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How to Process Data in Pix4Dcloud

Last updated on

February 5, 2024


    In the ever-evolving landscape of drone data capture, the ability to swiftly and accurately process data can significantly enhance operational efficiency, reduce risk, and ensure the seamless cooperation between departments. For professionals navigating this complex terrain, Pix4Dcloud emerges as a beacon of innovation, offering a streamlined solution for processing and analysing drone-captured data. This article dives into the steps of data processing within Pix4Dcloud, tailored specifically for those in the asset inspection industry. And for those eager to explore the capabilities of Pix4Dcloud first-hand, a 15-day free trial awaits, ready to transform your approach to project management and execution.

    Step 1: Accessing Pix4Dcloud

    Accessing Pix4Dcloud is a straightforward process that exemplifies the convenience of cloud-based platforms. Users can reach Pix4Dcloud via any internet browser, such as Google Chrome, by simply entering the URL and logging in. Once logged in, you’re presented with a user-specific page that provides access to all of your projects. This universal access means that regardless of the computer or device you’re using, whether it’s a standard laptop or a mobile phone, you can configure, process, and analyse your data without the need for high-end hardware.

    The cloud-hosted nature of Pix4Dcloud removes the dependency on powerful PCs to run complex models. This advantage is particularly beneficial for those in the field or individuals who work across multiple devices, ensuring that processing power is no barrier to accessing and working with their data. It’s a cost-effective solution that lowers the entry barrier, making advanced photogrammetry and data processing available to a wider range of users without compromising on the ability to deliver leading reports and analytics.

    Step 2: Creating a project

    To obtain deliverables from Pix4Dcloud, start by creating a new project. This begins with selecting “New” and then “New Dataset.” Name your project and proceed. The next step is to upload and process images. You can select images by dragging and dropping them directly into the platform.

    After uploading, you move to the processing stage. Here, you choose the coordinate system (For the UK: Horizontal – OSGB36 / British National Grid, Vertical – ODN height). With settings configured, clicking “Next” initiates the processing phase. Pix4Dcloud then processes the images to generate the desired outputs, leveraging its cloud-based processing power to efficiently transform your raw data into valuable project insights.

    Step 3: Viewing Your Outputs

    After processing your images in Pix4Dcloud, the system automatically generates various outputs: the point cloud, mesh, ortho-photo, and Digital Surface Model (DSM). This automatic phase simplifies the transition from raw data to actionable insights. For instance, viewing the point cloud reveals the detailed landscape captured by your drone, showcasing the precision of data collection.

    Activating the mesh displays the triangulated 3D model of the area, such as a quarry in the example shown below, allowing you to explore the terrain in three dimensions. Switching to the 2D view provides a comprehensive overview of all geo-referenced outputs against the backdrop of a base map, enhancing the understanding of the ortho-photo’s detail level.

    The DSM further enriches analysis by illustrating elevation variations with colour differentiation based on the sun’s angle and the area’s elevation. This feature enables focused analysis, allowing you to isolate specific areas for detailed examination.

    Pix4Dcloud‘s interface facilitates easy navigation between these outputs, ensuring that importing images and generating detailed outputs like the DSM, orthomosaic, 3D textured mesh, and point cloud is straightforward. This step is crucial for professionals, offering a comprehensive view of the project terrain and enabling precise analysis and decision-making.

    Step 4: Taking Measurements

    Pix4Dcloud enables users to extract meaningful information from datasets, whether collected via drone or through Pix4Dcatch on a smartphone. By transitioning to the 3D view, you open up a realm of possibilities for data analysis. A fundamental capability of Pix4Dcloud is its measurement tool, which allows for precise assessments directly within your dataset.

    On the interface, you can organise your measurements into annotation groups for better management. Within this group, you can begin taking measurements such as drawing a line between two points to determine the 2D and 3D lengths, as well as the elevation difference between them. This feature is particularly useful for assessing elevation offsets across varying terrain, like the top and bottom of a quarry.

    Moreover, Pix4Dcloud offers volume calculation capabilities. By simply outlining the area of interest and validating it, you can calculate the volume within a few clicks. This tool not only provides the volume but also detailed information like the 3D area, cut and fill volumes, enabling comprehensive analysis of the project site.

    These measurement tools in Pix4Dcloud are invaluable, providing the ability to take accurate measurements and perform volume calculations directly from the 3D models. This facilitates a deeper understanding of the project area, enhancing the reliability and efficiency of project outcomes.

