OpenTopography Tool Registry

The OpenTopography Tool Registry provides a community populated clearinghouse of software, utilities, and tools oriented towards high-resolution topography data (e.g. collected with lidar technology) handling, processing, and analysis. Tools registered below range from source code to full-featured software applications. We welcome contributions to the registry via the Contribute a Tool page.

Appearance of a tool in the OpenTopography Tool Registry does not imply endorsement, recommendation, or support, by the NSF OpenTopography Facility and is meant simply as a service to our users. OpenTopography does not guarantee the completeness or accessibility of specific content and links contributed by users. If you have been directly involved with the development of a registered tool and are not the original contributor of the tool to the registry, please email info@opentopography.org to supply updates or modifications to its entry.
Date   Tool Name Tool Type Keywords Rating
20 Nov 2010 Points2Grid Utility (winP2G)

Description: The Points2Grid Utility is a simple tool for the generation of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from LiDAR point cloud data. The Points2Grid Utility is a Windows application that utilizes the same local binning algorithm deployed in the OpenTopography LiDAR system to offer rapid generation of DEMs from large volumes of LiDAR point return data.
 
DEM generation point cloud, lidar, DEM, gridding, binning
(4 ratings)
24 Nov 2010 GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System)

Description: GRASS is free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS is currently used in academic and commercial settings around the world, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies. GRASS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation.

GRASS has a number of functions related to lidar and high-resolution DEM processing and analysis. lidar specific elements of GRASS are discussed here: http://grass.osgeo.org/wiki/LIDAR

 
Software Suite grass, gis, osgeo
(0 rating)
3 Dec 2010 GDAL - Geospatial Data Abstraction Library

Description: GDAL is a translator library for raster geospatial data formats that is released under an X/MIT style Open Source license by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model to the calling application for all supported formats. It also comes with a variety of useful commandline utilities for data translation and processing.

GDAL is a powerful tool for converting digital elevation model (DEM) formats, performing coordinate system conversions, and the gdaldem utility provides basic processing functionality such as generation of hillshades and slope maps.

 
Data Management / Handling DEM, osgeo, coordinates, file formats
(0 rating)
3 Apr 2011 SAGA GIS

Description: SAGA GIS is a FOSS which is, besides common GIS tasks, specialized on digital terrain analysis. The software provides a lot of analysis tools which you will not find in any other software package, e.g. for morphometric or hydrologic analysis. SAGA supports various raster and vector (including LAS and SAGA point clouds) formats, DEM generation, analysis and visualization (e.g. 3D point cloud viewer, bare earth extraction). One of SAGA's main objectives is to provide scientists an easy to use API to implement own algorithms (C++) but it is also used in commercial environments. SAGA provides a GUI and can be scripted in various ways (e.g. batch/bash, python). SAGA runs on Windows, Linux and FreeBSD, both 32 and 64bit. The software is licensed under the GPL (GUI, most of the modules) and the LGPL (API).
 
Software Suite GIS, Terrain Analysis, Visualization, Raster, Vector, Pointcloud, LAS
(1 rating)
20 Mar 2014 LIDAR Analyst

Description: LIDAR Analyst® software is the premier feature extraction solution for airborne LIDAR data, allowing geospatial analysts to unlock the value of LIDAR by automatically extracting 3D objects such as bare earth, trees or buildings. Now the software has been upgraded with a major enhancement: an integrated 3D Viewer that delivers mission-critical high-resolution 3D exploitation and further establishes LIDAR Analyst as the Gold Standard. Enjoy the performance of viewing and manipulating LIDAR data containing over a billion points.
LIDAR Analyst has eight years of proven heritage as one of the first commercially released LIDAR applications. The power, speed, accuracy and broad selection of tools enable users to get real work accomplished. Thats why LIDAR Analyst is so widely respected and used daily by military forces, federal agencies, local governments, academic universities and GIS services providers around the globe. Since LIDAR Analyst is an extension for Esri ArcGIS®, the products familiar environment makes it easy to install and learn.
Use the 3D Viewer to manipulate, filter and edit LIDAR point clouds displayed in stunning color. Rapidly inventory all the buildings across a city or area of interest by using LIDAR Analysts advanced algorithms to detect, recognize, and extract complex 3D building shapes. Count the trees in a forest or scattered throughout a neighborhood. Strip away the buildings and shrubbery to reveal the true ground level for detailed terrain.

