Kaarta Cloud Services and Data Processing

Kaarta Cloud uses Kaarta’s advanced mapping and localization algorithms to process raw lidar data and generate a registered 3D model. Kaarta Cloud processes datasets containing one minute of lidar data for free, regardless of data set size. There is a small fee for registering datasets greater than 1 minute.

Kaarta Cloud Upload

If you have scan data from your own lidar sensor that you’d like to upload and process (including data from Velodyne and Ouster lidar), follow the instructions below.

Screenshot of the Kaarta Cloud login page

Kaarta Cloud Resources

Having trouble getting started? Not getting the results you expect? We have the answers to your questions, tips, tricks and more to get the most out of your point cloud scans here.


Ready to Get Started?

Here’s our Quick Start Guide

  • Use either Veloview to log data or the appropriate ROS driver available under the “Direct Driver Installation on Windows, Mac, or Linux” section below [Note: if you already have a Velodyne (.pcap) or ROSBAG (.bag) file, you may skip ahead to Step 3].

  • Generate a Velodyne (.pcap) or ROSBAG (.bag) file from a Velodyne Laser Scanner using the driver from Step 1 and angled as shown below under Scanning Tips and Tricks.
  • Go to the Data Upload page, fill out the form, attach the laser scan file, and click on “UPLOAD”.  The Kaarta Upload Page will change to a Upload Success Page confirming your upload was received.

  • Kaarta will process your data, create a 3D model, and email you a link to download the point cloud usually within one business day. The processing is automated, but is reviewed prior to emailing you the link.
Visit the ParaView website and download VeloView to create an account and start logging your data.

Direct Driver Installation on Windows, Mac or Linux

The ROS Velodyne driver is an open source driver compatible with any system that has the Robot Operating System installed. The driver publishes messages to the /velodynepackets and /velodynepoints topics. Please log a rosbag (.bag) file containing /velodyne_packets (best) or /velodyne_points (suffiicient) that our 3D Model Generator can process.

For best results please use our drivers as we have configured the ROS Velodyne driver to work with the supported sensor models. For the VLP-16, use this ROS driver and follow instructions inside the .zip file to install and operate the driver. For the HDL-32E, it is best to log the data using Veloview in order to capture the IMU data which we can use to improve your results. Veloview works well for the HDL-64E as well, although there is no IMU data. If you chose to use the ROS driver for the 32 or 64, please be sure it publishes the right topics mentioned above. For more information on topics please see the section on Supported Sensors and Data Formats.

How to Upload Laser Sensor Files to Kaarta Cloud

Supported Sensors and Data Formats

We currently support Velodyne’s HDL-64E, HDL-32E and Velodyne VLP-16 laser sensors. We will expand our service to support other 3D LiDAR brands soon.

We process Velodyne’s .pcap and ROSBAG .bag file formats. The .pcap files can be logged by the VeloView software provided by Kitware Inc. The ROSBAG .bag files can be logged by the ROS open source driver and contains packets (best) or points (sufficient) published to the /velodyne_packets topic (in the velodyne_msg/VelodynePacket data structure) or /velodyne_points topic (in the sensor_msgs/PointCloud2 data structure) for the 3D model generator to process. In addition the following topics can also be processed by our 3D model generator:

– IMU with orientation information, topic name: /imu/data, topic type sensor_msgs/Imu

– IMU without orientation information, topic name: /imu/data_raw, topic type: sensor_msgs/Imu

– GPS data, topic name: /gps/data, topic type: sensor_msgs/NavSatFix

If you have files in the proper format, please go ahead and upload them here, otherwise, please follow the instructions to the right under “Direct Driver Installation on Windows, Mac, or Linux.”

Velodyne’s .pcap format is preferred since the file sizes are smaller and the upload time is shorter.

What to Expect

Regardless of data file size, we will register 3D models containing one minute of LiDAR data for free. Please contact us at info@kaarta.com if you are interested in registering larger datasets.

What We Do with the Data

We will not share uploaded data with any third-party. However, we may contact you for permission to use interesting images for promotional purposes.

Kaarta Cloud™ 3D Model Generator FAQs

A Kaarta employee looks at the registered point cloud and produces images and acts as a layer of quality assurance by determining if a better registration could be accomplished with post-processing steps. An email with links to the generated files are sent to the customer with some observations, questions, and/or comments as needed. Sometimes we ask permission to post images on our web site. Occasionally, we get data sets that help us improve our algorithms. We never share your data with any third party.

