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
19 Nov 2010 LViz: 3D LiDAR Visualization Tool

Description: LViz is a tool designed for 3D visualization of LiDAR point cloud and interpolated data, the tool offers import of LiDAR point cloud data (delimited text file) or interpolated surfaces (in ascii or arc ascii grid formats). LViz also offers texture mapping and user control over display settings such as data and background color. LViz was originally written for visualization of outputs from the GEON LiDAR Workflow system and is designed to run on Windows platforms. Although originally conceived for the 3D visualization of LiDAR data, LViz can be used to view any 3D point cloud data such as seismicity or gravity.
Visualization point cloud, lidar, viz, ascii
(0 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)
6 May 2012 LAStools

Description: LAStools are a collection of highly-efficient, batch scriptable, multi-core command line tools for processing LiDAR that is built upon LASlib (with LASzip).
  • lasground.exe extracts the bare-earth by classifying all ground points
  • lasoverlap.exe checks overlap & vertical/horizontal alignment of flight lines
  • lascontrol.exe quality checks elevations for a list of control points
  • lasclassify.exe find buildings and the trees above the ground
  • lasgrid.exe rasters very large LAS files into elevation or intensity grids
  • lasboundary.exe extracts a boundary polygon that encloses the points
  • lasheight.exe computes for each point its height above the ground
  • lasclip.exe clips points against building footprints / swath boundaries
  • lastile.exe tiles huge amounts of LAS points into square tiles
  • laszip.exe compresses the LAS files in a completely lossless manner
  • lasinfo.exe prints out a quick overview of the contents of a LAS FILE
  • lasindex.exe creates a spatial index LAX file for fast spatial queries
  • txt2las.exe converts LIDAR data from ASCII text to binary LAS format
  • las2txt.exe turns LAS into human-readable and easy-to-parse ASCII
  • lasmerge.exe merges several LAS files into one
  • lassplit.exe splits points of one (or many) LAS files into flight lines
  • lassort.exe sorts points by gps_time, point_source, or into spatial proximity
  • las2las.exe extracts last returns, clips, subsamples, translate
  • Software Suite filtering, clipping, reprojecting, compression, classification, DSM, DTM, TIN, contours, bare-earth
    (3 ratings)
    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)
    4 Sep 2014 ToPCAT = Topographic Analysis Toolkit

    Description: Topographic Point Cloud Analysis Toolkit (ToPCAT) is a software package developed by Brasington et al. (2012) used to decimate (or thin) a point cloud and calculate meaningful statistics for grid defined areas. The process of decimation can reduce computation time and produce meaningful summary outputs (e.g. zMin for modeling bare earth elevations; and detrended standard deviation for modelling surface roughness).
    Point Cloud Analysis TLS, SFM, point cloud statistics, point cloud decimation
    (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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)