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Generally it boils down to finding the nearest element. Computing distance to it. Checking the normal to tell if inside or out. There are a number of edge cases. Also you usually compute the "angle weighted psuedonormal" as its called. Here's the usual reference "Signed Distance Computation using the Angle Weighted Pseudo-normal" by J. ...


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There are plenty of algorithms for generating meshes from point clouds. I am going to suggest looking at the libraries CGAL and PCL, if only because their documentation has excellent references which should give you ideas on where to look in the literature if you need to roll your own. Jonathan Shewchuk also has some more 2.5D-ish algorithms that may suit ...


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