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
21 Nov 2014 fleurdelas

Description: The fleurdelas class is an IDL/ENVI implementation of a LAS file reader/writer. The class object can read, write and manipulate points and/or full waveforms contained in the binary LAS file format. It can handle any LAS 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 with point format from 0 to 10. This class object therefore is very well suited to access the point structure information or the waveform information for further process. It can also filter the point cloud and generate new LAS file. However, if you need to manipulate; the Variable Length Records or the Coordinates System we will recommend you to use LAStools as it is more adapted for this purpose.
Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, Data Management / Handling las, idl, envi, waveform, point
(0 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)
8 Mar 2011 BCAL LiDAR Tools

Description: BCAL LiDAR Tools are open-source tools developed by Idaho State University, Boise Center Aerospace Laboratory (BCAL). These tools can be used for processing, analyzing and visualizing LiDAR data. They are written in IDL programming language and is intended to be used as add-on in the ENVI remote sensing software package.
Software Suite lidar, visualization, filtering, value-added products
(1 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)
9 Jun 2011 MCC-LIDAR

Description: Multiscale Curvature Classification of ground returns in 3-D lidar point clouds (las files), designed for forested environments
Point Cloud Analysis classification, filter, curvature, ground, interpolation
(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)
17 Dec 2012 ENVI LiDAR

Description: ENVI LiDAR is an interactive geospatial software environment that allows you to create realistic 3D visualizations and easily extract important features (trees, powerlines, buildings) from LiDAR point cloud data. Elevation information contained within LiDAR can be included in your geospatial analysis projects such as viewshed and line-of-sight studies, forest inventories, right-of-way analyses, and urban planning applications. With ENVI LiDAR, you have the software tool to quickly prepare LiDAR data, accurately extract 3D features, fine-tune results, and export your results to your existing tools, such as ENVI or ArcMap, for further analysis or inclusion in your geospatial products.
Software Suite LiDAR, Point Cloud, DSm, DTM, Feature Extraction
(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)
23 Sep 2014 TerEx

Description: The TerEx Tool automates the process of mapping terraces and floodplains from high resolution topography data (works best on <3m grid resolution). The tool maps terraces and floodplains from user-defined parameters including, a local-relief threshold selected by a variable-size moving window, minimum area threshold, and maximum distance from the channel to identify and map discrete terrace and floodplain surfaces. Subsequently, the tool automatically measures planform area, absolute elevation, and height relative to the local river channel for each terrace polygon. TerEx can be run in a Python environment or as a GUI plugin for ArcMap. See Stout and Belmont, 2014 and the users manual for explanations of tool functionality and several test cases that provide guidance on parameter values for a wide range of landscapes.
DEM Analysis terrace, mapping, feature extraction, floodplain
(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)
4 Aug 2015 FUSION

Description: The FUSION/LDV analysis and visualization system consists of two main programs, FUSION and LDV (LIDAR data viewer), and a collection of task-specific command line programs. The primary interface, provided by FUSION, consists of a graphical display window and a control window. The FUSION display presents all project data using a 2D display typical of geographic information systems. It supports a variety of data types and formats including shapefiles, images, digital terrain models, canopy surface models, and LIDAR return data. LDV provides the 3D visualization environment for the examination and measurement of spatially-explicit data subsets. Command line programs provide specific analysis and data processing capabilities designed to make FUSION suitable for processing large LIDAR acquisitions.

Command line utilities and processing programs, called the FUSION LIDAR Toolkit or FUSION-LTK, provide extensive processing capabilities including bare-earth point filtering, surface fitting, data conversion, and quality assessment for large LIDAR acquisitions. These programs are designed to run from a command prompt or using batch programs.

FUSION runs on all current versions of Windows and has been successfully used on LINUX systems using WINE. The FUSION/LDV visualization system is GUI based. The command line tools require the use of batch files to be most effective.

Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, DEM generation, DEM Analysis, Software Suite LIDAR, visualization, processing
(1 rating)
18 Jan 2016 Landlab

Description: Landlab is a Python-based modeling environment that allows scientists and students to build numerical landscape models. Landlab was designed for disciplines that quantify earth surface dynamics such as geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, and stratigraphy, but can also be used in related fields.

Landlab provides components to compute flows (such as water, sediment, glacial ice, volcanic material, or landslide debris) across a gridded terrain. With its robust, reusable components, Landlab allows scientists to quickly build landscape model experiments and compute mass balance across scales.

DEM Analysis, Software Suite model, water, erosion, routing
(0 rating)
7 Jul 2016 ARSF 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
(1 rating)