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 to supply updates or modifications to its entry.
Date   Tool Name Tool Type Keywords Rating
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:

Software Suite grass, gis, osgeo
(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)
7 May 2011 DielmoOpenLidar

Description: DielmoOpenLiDAR is an open source software with GNU GPL license based in gvSIG for the management of LiDAR data. It allows access, visualization and analysis of the original LiDAR data, toguether with the possibility of visualizing at the same time big volumes (hundreds of GigaBytes) of original LiDAR data (irregular points in formats LAS and BIN) along with other geographic data. In the near future, it will also generate basic final products such as (DSM, DTM, intensity images, etc) and new added value final products.

Developing open source software for the management of LiDAR data, we hope to make this technology more accessible to standard GIS users and scientific communities, having as final objective increase the use of LiDAR data.

For developing this application, we had the collaboration of the Regional Valencia Council for Infrastructures and Transportation - CIT and National Geographic Institute of Spain - IGN

Point Cloud Analysis pointcloud, visualization, data management analysis
(0 rating)
13 Aug 2011 Point Cloud Library (PCL

Description: The Point Cloud Library (or PCL) is a large scale, open project for point cloud processing.

The PCL framework contains numerous state-of-the art algorithms including filtering, feature estimation, surface reconstruction, registration, model fitting and segmentation.

PCL is released under the terms of the BSD license and is open source software. It is free for commercial and research use. The project is financially supported by multiple companies, including: Willow Garage, NVidia, Google, and Toyota

Point Cloud Analysis point clouds, visualization, processing, segmentation, filtering, feature estimation, registration
(0 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)
18 Feb 2013 Optimized Pit Removal

Description: ArcGIS (version 10.1) geoprocessing script tools for removing pits (or sinks) from Digital Elevation Models using a combination of cut and fill. This alternative to the standard Fill tool provides more realistic flow paths with less required manual adjustment. Ideal for high-resolution datasets such as LiDAR.

The tool also allows users to mark specific depressions to be left unmodified by setting the lowest cell to have a value of No Data. This feature can be used to establish reservoirs as well as known drainage features such as storm sewer inlets.

Also contains a C++ executable that can be run via command line inputs independent of ArcGIS, and which operates on ASCII grid files.

DEM Analysis Pit Removal, Sink Removal, Fill, Cut, Hydrologic Conditioning, Flow Direction, Flow Accumulation
(0 rating)
9 Apr 2013 LP360 for ArcGIS, LP360 for Windows

Description: LP360 for ArcGIS is an extension to ArcMap that allows visualizing and processing of very large point clouds (LIDAR and dense image matching) in a familiar GIS desktop environment. Available in three levels of capability, LP360 provides tools from rapid visualization and derived product generation through advanced features such as automatic ground classification and building footprint extraction.

LP360 adds to the native viewing capabilities of ArcGIS 10.1 by providing the capability to work with very large projects such as county-wide aerial LIDAR data sets. From Quality Check to advanced feature extractions, LP360 is the tool of choice for LIDAR professionals throughout the world.

Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, DEM generation, DEM Analysis, Software Suite LIDAR, Classification, Breaklines, Visualization, Automatic Extraction, Volumetric Analysis
(0 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:

Software Suite GIS, LAS file reader, interpolation, geospatial analysis
(0 rating)
4 Sep 2014 CHaMP Transformation Tool

Description: The Ecogemorphology & Topographic Analysis Lab (ET-AL) and the RSGIS Laboratory developed this ArcGIS Add-in for the transformation and projection of CHaMP field survey data (Bouwes et al. 2011) into real world coordinates given hand-held GPS coordinates from just three benchmarks. The CTT will work with any unprojected data in a file geodatabase, and gives you multiple ways to do an afine transformation based on a simple shift and rotation. Although other transformation tools exist in ArcGIS, there is not a simple sequence of geoprocessing tools, which allow you to transform vector data in a manner that preserves the high relative accuracy of a total station survey. See Wheaton et al. (2012) and the ReadMe page for more background.
Data Management / Handling transformation, georeferencing point cloud
(0 rating)
26 Jan 2015 Global Mapper

Description: Global Mapper is an affordable and easy-to-use GIS application that offers access to an unparalleled variety of spatial datasets and provides just the right level of functionality to satisfy both experienced GIS professionals and beginning users. Equally well suited as a standalone spatial data management tool and as an integral component of an enterprise-wide GIS, Global Mapper is a must-have for anyone who deals with maps or spatial data.
Global Mapper is more than just a utility; it has built in functionality for distance and area calculations, raster blending, feathering, spectral analysis, elevation querying, line of sight calculations, cut-and-fill volume calculations, as well as advanced capabilities like image rectification, contour generation from surface data, view shed analysis, watershed delineation, sea level rise modeling, terrain layer comparison, and triangulation and gridding of 3D point data.
Users can now simulate fly-through recordings in high-definition with various sky models in the 3D viewer. This new Skybox tool enables users to choose from a handful of existing sky templates or custom designs. Support for 3D textures and meshes have also been added to give data a more realistic look, including support for a host of new 3D formats. Live GPS data can also now be viewed and tracked in the 3D Viewer. Version 16 features dramatically faster processing speeds for analyzing large amounts of data.

Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, DEM generation, DEM Analysis GIS, LiDAR, file format translation, data analysis, 3D, Vector Raster, image rectification, contour
(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)