If your 3D scanner generates an E57 file and you wish to get that into the 3KO NGRAIN format, then the following workflow should work for you.

What is E57? “The E57 file format is a compact, vendor-neutral format for storing point clouds, images, and metadata produced by 3D imaging systems, such as laser scanners.” []

The NGRAIN Point Cloud Converter does not yet support the E57 format, so we will seek to go through an intermediate ASCII text format. The lastools e572las tool has proven to be unreliable during testing, so the open source CloudCompare project is recommended for doing that conversion.

Finally the NGRAIN Point Cloud Converter, available here, is used to go from TXT to 3KO. It comes with a README and instructions if you run the executable with no options.



  1. Open in CloudCompare
  2. Merge scans if there is more than one.
  3. Save an ASCII clould txt out of CloudCompare
  4. Check its contents with the File Open dialogue
  5. Run the command line NGRAIN Point Cloud Converter utility
  6. Open in Producer or Viewer



From the E57 Example/Test Data page on April 11, 2016.

Trimble Data – Muliple Scans point cloud. This scene was scanned in Paris using a Trimble TX8 for project Terra Mobilita. Color has been captured with a Nikon 7100 using a fish eye Sigma 10mm. Colorization and export to e57 has been done using Trimble RealWorks 8.1. The project contains one multi-station file (5 scans down-sampled at 50mm going down from 650 M point to 8 M point) and two files containing gridded scans (down-sampled from ~120 M point to 2 M point each). Gridded files are stored as spherical coordinates and non-gridded ones use XYZ.
© Copyright 2014, Trimble Navigation Limited.

Open the Trimble_StSulpice-Cloud-50mm.e57 file with CloudCompare.

Merge the separate clouds by selecting all five on the left (Ctrl + Click and Shift + Click work as expected) and then choose Edit -> Merge.

Now select the item at top of the hiercarchy and go to File -> Save

Select ASCII cloud (*.txt *.asc *.neu *.xyz *.pts *.csv)

Type in your name.txt and hit save.

In the following dialogue, these options are good:


Hi OK and wait for processing to complete.

Go to File -> Open and select the file you just saved out in order to inspect it.


Notice that we have X, Y, Z, R, G, B, and some other value which we’re going to ignore during conversion. Notice that the RGB values are 0-255 and not 0-1. This informs what pattern we are going to use with the converter. It will be PX PY PZ RI GI BI FF. Where we use RI GI BI because the values are 0-255 and we use FF to indicate a floating point number that we are ignoring.

Let’s now run the converter from the command line:

PointCloudConvert.exe Trimble_StSulpice-Cloud-50mm.txt -p”PX PY PZ RI GI BI FF” -s4000

Where -p sets the pattern that we just identified. And -s4000 sets the 3KO resolution to be 4000.

After a short wait, we get our 3KO. You can download it here.




More Examples

From the E57 Example/Test Data page on April 11, 2016.

This scene has a large 27M point 360 degree scan and a PNG image using the spherical projection camera model. It was scanned using a new Faro Focus 3D scanner.
© Copyright 2011, FARO Technologies Inc.


Download the 3KO here.



From the E57 Example/Test Data page on April 11, 2016.

This scene has 5 scans with intensity and RGB data and has rotation and translation information. This was scanned using a Leica Scanstation in 06-18-2008. It was converted to E57 using LD3 Studio V5.1.
© Copyright 2008, Carnahan-Proctor and Cross, Inc.


Download the 3KO here.