 
Software Suite LIDAR, Automated Feature Extraction
(1 rating)
22 Feb 2014 RiverTools

Description: RiverTools is a user-friendly GIS application that contains a wide variety of tools specifically designed for terrain and watershed analysis and visualization. Version 4.0 supports the latest versions of Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
 
Software Suite DEMs, terrain, river network extraction, contributing area, curvature
(1 rating)
27 May 2014 Whitebox Geospatial Analysis Tools

Description: Whitebox GAT is a full-blown GIS with extensive analysis capabilities for handling LiDAR data, including specialized interpolation algorithms for LAS data, removal of off-terrain objects, and plenty of tools for processing DEMs, e.g. hydrological tools, geomorphometry, etc. Here is a description for handling LiDAR:
http://whiteboxgeospatial.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/working-with-lidar-data-in-whitebox-gat/

 
Software Suite GIS, LAS file reader, interpolation, geospatial analysis
(0 rating)
4 Sep 2014 Geomorphic Change Detection Software

Description: The GCD software was developed primarily for morphological sediment budgeting in rivers. The volumetric change in storage is calculated from the difference in surface elevations from digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from repeat topographic surveys. As each DEM has an uncertain surface representation (which might vary in space and time), our ability to detect changes between surveys is highly dependent on surface representation uncertainties inherent in the individual DEMs. The fundamental problem is separating out the changes between the surveys that are due to geomorphic change as opposed to noise in the survey data. GCD provides a suite of tools for quantifying those uncertainties independently in each DEM and propagating them through to the DEM of difference. The program also provides ways for segregating the best estimates of change spatially using different types of masks. The overall suite of tools is more generically applicable to many different spatial raster-based change detection problems.
 
DEM Analysis DEM error modelling, change detection, DEM uncertainty, geomorphic interpretation
(0 rating)
25 Nov 2014 PointCloudViz Free Edition

Description: PointCloudViz is a free 3D LiDAR display and processing tool supporting input LAS, LAZ and ASCII formats. It provides very interactive visualization and attribute symbology without data size limits, as well as single or multiple orthoimage draping and grid DEM export.
LiDAR data can be imported from multiple files, and also multiple processed datasets can be displayed simultaneously.
PointCloudViz FE is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Version 2.0 includes linear measurement and information tools, Web Map Service image draping and connection to Mirage's Web LiDAR server.

 
Visualization, DEM generation 3D, LiDAR, DEM, orthoimage, WMS, LiDAR server
(0 rating)
5 Mar 2015 Geographic Calculator

Description: The Geographic Calculator is THE Global Coordinate Transformation tool for any coordinate or geomatic challenge. A powerful windows solution with particular strength in survey, seismic and energy exploration, it is available in 32 or 64 bit versions. This highly accurate transformation software includes tools such as Canadian DLS (Dominion Land Survey) Land Grid tools, Seismic Survey Conversion tools, Area of Use tools for guiding users, and much more. The Geographic Calculator supports a wide range of file formats with support from the largest geodetic parameter database available anywhere. Display and reproject your DEMs into the right coordinate systems.
 
DEM Analysis, Data Management / Handling vertical datum transformation, horizontal datum, image resampling, geoid support, HTDP
(0 rating)
10 Mar 2015 Tiffs (Toolbox for Lidar Data Filtering and Forest Studies)

Description: Tiffs (Toolbox for Lidar Data Filtering and Forest Studies) is a professional software that is highly automatic, very fast, and accurate in generating bare earth models, digital surface models, digital height models, and extracting forest information from individual trees to regional scales.

Tiffs was featured in the cover of the 2007 February issue of Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing (PE&RS), the official journal of photogrammetry and geospatial society in the U.S. The core algorithms in Tiffs have won a couple of prestigious awards including the Best Paper Award in the Remote Sensing Specialty Group of Association of American Geographer in 2005. Most of the algorithms are published in the peer-reviewed journal PE&RS. The filtering algorithm was validated with the benchmark dataset provided by ISPRS (the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing). The comparison with the other well-known algorithms showed that our algorithm achieved the best overall accuracy. The tree isolation method used a conquer-and-divided strategy and has the advantages of minimizing both omission (missing trees) and commission (overcounting trees) errors. The canopy structure estimation is based on an innovative metric called canopy geometric volume, which has solid scientific roots in plant allometry.

