SIDELOADING – INGESTION OF LARGE POINT CLOUDS INTO THE APACHE SPARK BIG DATA ENGINE
Keywords: Big Data, LiDAR, Cloud Computing, Point Cloud, Spark
Abstract. In the geospatial domain we have now reached the point where data volumes we handle have clearly grown beyond the capacity of most desktop computers. This is particularly true in the area of point cloud processing. It is therefore naturally lucrative to explore established big data frameworks for big geospatial data. The very first hurdle is the import of geospatial data into big data frameworks, commonly referred to as data ingestion. Geospatial data is typically encoded in specialised binary file formats, which are not naturally supported by the existing big data frameworks. Instead such file formats are supported by software libraries that are restricted to single CPU execution. We present an approach that allows the use of existing point cloud file format libraries on the Apache Spark big data framework. We demonstrate the ingestion of large volumes of point cloud data into a compute cluster. The approach uses a map function to distribute the data ingestion across the nodes of a cluster. We test the capabilities of the proposed method to load billions of points into a commodity hardware compute cluster and we discuss the implications on scalability and performance. The performance is benchmarked against an existing native Apache Spark data import implementation.