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
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:

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)
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)
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 Mar 2014 LiForest(LiDAR Forest Software)

Description: LiForest (LiDAR software for forestry applications) provides a platform that enables users to freely manipulate the LiDAR point cloud and extract useful information specially for forest studies. It consists of several primary modules for LiDAR point cloud data processing, including point cloud I/O, LiDAR-based forest metric calculation, digital model generation, regression models and individual tree segmentation.
Point Cloud Analysis Forest metrics, regression models, individual tree segmentation, point cloud segmentation
(2 ratings)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
6 May 2016 LIDAR Widgets

Description: LIDAR Widgets is a suite of programs that will process LAS/LAZ point files and generate 3D terrain models and contour maps. Output formats include AutoCAD DXF, ESRI ArcInfo grids, and QwtPlot3D viewable meshes with real-time pan, zoom and rotation. Converts LAS/LAZ point clouds into DXF point clouds. Also batch converts LAS/LAZ files into viewable mesh files, contour maps, 3D models, DXF point clouds or ArcInfo meshes.
Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, DEM generation, DEM Analysis, Data Management / Handling, Software Suite contour map, mesh, grid, DXF, AutoCAD, ArcInfo, ESRI, point cloud, terrain, LAS, LAZ
(0 rating)
12 Jan 2017 planlauf/TERRAIN

Description: planlauf/TERRAIN is an easy-to-use application for Windows 7/8/10 to visualize Digital Elevation Models. It uses state-of-the-art techniques from the gaming industry like 'Mesh Decimation', 'Normal Mapping' and 'Level of Detail' to reduce the size of the models significantly while preserving the visual details of the original model. A 30 day trial version without any restrictions is available.
Visualization, DEM Analysis
(0 rating)