File transfers – How to handle large point cloud data file

If you’re working with an outsourcing BIM partner, file transfers are a big part of your daily work activities. You might ask yourself which methods help you send large amounts of data files to your supplier. Is it a secure way to share your project data or something like that?

When to come to this problem, some of our customers usually ask us a question:

“How do you handle point cloud datasets? Is there a file-sharing service that you use?”.

Choosing the best ways for file transfers is not easy. Several popular options include email files, cloud-based sharing, or a more complex way like FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

Each method has some of its advantages and disadvantages. The article will give you an overview of the popular methods coming with benefits and drawbacks corresponding. Besides, we also want to keep you updated on how we handle file transfers for our customers.

Let’s continue exploring it below!

1. Several ways to transfer data files

Method 1: Use cloud-based storage and sharing

Cloud-based storage and data sharing have become significantly popular in recent years. In a crowded cloud-storage market, we have to highlight some names such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive. It has become a mainstay for sharing data files, models, and documents. In reality, some of our customers often use their cloud storage services such as Wetransfer, Box, Google Drive…to share data files with us and their suppliers.

point cloud file transfer - cloud-based sharing

However, any method has some benefits and drawbacks. Cloud storage is no exception. Let’s take a look at a list of the pros and cons of this not-so-new way.


  • Accessibility: As your data is stored remotely, you can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection. It is helpful when you work with outsourced BIM partners in different countries worldwide. Just share with them the link of data files in the cloud storage, then your project team can access them easily;
  • Cost-effectiveness: With cloud storage, you only pay a little or no cost for a small or medium-sized business. You don’t also need to invest in expensive server infrastructure. This way can help you save your annual operating expenses;
  • Fast speed: The file transfer using a cloud-based platform is quick. The speed achieved can rival onsite scores;


  • Security concerns: Easy accessibility also triggers some security threats. When you use the clouds, it means you’re storing your data in a third party. Anyone can access your data with an internet connection. So, it might lead to a negative impact on your project data confidentiality;
  • Internet-dependent: In case you lost the internet connection, you will access the file data. Besides, if your internet connection is slow, it takes a lot of your time to wait than usual to access your data;

point cloud file transfers - cloud-based

There are other advantages and disadvantages of the cloud options. However, we only list some typical factors you should consider.

Method 2: Use The FTP server sharing

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a set of rules which let networked computers exchange information. The use of FTP server sharing is simple. You have an account, then log in to an FTP server, find the correct folder, and exchange files. When working with customers on BIM projects, several customers share their data files with us directly from their FTP server.

FTP server sharing, like any other method, has some of its pros and cons. So it’s crucial to understand FTP fully. Let’s continue exploring the benefits and drawbacks of FTP and learn how these factors impact your work.

point cloud file transfers - ftp server

  • Large file transfers: Point cloud data generated by laser scanners are getting bigger. Large projects can include hundreds of gigabytes of data all at once. FTP eases those large transfers with a rapid speed compared with cloud-based methods.
  • Resumed file transfers: If your file transfer is interrupted, don’t worry too much about losing progress. By using FTP server sharing, you can recover an interrupted file transfer if your connection fails.
  • Safety: With FTP, all files stored in your FTP storage account are safe. There is no risk of fire/water damages or theft.


  • Control: With several FTP solutions, you can not track what has been uploaded on the remote system, so you need to require reporting with an FTP vendor.
  • FTP vendors: There are differences between vendors. Each vendor offers its own set of features and lacks many of the features you need like controls, usability, etc.

point cloud file transfers - ftp server

2. The latest update from ViBIM on file transfers

We have already invested in our FTP server to transfer a large volume of laser scanned data/point cloud files to a customer. It is a convenient, fast, secure, confidential, flexible delivery gate that directly connects our server to the customers’ PC / server. We will share the host with the client for uploading the scanned files when implemented.

point cloud file transfers - ftp-server

At ViBIM, we are very seriously interested in protecting client data and NDA. Our server is very protected. Only authorized project managers can deliver data/models to clients under a secured server. No one in our company can copy data to USB or upload/attach it on the internet thanks to firewall restrictions.

Besides, we can still use some cloud storage such as Box, Google Drive, Wetransfer… We can host cloud sharing if it is much convenient in our collaboration approach.


In general, any method has some advantages and disadvantages. You should choose the one that best suits you. If large projects involve many stakeholders and the exchange of quite a few files, you can consider file transfers via an FTP server. Make sure that you have access to enough storage space to keep your large datasets.

If you want to ask these questions, feel free to let us know. We will send you the official introductions that help you get an understanding of ViBIM services.

ViBIM is a global provider of Building Information Modeling (BIM) services. We’ve had more than five years of experience and expertise in Scan to BIM services, 3D BIM coordination, BIM design, and Dynamo BIM services for clients in the UK, US.

Contact us today to get a quotation for your Scan to BIM projects.