LAStools’ BLAST extension can process billions of LiDAR points

Often I get asked about the difference between las2dem.exe and blastdem.exe – the latter being part of the BLAST extension of LAStools. In the academic video from 2006 below, I outline the core technology details behind BLAST, which can seamlessly compute gigantic Delaunay Triangulations from billions of LiDAR points – using very little main memory. The blast2dem.exe module does not store the gigantic TINs that BLAST produces, but immediately rasters the finalized triangles streaming out of BLAST into equally massive DEMs. This avoids to ever having to store such huge triangulations – that are only needed temporarily – to disk. Currently blast2dem.exe can “only” process up to 2 billion points per file – a limitation that shall be lifted soon.

LASzip wins 2012 Geospatial World Forum Technology Innovation Award

April 26, 2012
rapidlasso consulting, Sommerhausen, Germany
The creators of LAStools are the recipient of the 2012 Technology Innovation Award for LiDAR processing at the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam for LASzip – a lossless LiDAR compression software. With LASzip rapidlasso consulting provides a free, efficient, open-source solution for squeezing LAS files into 5 to 13 times smaller LAZ files. LASzip has become a de-facto industry standard for exchanging compressed LiDAR that is used by NOAA, USGS, OpenTopography, Dielmo3D, Fugro, Blom, Riegl, Dewberry, USACE, DNR Minnesota, the Finnish Mapping Authority, and many more … saving government agencies, commercial companies, and end users many TeraBytes of disk storage and transmission bandwidth.

LASzip: lossless compression of LiDAR data

Here is a video of my talk at ELMF 2011 on “LASzip: lossless compression of LiDAR data”.

Airborne or mobile laser scanning technology (LiDAR) collects billions of xyz points that are typically stored in the LAS(er) format. LASzip is a lossless compressor to turn large LAS into smaller LAZ files. Encoding and decoding speeds are 1 to 4 millions points per second and compressed files are only 7 to 25 percent of the original size.Compression and decompression happen on-the-fly in a streaming manner and random-access is supported. A reference implementation unencumbered by patents or intellectual property concerns is freely available with an LGPL-license here.