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CloudCompare Survey 2018

CloudCompare is open source software for viewing and manipulating 3D point clouds and meshes. I started participating in the project several years ago to build and package it for macOS and have continued to contribute to it since then.


CloudCompare on macOS

(The source code for CloudCompare is available on GitHub.)

Last year (2018) I initiated a user survey to get a better idea who is using CloudCompare and to solicit feedback from our users. I set it up using Google Forms and we received 330 responses over the course of about 10 months.

I really intended the survey for internal use to help guide us, but Noemi Roecklinger asked via Twitter about the results so I thought I would put some of them up here in case others are interested.


I am not a statistician, nor am I a survey designer. I realize in hindsight that some questions could have been better. I would hesitate to draw any statistical significance from any of these results.

Our Users

This section was for us to get a better picture of who’s using the software – level of experience, which operating systems, and what fields people work in.

How many years have you been using CloudCompare?

This was really interesting to me because there are people working in dozens of fields using CloudCompare. CloudCompare is the “Swiss Army Knife” of point clouds!

I took the liberty of massaging the answers a little to fit into fewer categories. E.g. “geological surveying” was changed to “Geology”. Anything that didn’t seem to fit any of the other categories was changed to “Other”.


This section was to get a sense of how people were using the software and what kinds of clouds they are working with.

I find it curious that one person filled out the survey to say “I don’t use CloudCompare”.

It’s clear that the users would like more frequent releases. We’ve done a little better pushing out bug fixes with 2.10.x.

Some people obviously have a massive amount of RAM in their machines!

How Are We Doing?

I wanted to get a sense of how satisfied users are with the project. From the results I think it’s going quite well!


Always a hot topic in open source projects, I was interested in how many people donated time and/or money to the project.

I think this question did prompt some donations which is good! Somewhat disheartening were the 9 people who indicated in a followup question that they thought “everything should be free”. Not sure how they think the world currently works…


All-in-all this was a useful exercise. There were several questions that were more “long form” that I could not easily summarize here, but they helped give a sense of what people are interested in and what we might be able to improve.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!

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