Two ASPRS awards for “pit-free” CHM algorithm

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
July 29, 2015
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

The paper “Generating Pit-free Canopy Height Models from Airborne LiDAR” co-authored by rapidlasso GmbH and published in the September 2014 issue of PE&RS (the journal of the ASPRS) was awarded twice at the IGTF 2015 – ASPRS Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida last May. The paper took home the John I. Davidson President’s Award for Practical Papers (2nd Place) as well as the Talbert Abrams Award (2nd Honorable Mention).

The John I. Davidson President’s Award for Practical Papers (2nd Place).

The “pit-free” CHM paper wins the John I. Davidson President’s Award for Practical Papers (2nd Place) and the Talbert Abrams Award (Second Honorable Mention).

The “pit-free” CHM paper is joint work with Anahita Khosravipour, Andrew K. Skidmore, Tiejun Wang, and Yousif A. Hussin of ITC and University of Twente. It describes a technique that can create raster Canopy Height Models (CHMs) without the so called “pits” that tend to hamper subsequent extraction of individual tree attributes such as number, location, height, and crown diameter. The paper uses data measured in the field by ITC researchers to show that “pit-free” CHMs significantly lower the commission and omission errors in single tree detection.

Side-by-side comparison of a "standard" CHM and a "pit-free" CHM.

Visual side-by-side comparison of a “standard” versus a “pit-free” CHM.

The “pit-free” CHM algorithm can easily be implemented with LAStools either by modifying an available batch script or by executing the LAStools Pipelines distributed with the toolboxes for ArcGIS and QGIS. A detailed blog article that compares various different methods for creating CHMs is available via the Web pages of rapidlasso GmbH.

We at rapidlasso GmbH like to especially congratulate the main author, Ms. Anahita Khosravipour, who managed to get two awards with her very first academic publication. Those who like our “pit-free” CHM algorithm will probably also love the new technique that our team will introduce later this year at SilviLaser 2015 in France.

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.

Trimble joins LASzip sponsors USACE, NOAA, and Quantum Spatial

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
July 13, 2015
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

We are happy to announce that Trimble’s Geospatial Division has become a sponsor of the LASzip compressor. Their contribution as a Bronze sponsor will improve the existing “LAS 1.4 compatibility mode” of LASzip whose creation and maintenance is already being supported by Gold sponsor NOAA and Bronze sponsor Quantum Spatial. The original Gold sponsor of the open source LASzip compressor was USACE – the US Army Corps of Engineers (see http://laszip.org).

The “LAS 1.4 compatibility mode” was created to provide immediate support for compressing the new LAS 1.4 point types by rewriting them as old point types and storing their new fields as “Extra Bytes”. As an added benefit this allows older software (without LAS 1.4 support) to access the newpoint types of LAS 1.4 files that would otherwise be unreadable. All important fields of the new point types 6 to 10 (i.e. those fields that matter to older software) are mapped to the corresponding fields of the older known point types 1, 3, or 5.
bronze_m60_512_275The Bronze sponsorship of Trimble’s Geospatial Division will pay for on-going improvements in the LASzip DLL and – in particular – add support for writing the new LAS 1.4 points in a streaming manner followed by an automated update of the bounding box and the point counters in the header.

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 Trimble’s Geospatial Division:
Trimble’s Geospatial Division provides solutions that facilitate high-quality, productive workflows and information exchange, driving value for a global and diverse customer base of surveyors, engineering and GIS service companies, governments, utilities and transportation authorities. Trimble’s innovative technologies include integrated sensors, field applications, real-time communications and office software for processing, modeling and data analytics. Using Trimble solutions, organizations can capture the most accurate spatial data and transform it into intelligence to deliver increased productivity and improved decision-making. Whether enabling more efficient use of natural resources or enhancing the performance and lifecycle of civil infrastructure, timely and reliable geospatial information is at the core of Trimble’s solutions to transform the way work is done. Visit http://trimble.com/Industries/Geospatial/ for more information.

About Trimble:
Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location – including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions may include software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978, Trimble is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Visit http://trimble.com for more information.

New LASliberator “frees” LiDAR from Closed Format

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
April 20, 2015
rapidlasso GmbH, Gilching, Germany

The latest product by rapidlasso GmbH – creators of LAStools and LASzip – is an open source tool aiming to liberate LiDAR points locked-up in proprietary “Optimized LAS” – a highly controversial, closed LiDAR format. The new LASliberator can be downloaded here. It comes as both, a simple command line tool for scripting and with an easy-to-use graphical interface.

The GUI version of the LASliberaor has a simple and easy-to-use interface.

The GUI of the “LASliberator” has a simple, easy-to-use interface.

The LASliberator reads LiDAR points from closed “Optimized LAS” files that use the “.zlas” extension and converts them to open ASPRS LAS files that use the “.las” extension. Alternatively, the points can be stored to compressed LAZ files – using the open source LASzip compressor – that use the “.laz” extension. In addition, the tool creates tiny spatial indexing files that use the “.lax” extension. These can then be exploited for accelerated area-of-interest queries via open source LASindex when using LAStools or the latest version of the LASzip DLL.

Note that the LASliberator cannot entirely be open source as it depends on a particular proprietry library. The closed nature of the “Optimized LAS” format does not allow for a full open source implementation. It is therefore not possible to port the LASliberator to other operating systems or into other programming languages.

Selecing open in the GUI pops up a file selection dialogue allowing the user to find the file that is to be set free.

The user can select a file to liberate by pressing “open” in the GUI.

The new LASliberator comes on the heels of an outcry in the community over the LiDAR format fragmentation “Optimized LAS” is creating. It provides an immediate solution to go from closed zLAS to open LAZ for people whose LiDAR got stuck in yet-another-proprietary-format.

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.

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/.