An Introduction to LAS File Analyst

In 2016 we added a very powerful new tool to LP360 (standalone version) called Feature Analyst.  This is a tabular-driven tool that synchronizes a table view of Features, Feature Parts and Vertices with their graphical representation in the Map and Profile views.  This tool has improved the creation, editing and quality checking of features such as breaklines by an order of magnitude.

We are now working on a new analyst tool for LAS files.  LAS File Analyst is being created to satisfy the needs of our government customers who accept LIDAR data (e.g. the USGS, the USDA, USACE and so forth) as well as those who prepare LIDAR data for delivery to these agencies.  Like Feature Analyst, LAS File Analyst is a powerful, tabular-based tool that will allow you to review, analyze and repair some LAS file issues.

LAS File Analyst has several very important applications:

  • Viewing LAS file header data – sometimes you just need to review the overall content of a LAS file. This is useful when you want to know things such as the date of acquisition, the file version, the number of points, returns and so forth.  This has been available in LP360 for some time in the File Open section of the program.  However, this was not useful if you wanted to examine a file header once you had loaded files.  Now you can easily view these data at any time during your LP360 session.
  • Scanning the file content – as anyone experienced in dealing with data knows, just because it says it in the header does not mean it is true! LAS File Analyst can scan files selected in the tabular view, reading all data points in the file and displaying the actual content.  Based on feedback regarding our original design from Dr. Al Karlin of Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), we enhanced this section of the tool to include very useful information such as the top 10 Point Source IDs in the file.  A truly useful addition.
  • Analyzing the File for LAS compliance – this function tests the header and scans file content to ensure that it is in compliance with the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) LAS Specification. There is an options dialog that allows you to set the tests that you would like to perform.
  • Repair – this is a powerful set of tools that allow you to repair and/or edit the content of LAS files. For example, you will be able to manually write header information, repair erroneous point counts and so forth.  This tool should make quick work of fixing files that are being rejected by recipient organizations for LAS compliance violations.

Viewing, scanning and analyzing are licensed at the Basic level.  Repair is licensed at the Standard level.  I’ll provide a bit of an overview of the tools in LAS File Analyst.  We will soon be posting an experimental (EXP) release of LP360 that will allow those on current maintenance to try out this new tool.

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Lewis Graham has written 65 articles