The Point Cloud Library (PCL) is a standalone, large scale, open project for 2D/3D image and point cloud processing. PCL is released under the terms of the BSD license, and thus free for commercial and research use.
It offers multiple advanced algorithms, written in C++ for efficiency, while offering a C++ and Python (while not giving access to all functions) interfaces.

Documentation and tutorials#

Tutorials can be accessed under PCL - Tutorials.
Documentation can be found under PCL - Documentation.


The toolkit is available under following zip file.
For SPL members, repo is under here.
It contains multiple templated functions implementing PCL algorithms with simpler calls, offering a faster way for further development.
To run it, you need to have PCL installed. Please refer to their documentation for this (install from precompiled binaries or build it from source).

Pipeline principle#

The basic objective of this toolkit was to implement multiple techniques allowing to align clouds, knowing or not approximate position thanks to odometry, with or without a fixed reference that could be used for positioning the scans …
The idea is to go through a “pipeline”, a recipe that allow both clouds to be quickly aligned with enough precision.
It is as follow :
Registration pipeline

Pipeline for registration,

Other interesting papers can be found :

Algorithm 3D Algorithm PCL Point Cloud