We recommend the use of CloudCompare to generate alternate formats to the one provided by our automated laser scan registration service. CloudCompare is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and is also available from source files (http://www.danielgm.net/cc/).  Point clouds can be saved in the following formats: BIN, ASCII, PLY, LAS, E57, VTK, PN, PV, PCD.  CloudCompare can also be used to create meshes.

Kaarta may apply colorization to the registered point cloud for better visualization.  This will show you what can be achieved.  The intensity values from the laser scanner are preserved, so the .ply file does not contain any color information.

Saving a colorization generated using CloudCompare might overwrite the intensity values.

Internet connection speeds vary and some of the data files can be very large. Raw scanner data in .pcap format is much smaller than ROS .bag files containing the same scanner data.

Range measurement accuracy translates directly into registration blur. Rapid motions, particularly angular velocities can cause skewing in the data. Specular reflections and direct glare can cause scanners to generate incorrect distance measurements for a couple of frames, sometimes resulting in double registrations of the same surface. Whiteboards have even been seen to affect distance measurements, particularly at more oblique angles.

This page contains information on how best to set up laser scanners for use with our software. Additional information can be obtained by describing your application by email to info@kaarta.com.
We have seen this primarily when the wrong driver was used to collect data from a VLP-16 using ROS. Initially the ROS driver worked for the Velodyne HDL-32E and had to be “hacked” to work with the VLP-16. The latest driver available from ROS should be configured correctly and should be used with the appropriate laser scanner. Note that the Kaarta Kaarta Cloud page contains links to download drivers that can be used with ROS Configurations. For those interested in collecting lidar data only, Velodyne’s Veloview does a good job of generating the smaller .pcap files.

You can look up your configuration, or collect a small dataset and submit it to us for processing. We will let you know if the driver you are using does not match the sensor you are you using.

The data can be recovered, but the process is manually intensive and is not currently provided as part of the free service.

We are currently working on this capability and expect the driver to be available at the Kaarta Cloud page in the coming months. If you use this driver with your HDL-32E, the service will be able to process your IMU data allowing your data collection platform to achieve more dynamic movement.

Best results can be obtained by limiting linear velocities to less than 20 MPH and angular velocities to less than 30 degrees/sec.

This is not available through the web service. Contact Kaarta at info@kaarta.com if you would like to do this.
The HDL-64E generates large files in a short amount of time and has a separate calibration file that you would also need to upload in order to register the data. The comments field on our Upload Data page should be used to identify the scanner files that the uploaded calibration file is associated with.  Small datasets (<500MB) are roughly 1 minute of scanning data and it is currently possible to register with our free service. To register larger datasets, please contact us for setting up a paid service.

The point cloud data will be available for at least one week.

Our extended registration service accessible through the web interface is expected to go online in September, 2015.  If you need to register a file larger than 500 MB before then, please contact us.

This service currently requires data from a 3D scanner taken using Veloview and saved as a PCAP file or using our provided ROS driver. Best results are obtained by limiting speed and turning rate as described on the Instructions page. More 3D scanner models will be added to the service in the near future. Stay tuned!

Send requests for additional information to info@kaarta.com.

Our free registration service is intended to process data primarily from ground or handheld platforms. Special care can be taken with aerial applications if they follow the instructions for aerial deployment shown on the Tips for Aerial Scanning page.

Stencil was delivered with a specific configuration between the Operating System and the Application Program. Updating the Linux OS may result in incorrect operation of Stencil for mapping or localization.

After a recent Linux system update, the Velodyne sometimes looses network connection to Stencil after restart (i. e. Stencil is running and the Velodyne is turned off, then back on). Adding a DNS server reduces the frequency of occurrence for this issue. On Stencil’s desktop, click network icon, then “Edit Connections”, double click “To Velodyne” and choose “IPv4 Settings”. Add a DNS server as in the image and click “Save”.

A more practical way to prevent the problem from happing is turning on Velodyne before turning on Stencil, and not turning on/off Velodyne while Stencil is on. If the issue occurs, click network icon on Stencil desktop, then click “Enable Networking” to disable network and click one more time to re-enable network. The problem should be fixed.