAD software, just like the Windows version can. However, since macOS support is still lacking from hardware and software providers, PointCab Origins may not be able to read some native formats. To solve that, PointCab is already reaching out to other manufacturers to make their format SDKs available, including RIEGL which was one of the first to respond and is currently in contact with PointCab developers. 

“It seems like the compatibility with macOS is in the back of everyone's minds but since most other players in the industry rely on Windows it never makes top priority,” said PointCab co-founder and CEO Dr. Richard Steffen.

“Honestly, it was very much the same for us and if we hadn't released our Windows 4.0 version, we still might not have a macOS version. As a software provider that relies on compatibility with other manufacturers, it's a gamble to put our resources towards a less prevalent operating system. Only the future can tell if we've made the right bet covering this niche market. So far, we've received a lot of interest, especially from CAD users that work on macOS. We hope that us making the first move as a commercial provider will inspire others to do the same." 

Earlier this year, PointCab completely re-branded and restructured its entire company and portfolio with Origins 4.0, resulting in the new software packages “Origins” and “Origins Pro”. The new packages introduced a clean design and improved usability, faster calculations and better handling of tools, smarter workflow for CAD users, as well as improved registration and user-friendly compatibility. Although they’re already 5 years old and pre-Origins 4.0, our hands-on articles (Part 1 and Part 2) should give you an idea of what is possible to do with PointCab’s software.

“We've seen CloudCompare doing a great job with their open-source software for macOS and expected commercial hardware and software manufacturers to follow soon,” Steffen added. “Since our software is known for its great inter-compatibility, we hoped for other manufacturers to take the lead and then port their format SDK to macOS. After we renewed the whole structure of our software with our Origins 4.0 version, we thought there's no better time to work on a macOS version. We finally decided to take matters into our own hands and not to wait around anymore.”

Currently, PointCab doesn’t require high-performance hardware components to run smoothly and works on any Apple computer with an Intel-based processor (x64), including a Mini Mac with 8GB RAM only. In future updates, PointCab will add compatibility for the latest Apple M1 ARM-based Chip.

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