LAStools Toolbox for ERDAS IMAGINE 2014 Released

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
April 8, 2015
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

The latest release of LAStools from rapidlasso GmbH contains a new toolbox for ERDAS IMAGINE®2014, allowing the users of Hexagon Geospatial’s powerful remote sensing software to utilize the popular rapidlasso LiDAR processing modules. The tools have been fully integrated into the software so that they are also available as operators within the IMAGINE Spatial Modeler framework.

This new ERDAS IMAGINE 2014 toolbox is included in the latest version of the LAStools distribution. This release instantly augments the existing image analysis tools of ERDAS IMAGINE 2014 with the widely-popular point processing capabilities of LAStools. These new tools empower users to validate, quality-check, clean, classify, thin, raster, contour, and compress LiDAR pointclouds in LAS or LAZ formats as well as directly consume and further analyze the resulting raster or vector products with the rich functionality of ERDAS IMAGINE.

Sample LAStools workflow created with the IMAGINE Spatial Modeler.

Sample LAStools workflow created with the Spatial Modeler of ERDAS IMAGINE.

About rapidlasso GmbH:
Technology powerhouse rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

About Hexagon Geospatial:
Hexagon Geospatial helps you make sense of the dynamically changing world. Hexagon Geospatial provides the software products and platforms to a large variety of customers through direct sales, channel partners and other Hexagon businesses. For more information, visit http://hexagongeospatial.com.

Hexagon Geospatial is part of Hexagon, a leading global provider of information technologies that drive quality and productivity improvements across geospatial and industrial enterprise applications. Hexagon’s solutions integrate sensors, software, domain knowledge and customer workflows into intelligent information ecosystems that deliver actionable information, automate business processes and improve productivity. They are used in a broad range of vital industries. Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has more than 15,000 employees in 46 countries and net sales of approximately 3.1bn USD. Learn more at http://hexagon.com.

© 2015 Hexagon AB and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates. All rights reserved. Hexagon and the Hexagon logo are registered trademarks of Hexagon AB or its subsidiaries. All other trademarks or servicemarks used herein are property of their respective owners. Hexagon Geospatial believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. Such information is subject to change without notice.

First LAStools Workshop in Latin America

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
March 9, 2015
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

The week after Easter is poised to see Latin America’s premier LiDAR event of 2015 when LAStools, CloudCompare, and OpenTopography converge for the 3 day NPAC 2015 workshop in CICESE in Mexico. Just across the US border (one hour South of Tijuana) lies the coastal town of Ensenada in Baja California where Dr. Alejandro Hinojosa has done magic to bring together (for the first time) a dynamic group of well-known LiDAR enthusiasts.

The action-packed event runs from April 8th to 10th and includes a full-day course on LiDAR with LAStools by Dr. Martin Isenburg of rapidlasso GmbH, a full-day tutorial on processing point clouds with CloudCompare by its creator Dr. Daniel Girardeau-Montaut, and a day of exciting talks on data portals, landslide detection, commerical drones, structure from motion, and much more. The NPAC 2015 workshop is open to all and registration is free thanks to sponsorship by CONACyT and CICESE. The main language of the workshop will be English.

npac2015

About rapidlasso GmbH:
Technology powerhouse rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

Rapidlasso Teams Up with Carbomap

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
December 4, 2014
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

Just in time for ELMF 2014 in Amsterdam, rapidlasso GmbH and Carbomap Ltd. have teamed up to further the development of tools that better exploit full-waveform LiDAR for the forestry and carbon market. This partnership brings together many years of expertise in processing discrete and full-waveform LiDAR with a wealth of experience in applying this technology within forestry and biomass applications.

The full-waveform tools are built around the PulseWaves format, an open LiDAR format that is the full-waveform sibling of the venerable LAS format, reaffirming a joint committment to support the use of open data formats within the LiDAR industry. Software will be developed both as stand-alone tools as well as for use within the IDL framework.

The use of LiDAR in the forest and carbon industries is expanding rapidly. The new partnership between rapidlasso and Carbomap targets the development of solutions for this growing market. Together the two companies can offer a wider range of tools for vegetation analysis that better exploit the additional information captured by a modern full-waveform scanner, including the newest multispectral instruments.

Antoine Cottin (left), CTO of Carbomap, and Martin Isenburg (right), CEO of rapidlasso, discuss technologie details about their new partnership.

