tags: mac
Originally Published: 2018-04-19

The E57 format is used for storing 3D point clouds (from e.g. LiDAR), and is implemented in libE57. Unfortunately, that library is relatively unmaintained, and doesn’t build out-of-the-box on Mac OS X. Fortunately, Andy Maloney has already forked it and patched it to address OS X compatibility and other issues.

CloudCompare is a popular cross-platform software package for working with point clouds that uses libE57 for E57 support, but as of this writing the latest distributed Mac OS X build doesn’t have E57 support enabled (yet). Since building CloudCompare myself with E57 support enabled was a little tricky, I wanted to document the process for others. This assumes some command-line familiarity and a working Homebrew install, but hopefully it will be of some use.

  1. Install the dependencies you’ll need to build CloudCompare: brew install xerces-c qt@5.5 cmake
  2. Clone CloudCompare: git clone --recursive https://github.com/cloudcompare/trunk.git cloudcompare
  3. Build/install libE57Format:
    • cd cloudcompare/contrib/libE57Format
    • Edit CMakeLists.txt to say set(Xerces_USE_STATIC_LIBS Off) instead of set(Xerces_USE_STATIC_LIBS On)
    • Run CMake: XERCES_ROOT="/usr/local/Cellar/xerces-c/3.2.1/" cmake .
    • Build: make
    • Install: sudo make install (this will install to /usr/local/E57Format-2.0-x86_64-darwin)
  4. Build CloudCompare:
    • cd ../.. (get back to the cloudcompare root directory)
    • mkdir build && cd build
    • Configure CMake: XERCES_ROOT="/usr/local/Cellar/xerces-c/3.2.1/" CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH="/usr/local/Cellar/qt@5.5/5.5.1_1/lib/cmake/" ccmake ..
    • Press c to configure. Press e to exit any warnings, if necessary. Scroll down to OPTION_USE_LIBE57FORMAT and press “enter” to toggle it to ON
    • Press c to configure again. Press e to exit warnings again, if necessary. Change LIBE57FORMAT_INSTALL_DIR to /usr/local/E57Format-2.0-x86_64-darwin
    • Press c to configure again. Press e to exit warnings again, if necessary. Press g to generate config and exit. Press e to exit warnings again, if necessary.
    • Build CloudCompare with: make
  5. Run the resulting CloudCompare app with: open qCC/CloudCompare.app