Writing a CGAL Plugin for ParaView

CGAL: The Computational Geometry Algorithms Library


CGAL is a software project that provides easy access to efficient and reliable geometric algorithms in the form of a C++ library. CGAL is used in various areas needing geometric computation, such as geographic information systems, computer aided design, molecular biology, medical imaging, computer graphics, and robotics.

The library offers data structures and algorithms like triangulationsVoronoi diagramsBoolean operations on polygons and polyhedrapoint set processingarrangements of curvessurface and volume mesh generationgeometry processingalpha shapesconvex hull algorithmsshape reconstructionAABB and KD trees

Learn more about CGAL by browsing through the Package Overview.

Most of CGAL is available under GPL and/or LGPL licence. CGAL is mainly developed and maintained by GeometryFactory. You can see a very visual portfolio of some use cases here.

ParaView: The versatile data analysis and visualization software

Reading point cloud (LiDAR) data in ParaView (VTK)
ParaView (VTK) provides two readers for point cloud data. LAS Reader (vtkLASReader) uses libLAS to create the point cloud data into a VTK format in memory (vtkPolyData)

ParaView is an open-source, multi-platform data analysis and visualization application. ParaView users can quickly build visualizations to analyze their data using qualitative and quantitative techniques. The data exploration can be done interactively in 3D or programmatically using ParaView’s batch processing capabilities.

ParaView was developed to analyze extremely large datasets using distributed memory computing resources. It can be run on supercomputers to analyze datasets of petascale size as well as on laptops for smaller data, has become an integral tool in many national laboratories, universities and industry, and has won several awards related to high performance computation.

ParaView visualization of ALEGRA simulation for shaped charge jet penetration in ceramic plates
Simulation: John Niederhaus (SNL), Brian Leavy (ARL) Visualization: John Niederhaus (SNL)

ParaView Plugin framework: boilerplate for using a CGAL algorithm

Despite a large arrays of built-in tools, developers might wish to add new functionalities to ParaView, such as CGAL’s polygon mesh processing algorithms. For that purpose, ParaView uses a plugin system.

Running CGAL’s isotropic remeshing on the bull mesh, directly from ParaView.

After a custom 2-day VTK/ParaView training in our Kitware Europe office, the CGAL Project has published a new Github repository, with all necessary code to build a plugin that can call CGAL’s Isotropic Remeshing algorithm directly within ParaView. Furthermore, a step-by-step description of the development of this plugin is available in the README.md of the repository, which can be used as an already-functional basis from which you can easily develop your own CGAL plugins for ParaView.

It won’t be very long before our Computer Vision team uses all this unleashed power on point cloud and Lidar projects. Stay tuned.

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