Antoine Cottin (left), CTO of Carbomap, and Martin Isenburg (right), CEO of rapidlasso, discuss technology details about their new partnership.

About rapidlasso GmbH:
Technology start-up rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

About Carbomap Ltd:
Carbomap is an environmental survey company spun out of the University of Edinburgh. The company takes forward over five years of world-class research in the development of a Multispectral Canopy LiDAR, a revolutionary, patent-pending laser scanning instrument designed to fill a gap in airborne forest survey requirements. The founders are international renown for remote sensing methodologies, satellite radar mapping, forest structure mapping, carbon sequestration and airborne survey. Carbomap is currently the only company with tools for analysing multispectral LiDAR for forest applications. Visit http://carbomap.com for more information.

Rapidlasso Announces LASzip “Compatibility Mode” For LAS 1.4

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
October 6, 2014
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

Just in time for INTERGEO 2014 in Berlin, rapidlasso GmbH has completed the first prototype that extends the LASzip LiDAR compressor to the new point types 6 to 10 introduced with the LAS 1.4 specification. Sponsored in part by NOAA, this upgrade introduces the new “Compatibility Mode” for LAS 1.4 that deploys a clever point re-coding strategy so that legacy LiDAR software – without LAS 1.4 support – can readily read the new point types as well.

The new “Compatibility Mode” is realized by re-coding the new point types 6 to 10 of the LAS 1.4 specification into corresponding older point types 1, 3, 4 or 5 of the LAS 1.3 specification and by storing all new attributes (e.g. more classifications, higher-resolution scan angles, wider return counters, …) as “extra bytes”. This results in a lossless and forward-compatible format that has several advantages:
(1) existing legacy software can readily read the re-encoded LAS 1.4 files,
(2) the popular LASzip compressor can trivially compress and decompress re-encoded LAS 1.4 content,
(3) easier adaptation of the new LAS 1.4 point types by mitigating their impact on existing LAS 1.3 workflows, and
(4) extra time gives geospatial players the opportunity to jointly develop the final native LAS 1.4 compressor and avoid fragmenting compressed LiDAR into incompatible formats.

About LASzip:
The LASzip compressor is the de-facto industry standard for compressed LiDAR and supported by numerous software packages (see http://laszip.org or picture below). This open source compression scheme achieves lossless compression ratios from 1:5 to 1:12 and processes several million points per seconds making it winner of the Geospatial World Award for LiDAR Processing in 2012 and runner up for most innovative product at the Wichmann INTERGEO 2012 Awards.

An ever-growing list of software with native LAZ support as well as LiDAR download portals serving LAZ is available at http://laszip.org/.

Esri and rapidlasso develop joint LiDAR compressor

PRESS RELEASE (April Fools’ Day)
April 1, 2014
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

In a positive spin of events, Esri and rapidlasso are announcing to join forces and together develop a LiDAR compressor for LAS 1.4 in open source avoiding unnecessary format fragmentation. Their new “LASeasy” tool not only compresses but also optimizes LAS files for efficient area-of-interest queries. LASeasy extends the popular LASzip compressor to handle LAS 1.4 content and includes the tiny spatial indexing *.lax files into the *.laz file via Extended Variable Length Records (EVLRs). More importantly, LASeasy provides new features such as optional spatial sorting and precomputed statistics – motivated by Esri – that allow exploiting LiDAR in the cloud.

To minimize disruption in existing workflows, their joint effort uses a clever strategy that capitalizes on the natural “break” in the ASPRS LAS format from version 1.3 to 1.4. LAS files compressed by Esri will automatically be upgraded to the new point types introduced with LAS 1.4 (and be losslessly downgraded on decompression). LiDAR software already supporting LAZ will instantly be able to read all LiDAR produced by Esri with the same DLL update that will be needed to access future compressed LAS 1.4 content – achieving maximum compatibility with minimal disruption for users of ArcGIS, LASzip, and the larger LiDAR community,

Martin Isenburg, chief scientist and CEO of rapidlasso GmbH, was all smiles during the announement. “Yes, I had some hard feelings when hearing about their ‘LAZ clone‘ because our presumed open dialogue suddenly felt so very one-sided,” he said, “So over Martin Luther King weekend I proposed this LAS 1.4 trick as a joint development quoting MLK’s ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope’ and that seemed to resonate with them.” Speaking on the condition of anonymity an executive of Esri’s management added “For a global geospatial player like us it can happen that we do something ‘evil-by-accident’. We occasionally need someone like Martin to poke some good-natured fun at Esri to remind us of our values.”