 
Point Cloud Analysis, DEM generation, DEM Analysis, Data Management / Handling, Software Suite filtering; DEM; CHM; individual tree analysis; area-based analysis; statistical modeling
(0 rating)
19 Mar 2015 Civil Maps

Description: Civil Maps allows users to upload their survey data, then specify the assets of interest and mapping specification. Upon upload, Civil Maps indexes all of the spatial information as defined in the mapping specification into a query-able format. The maps can then be dynamically generated on demand and exported to various tools such as AutoDesk Map3D from Civil Maps, which is useful for integrating into the customers workflow. The biggest pain point in the industry is the time to annotate 3D scans. Currently, processing huge 3D survey datasets is limited by the point­ and ­click annotation speed of the user and the limited resources of the users computer (I/O, CPU, Network, Memory).

By circumventing these bottlenecks, Civil Maps is introducing a paradigm shift in the workflow of annotating 3D survey data. Advancements in parallel computing and deep learning allows Civil Maps to reduce 2 years of manual annotation work down to 2 days of processing using our cloud infrastructure

 
Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, Data Management / Handling deep learning, artificial intelligence, point cloud streaming protocol
(0 rating)
21 Jul 2015 TopoToolbox

Description: TopoToolbox is a suite of MATLAB functions for topographic analysis. The major aim of TopoToolbox is to offer helpful analytical GIS utilities in a non-GIS environment in order to support the simultaneous application of GIS-specific and other quantitative methods. Key methods include advanced methods of flow direction derivation, stream network extraction and manipulation, slope-area analysis, chiplots, and swath profiles.
 
Visualization, DEM Analysis MATLAB, tectonic geomorphology, DEM analysis
(0 rating)
29 Jul 2015 lidar2dems

Description: The lidar2dems project is a collection open-source (FreeBSD license) command line utilities for supporting the easy creation of Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from LiDAR data. lidar2dems uses the PDAL library (and associated dependencies) for doing the actual point processing and gridding of point clouds into raster data.
 
DEM generation DEM, DSM, DTM, CHM, PDAL, points2grid, gridding
(0 rating)
23 Jun 2011 Points2Grid

Description: Points2Grid is a robust and scalable tool for gridding LIDAR point cloud data to generate Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Points2Grid uses a local gridding method to compute grid cell elevation using a neighborhood defined around each cell based on a search radius provided by the user (see image below). Points2Grid offers two processing modes - in-core and out-of-core - to allow it to handle generation of rasters larger than available memory.
 
DEM generation gridding, P2G, point cloud, binning, local gridding, DEM
(0 rating)
4 Sep 2014 CHaMP Topo Processing Toolbar

Description: The CHaMP Topo Processing Toolbar exists to take raw data from CHaMP ground-based topographic surveys and run these through steps of 1) survey data evaluation, 2) generating topographic surfaces, 3) DEM derived products and metrics (including, detrending, derivation of cross sections, profiles, thalwegs, bankfull, etc.), 4) QA/QC. Although the overall workflow of the tool is focused on CHaMP topographic data, many of the individual commands and steps will be more generically useful to some.
 
DEM generation total station surveys, topographic
(0 rating)
18 Mar 2011 River Bathymetry Toolkit (RBT)

Description: The (RBT) is available for free and is under active development. Tools exist for cutting cross sections and longitudinal profiles into high resolution DEMs to extract hydrologic parameters such as wetted area, bankfull width, hydraulic radius, gradient and sinuosity. It is possible to save the cross section properties as a ShapeFile and then add them to a map. Using an automated detrending algorithm we are able to remove the overall valley slope. Tools are being created that use the detrended raster to investigate flooding outside a main channel at any prescribed discharge or flow stage.
 
Software Suite LiDAR, bathymetry, river, raster, detrending, water, RBT
(0 rating)
7 Jul 2016 NERC-ARF DEM Scripts

Description: A collection of scripts developed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Airborne Research Facility Data Analysis Node (NERC-ARF-DAN; formerly ARSF) for generating DEMs from point clouds.
Through command line tools or Python functions the ARSF DEM Scripts provide a common interface to generate DSMs or DTMs from LAS files using GRASS, SPDLib, points2grid, FUSION or LAStools. When using SPDLib, FUSION or LAStools will classify ground returns to produce a DTM (note license required to produce a DTM using LAStools).
Additional utilities are available for manipulating DEMs (e.g., patching with a courser resolution DEM to fill in gaps) using GRASS.

 
DEM generation DTM, DSM, LAS, GRASS
(2 ratings)