    Step 5: Generating Reports

    Pix4Dcloud doesn’t just stop at data processing and analysis; it extends its functionality to sharing and reporting, encapsulating the essence of collaboration and communication. After taking measurements and performing volume calculations, Pix4Dcloud allows users to compile this extracted information into comprehensive annotation reports. Initiating the creation of a report is straightforward: with a click, the platform begins to aggregate all the annotations, measurements, and volume calculations you’ve performed into a neatly organised document.

    The generated report is instantly available, featuring all the annotated measurements, detailed volume calculations, and marked points within the model. A particularly valuable addition is the inclusion of screenshots for each measurement or annotation made. These visual references not only enhance the report’s clarity but also serve as a powerful tool for validating claims, presenting a visual confirmation of the data presented.

    This capability to generate detailed reports in Pix4Dcloud is a testament to the platform’s commitment to not just data processing, but also to ensuring that the insights derived can be effectively communicated to clients or stakeholders. Whether it’s to corroborate findings, share insights with team members, or present conclusive evidence to clients, these reports serve as a pivotal tool in the asset inspection process, reinforcing the reliability and accuracy of the data analysed.

    Step 6: Inspecting Assets

    Asset inspection within Pix4Dcloud showcases the platform’s versatility and depth, particularly when handling datasets collected via smartphone using Pix4Dcatch or drone technology. An example highlighted is the monitoring of a trench, where the primary goal is to assess its current status. Pix4Dcloud facilitates not just the annotation, measurement, and volume calculation on the point cloud generated but introduces a pivotal feature for asset inspection: the ‘Inspect’ tool.

    This tool significantly enhances the inspection process by allowing users to click on a specific area within the 3D model. Pix4Dcloud then retrieves and displays the original image corresponding to that area, enabling a thorough visual inspection. This method proves invaluable for identifying details that might be more discernible in images than in the point cloud or 3D model alone. By offering the ability to switch between the point cloud, 3D model, and actual field images, the platform provides a comprehensive set of data sources for in-depth asset analysis.

    Moreover, Pix4Dcloud‘s functionality extends to organising this wealth of information into customisable groups, improving data management and presentation. Users can selectively view or hide different annotations, streamlining the inspection process according to specific needs. Transitioning to a 2D view for further measurements on the ortho-photo is also seamlessly supported, ensuring that every aspect of the site can be meticulously examined.

    The culmination of these processes is the capability to compile all observations, measurements, and visual inspections into a final report. This organised document not only serves as a detailed record of the inspection but also as a communicative tool to share findings with stakeholders, enhancing cooperation and decision-making in asset management projects.

    Step 7: Monitoring Site Progress

    Pix4Dcloud introduces a transformative approach to monitoring site progress through its “compare” feature, facilitating a dynamic assessment of changes over time. It allows you to select these datasets and employ its comparison tool to visually discern the site’s evolution not just in 2D, but also in a remarkable 3D view.

    This capability shines in tracking developments such as the extraction of material from a site, offering a clear before-and-after perspective. The fact that both datasets align within the same coordinate system, thanks to the use of Ground Control Points (GCPs), ensures precise overlay and analysis, highlighting even subtle changes in the site’s status.

    Furthermore, the ability to generate and share progress reports directly through the platform, significantly reduces the necessity for on-site personnel visits. By providing detailed, timestamped visual evidence of site conditions, stakeholders can redirect their efforts towards other critical tasks, minimising travel and onsite time. This efficiency not only accelerates decision-making processes but also supports the overarching goal of Pix4Dcloud: to streamline project management and communication among stakeholders, ensuring that decisions are made swiftly and based on the most accurate, up-to-date information available.

    Comparing Progress to Design Photos:

    Pix4Dcloud extends its functionality beyond mere temporal comparisons, enabling users to juxtapose actual site data against predefined design plans. This feature is particularly useful in construction and engineering projects, where aligning with design specifications is critical. After exiting the comparison view, users can activate the design overlay option to integrate Building Information Modeling (BIM) data directly into their workspace.

    By importing the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file—the standard format for BIM—Pix4Dcloud users can conduct a side-by-side analysis of the current site condition against the project’s architectural or engineering designs. This direct comparison facilitates a comprehensive visual inspection, allowing stakeholders to assess whether the actual construction or site modifications adhere to the planned designs.

    Moreover, Pix4Dcloud‘s capability isn’t limited to visual inspections. The platform also allows for precise measurements within this comparative view, enabling users to measure distances between specific points in the design and their counterparts in the point cloud or 3D model. Whether verifying the placement of a column in relation to another building or ensuring that infrastructure aligns with its intended design, it provides the tools necessary for rigorous, detailed analysis.