LASeasy optimizes LAS files by reordering points along an adaptive space-filling curve for efficient LiDAR queries in the cloud. To access the corner of the LiDAR tile only the points shown in blue need to be loaded and decompressed.

LASeasy optimizes LAS files by reordering points along an adaptive space-filling curve for efficient LiDAR queries in the cloud. To access the corner of the LiDAR tile only the points shown in blue need to be loaded and decompressed.

Warming up for ILMF 2014, rapidlasso puts lean yet plush “LASlayers” on LiDAR

PRESS RELEASE
February 14, 2014
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

As a sweet foretaste to ILMF 2014, the creators of LAStoolsLASzip, and PulseWaves are announcing “LASlayers” already on Valentine’s Day. The new functionality nicely complements their popular and widely-used LiDAR compressor making the compressed LAZ files editable for most practical purposes. LASlayers significantly reduce I/O load for writing modification to LAS or LAZ files, especially when batch-processing LiDAR tiles on many cores in parallel or when sending changes to LiDAR files across bandwidth-limited networks.

Conceptually LASlayers add

LASlayers store modifications and additional  attributes to raw LAS or LAZ files in small LAY files avoiding to replicate data that has not changed.

Most point attributes (e.g. coordinates, intensities, scan angles, GPS times, etc.) are not modified when processing LiDAR. LASlayers avoids re-writing the unchanged portions of LAS or LAZ by storing only the actual differences layer by layer to a new “LAY” file. Changing the point classifications or deleting a few points, for example, can be done with LAY files that are just a tiny fraction of the size of a new LAS or LAZ file. Adding new attributes such as RGB colors or the height-above-ground with LASlayers means only this new information needs to be written.

This also provides simultaneous access to different versions of the data: a LiDAR server or a Web portal can store only a single copy of the raw LiDAR and apply LASlayers as needed on-the-fly, for example, to replace ellipsoidal with orthometric elevations or to add RGB colors.

Even users of other LiDAR processing software can readily take advantage of LASlayers with the new “laslayers.exe” tool that computes the difference between a raw and a modified LAS or LAZ file and expresses it as a LAY file (assuming the point order has not changed). A typical use case is the exchange of modifications to LiDAR files between remote locations such as a vendor in Australia or Canada and a data processing center in China or India. Instead of up- and downloading the entire modified LAS or LAZ files, only the much smaller LAY files need to be send back and forth.

A fully featured prototype of LASlayers is available (10 MB including data) together with three simple exercises that illustrate the concept and allow interested parties to test it already today on their own data.

Call for Input on Compression of LAS 1.4

PRESS RELEASE
January 21, 2014
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

The creators of the widely-used open source LiDAR compressor LASzip are issuing a “Call for Input” for extending the popular LAZ format to the new point types 6 to 10 that were introduced with the LAS 1.4 specification. Their LiDAR technology company rapidlasso GmbH invites all interested parties to “The LAS room” for an open discussion: “As LAZ has gained significant traction in the community we want to involve stakeholders across industry, academia, and government,” so Dr. Martin Isenburg, founder of rapidlasso GmbH.

Recent conversations with large agencies suggest that LAS 1.4 is not yet being tendered and that there are no significant LAS 1.4 holdings. “So we have some time,” says Dr. Isenburg, “No need to rush and put out a half-baked solution. I have the feeling LAS 1.4 will stay with us for a while, so we better get it right.”

The LASzip compression scheme will not change for LAS 1.X files that only contain point types 0 to 5 to guarantee “forward-compatibility” with older, already existing LAZ readers. “The new point types,” so Dr. Isenburg, “provide a unique opportunity to enhance the compression scheme further.”

Apart from the improvements mentioned in the LASzip journal paper, one change worth discussing is whether to encode GPS time stamps, RGBI colors, and WavePackets separately from other point attributes to allow selective reading of compressed files. Plain visualization, for example, does not need GPS time information. Another consideration is (optional) spatial indexing using LASindex. The new concept of “Appended VLRs” in LAS 1.4 allows appending the tiny LAX files of LASindex to the end of a LAZ file.

