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)
30 Mar 2011 VRMesh Survey: LiDAR Point Cloud Classification Tool

Description: Vrmesh Survey is an intelligent solution for automatic point cloud classification and bare-earth extraction. It automatically and accurately classifies LIDAR point clouds into ground, vegetation, building, and others. More than 90% identification jobs will be done in a one-click process. Manual adjustments can be easily performed in a cross section view. It also provides comprehensive functionalities to generate accurate triangle meshes.
Software Suite lidar, bare earth, point cloud, classification
(0 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)
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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    23 May 2017 MCC-LIDAR GUI

    Description: This is a GUI version of the MCC LIDAR ground classification tool. It has been compiled for 64-bit editions of Windows and has successfully classified LAS files with over 83 million points successfully. This version includes all the necessary binaries and DLL files. The original MCC LIDAR homepage (non-gui) can be found here:
    The installer is 880KB in size. Installed binaries are 2.29MB in size.

    Data Management / Handling Classification, Ground
    (0 rating)
    29 Jun 2017 PDAL Ground Classification Tool (GUI Enabled)

    Description: This is a GUI enabled version of the PDAL ground classification tool which supports both SMRF and PMF ground classification methods. It provides for automated ground return classification and supports both LAS and LAZ files. Code base is PDAL version 1.5 and has been compiled for 64-bit editions of Windows 7 or greater. All necessary exe's and DLL's are included in the installer.
    DEM generation, DEM Analysis, Data Management / Handling ground return classification PDAL SMRF PMF GUI automatic automated
    (0 rating)