    This advanced comparison feature not only aids in identifying deviations from the design but also enhances collaborative decision-making by providing a clear, visual representation of how closely the real-world construction matches the blueprints. This ensures that project teams can make informed adjustments as needed, maintaining fidelity to the original design intentions and minimising the risk of costly rework.

    Step 8: Sharing Information:

    Pix4Dcloud offers a comprehensive suite of options for disseminating the processed data from your projects. After using your drone or smartphone to capture and process data, which includes taking measurements, calculating volumes, and comparing datasets from different days, sharing this wealth of information becomes crucial.

    While traditional export options are available, allowing you to download the point cloud in LAS format or the mesh in OBJ format, along with DSM and orthomosaic in GeoTIFF, Pix4Dcloud provides a more streamlined method for sharing. This method does not require recipients to install software or even have a user account. By navigating to the ‘Share’ option located in the upper right corner of the project’s interface, you can generate a link to your project. This link can then be sent to stakeholders, granting them instant access to the data via any internet browser.

    What sets this platform apart is that even without a subscription, recipients of these links have access to the same robust tools as the primary user. This means that clients can independently conduct their analysis, further interrogating the data as needed. As the project’s owner, you maintain full control over this access, with the ability to disable it at any time. Moreover, you can decide the level of interaction allowed through these links. The first link permits viewing without the ability to annotate, while the second link allows clients to save their annotations, engaging more deeply with the shared data.

    This level of accessibility and control underscores Pix4Dcloud‘s utility as a collaborative platform, simplifying the sharing process while empowering stakeholders with the tools they need to make informed decisions based on the shared data.

    Step 9: Accuracy Reporting

    Ensuring the accuracy of data captured during drone operations is a pivotal concern in asset inspection, one that Pix4Dcloud addresses with its quality report feature. Upon processing drone-captured data, Pix4Dcloud automatically generates a comprehensive quality report, detailing various processing options and statistical parameters that assess the precision of the measurements taken.

    This report includes a summary section and in-depth analysis of both internal consistency and absolute accuracy, crucial for validating the integrity of the data. The use of Ground Control Points (GCPs) within Pix4Dcloud further enhances accuracy, anchoring the project data to known coordinates on the ground and refining the overall fidelity of the model.

    In instances where a client may question the accuracy of the model, this quality report serves as empirical evidence, affirming that the measurements fall within a specified tolerance range—often as tight as 20-40mm. This level of detail and transparency provides clients with confidence in the project’s data and reinforces the reliability of the deliverables. It’s this control and clarity that makes Pix4Dcloud a trusted partner in sharing and communicating project information with all stakeholders involved.

    Pix4D Ecosystem

    Pix4D’s ecosystem extends far beyond the cloud, providing a suite of software solutions engineered to bolster operational efficiency throughout the entire workflow of data capture, processing, and interpretation. While today’s focus is on Pix4Dcloud, it’s worth highlighting that this platform is just one element of a broader system designed to support and enhance your workflow comprehensively.

    Integration is a key aspect of this ecosystem, particularly with Pix4Dmatic, the robust desktop counterpart to Pix4Dcloud. Users can effortlessly transition between creating models on the desktop and sharing them via the cloud, enabling clients to analyse data without needing to invest in their own software licenses. This seamless connectivity ensures that models created in Pix4Dmatic can be directly uploaded to Pix4Dcloud, simplifying client interactions by providing accessible links for data interrogation.

    Additionally, Pix4D offers Pix4Dsurvey for those venturing into the world of CAD. This bridges the gap for professionals new to CAD or those transitioning from other platforms, offering a gateway to produce CAD-ready deliverables. The ecosystem’s compatibility doesn’t end there; it ensures that data can be exported smoothly into leading CAD software like AutoCAD, making Pix4D a versatile and powerful ally for anyone looking to harness the full potential of photogrammetry in their projects.

    Enhancing Your Operational Efficiency

    By harnessing the power of Pix4Dcloud, you can not only improve the reliability of their data but also foster better cooperation between departments, accelerate project timelines, and significantly reduce organisational risk and waste. The platform’s intuitive design and comprehensive features empower users to achieve a level of efficiency and accuracy previously unattainable.


    In the dynamic field of asset inspection and surveying, staying ahead of the curve is paramount. Pix4Dcloud offers a sophisticated yet user-friendly platform that revolutionises the way we process, analyse, and share data. With a 15-day free trial, professionals have the opportunity to experience firsthand how Pix4Dcloud can transform their operational capabilities. As we embrace these technological advancements, the question remains: How will you leverage Pix4Dcloud to elevate your asset inspection projects?


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