Dr. Isenburg asks especially those who do not yet use LAZ (for technical reasons) to join “The LAS room” and contribute suggestions: “Let’s make LASzip with LAS 1.4 support not only a better LAZ, but also your LAZ.”

LAX files contain a quadtree to describe which parts of a file have to be loaded to get all points within an area of interest

The LAX files of LASindex contain a quadtree that describes which parts of the file need to be loaded to get all points within an area of interest.

rapidlasso selects LIDAR Technology Co. as first LAStools reseller

PRESS RELEASE
October 7, 2013
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

Just in time for INTERGEO 2013, the creators of LAStools and LASzip have partnered with LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd. of Zhubei City, Taiwan as their first exclusive reseller for the Taiwanese market. The two companies decided to strengthen their ties after holding a successful LiDAR processing workshop together with over 60 attendees following the International Symposium on Mobile Mapping Technologies (MMT 2013) in Tainan City last May. “We were looking for a partner with a strong technical mindset who is committed to capacity building,” says Dr. Martin Isenburg, founder of rapidlasso GmbH, “and LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd. is investing in R&D – including full waveform LiDAR – and has strong ties to academia. We couldn’t have found a better collaborator.” Dr. “James” Jin-King Liu, the CEO of LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd. concurs “our companies are a great match. LAStools is already widely popular in Taiwan, yet to employ them to their fullest potential can require some guidance. Our company has the technical expertise to provide this kind of support locally.”

About rapidlasso GmbH:

Technology start-up rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

About LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd.:

LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd. was founded in 2010 out of the airborne LiDAR team of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a National Laboratory in Taiwan. Their primary business is research, development, and application of earth observation, geoinformatics, and location-based services. LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd. performs acquisition, handling, and analysis of space-borne and airborne data with a focus on LiDAR, including full waveform, for which the company has developed own specialized solutions for their customers. Types of applications include mineral resources, geological mapping, geo-hazards studies, land-use and land-cover mapping, coastal zone mapping, forestry mapping, …  visit http://www.lidar.com.tw for more information.

With CEO "James" Jin-King Liu and CFO Ian Hsu in front of the office of LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd.

With CEO “James” Jin-King Liu and General Manager Ian Hsu in front of the office of LIDAR Technology Co., Ltd.

rapidlasso adds LAStools LiDAR processing toolbox to QGIS

PRESS RELEASE
September 30, 2013
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

At the code sprint following the FOSS4G 2013 conference, rapidlasso GmbH completed a toolbox that exposes the extensive LiDAR processing capabilities of the LAStools software suite within QGIS. QGIS (previously known as “Quantum GIS”) is a comprehensive desktop geographic information system that is free and open source software (FOSS). QGIS has seen rapid growth in acceptance as a viable and cost-effective alternative to the commerical ArcGIS products of ESRI. The newly integrated “Processing” framework (previously known as “SEXTANTE“) allows to combine the LiDAR functionality of LAStools with native raster and vector operations of QGIS as well as capabilities of other popular GIS packages such as GDALGRASS, SAGA, TauDEM, PostGIS and the (geo-)statistics package R. Detailed instructions on how to add the new LAStools toolbox to QGIS are available here.

About rapidlasso GmbH:
Technology start-up rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

Exhibiting at LiDAR Technologies 2013

PRESS RELEASE
August 22, 2013
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

This week rapidlasso GmbH is exhibiting its LAStools LiDAR processing software in tropical Cairns (Australia) at the LiDAR Technologies 2013 conference that is emerging as the premier LiDAR event in Australia. This marks the first time that rapidlasso is acting as a sponsor with its own exhibition booth on the showfloor. During the technical program rapidlasso is providing an update on the recently released PulseWaves open data exchange format for storing full waveform LiDAR data. The PulseWaves DLL is now fully integrated into the RASP software of Airborne Research Australia (ARA) at Flinders University in Adelaide and full waveform data is showcased that was recently acquired by ARA as part of a TERN AUScover campaign.

About rapidlasso GmbH:
Technology start-up rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit http://rapidlasso.com for more information.

Toby Clewett Senior Geospatial Analyst at Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Having a laugh with Toby Clewett (Senior Geospatial Analyst at Sunshine Coast Regional Council) and Anne Henderson (catchement modeler and spatial analyst CSIRO Land and Water) at the rapidlasso booth