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 info@opentopography.org to supply updates or modifications to its entry.
Date   Tool Name Tool Type Keywords Rating
20 Nov 2010 libLAS

Description: libLAS is a C/C++ library for reading and writing the very common LAS LiDAR format. The ASPRS LAS format is a sequential binary format used to store data from LiDAR sensors and by LiDAR processing software for data interchange and archival. First, libLAS focuses almost completely on providing an easy-to-program-with library for software developers wishing to implement the LAS specification in their own software. Second, libLAS exists to provide a truly open source library. Third, libLAS exists to provide advanced functionality and concentrate almost solely on the specification  not LiDAR data processing in general. libLAS a building block for developers to use to implement their own LiDAR data processing when working with ASPRS LAS data.
 
Data Management / Handling LAS, point cloud, libLAS
(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: http://grass.osgeo.org/wiki/LIDAR

 
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)
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)
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)
3 Nov 2011 CloudCompare

Description: CloudCompare is a 3D point cloud and triangular mesh processing software. It has been originally designed to perform fast cloud/cloud or cloud/mesh comparison on huge datasets such as those acquired by laser scanners). Afterwards, it has been extended to a more generic 3D data editing and processing software.
 
Point Cloud Analysis 3D point cloud mesh comparison editing processing lidar laser scanner
(2 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)
    24 May 2012 SPD Software Library (SPDLib)

    Description: SPDLib is a set of open source software tools for processing laser scanning data (i.e., LiDAR), including both discrete return and waveform data captured from airborne and terrestrial platforms. The aim of the software is provide you, the user, with the tools you need to process these data. The software has grown from research carried out at Aberystwyth University and Queensland University concerning the processing of LiDAR data for vegetation analysis and has continued to grow. One of the key features which differentiates this software from other LiDAR software is the ability to process and store full waveform datasets alongside traditional discrete return data
     
    Software Suite SPD, SPDLib, LiDAR, TLS, ALS, Full, waveform, Discrete, return, points
    (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)
    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:
    http://whiteboxgeospatial.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/working-with-lidar-data-in-whitebox-gat/

     
    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)
    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 Global Mapper LiDAR Module

    Description: The Global Mapper LiDAR Module is an optional enhancement to the software that provides numerous advanced LiDAR processing tools, including automatic point cloud classification, feature extraction, cross-sectional viewing and editing, dramatically faster surface generation, and much more. At a fraction of the cost of comparable applications, it is a must-have for anyone using or managing LiDAR data.
     
    Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis automatic point cloud classification, feature extraction, cross-sectional viewing and editing, drama
    (0 rating)
    19 Mar 2015 Civil Maps

    Description: Civil Maps allows users to upload their survey data, then specify the assets of interest and mapping specification. Upon upload, Civil Maps indexes all of the spatial information as defined in the mapping specification into a query-able format. The maps can then be dynamically generated on demand and exported to various tools such as AutoDesk Map3D from Civil Maps, which is useful for integrating into the customers workflow. The biggest pain point in the industry is the time to annotate 3D scans. Currently, processing huge 3D survey datasets is limited by the point­ and ­click annotation speed of the user and the limited resources of the users computer (I/O, CPU, Network, Memory).

    By circumventing these bottlenecks, Civil Maps is introducing a paradigm shift in the workflow of annotating 3D survey data. Advancements in parallel computing and deep learning allows Civil Maps to reduce 2 years of manual annotation work down to 2 days of processing using our cloud infrastructure

     
    Visualization, Point Cloud Analysis, Data Management / Handling deep learning, artificial intelligence, point cloud streaming protocol
    (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)
    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)