LiDAR Data Processing Software

10 Nov.,2022


Aerial Remote Sensing

LidarViewer Pro – clean, fast, repeatable LiDAR data processing software

Let’s tackle the biggest challenge of any LiDAR survey – the data processing. The beauty of a LiDAR survey is the fantastic richness of the raw LiDAR data that you capture. Efficient and thorough LiDAR software data processing is crucial to deliver clean, reliable results in a timely and cost-effective way.

Unfortunately, GIS and CAD software have not been developed specifically to process point cloud data. These packages are unable to cope with the sheer volume of LiDAR data collected, they do not handle the data efficiently nor do they offer the specialist tools needed to clean LiDAR data.

We have the solution, LidarViewer Pro, our LiDAR processing software developed specifically with survey, LiDAR and GIS data analysis in mind. You can clean, analyze and visualize your 3D spatial data, turning raw data into actionable business information, achieving powerful outputs that go well beyond the production of a LAS file.

Watch our video to find out more:

The features and benefits of LidarViewer Pro

Feature 1: Impressive data cleaning toolkit

Benefit: Data clarity provides the best results

Your data’s got to be clean. Why? Because with a really clean dataset you can achieve high resolution, quality outputs that are much easier to interpret and as a result, you can be more confident in them. With noise removed, it will be more straightforward to work with your clean data – to thin, robustly apply different algorithms and reduce the volume – making it easier to analyze. And without compromising the quality and resolution of the data. You can then continue to process your data in LidarViewer Pro to produce superbly detailed outputs or export your really clean dataset into another specialist package for further analysis.

Feature 2: Pre-developed filters

Benefit: Achieve results quickly

Over 30 pre-developed filters are ready for you to use to process your LiDAR datasets. You can undertake a variety of actions including cleaning, coordinate conversion, analysis and classification to achieve a rapid turnaround of results.

We’ve developed these filters through customer feedback and processing many Terrabytes of data ourselves so that you don’t have to. Using these filters it’s easy for you to swiftly clean, analyze and visualize your data. This means you can be more productive and process more data in the same timeframe.

The range of filters spans data cleaning, data reduction, coordinate conversion and interfacing to third party software.

Bare Earth tool

Achieving a bare earth model is a typical post-processing goal. In one step in our LiDAR software with the automated Bare Earth tool, you can speedily remove all non-ground points and reveal the ground surface to create a Digital Terrain Model (DTM).

You can also isolate the non-ground features such as vegetation, trees and man-made objects above the ground for analysis, perhaps to determine the variance of tree heights in a woodland or to enable classification.

Use case: Ancient dwellings discovered using the Bare Earth tool.

Read our case study which demonstrates how use of our Bare Earth Tool revealed the remains of 750 year old dwellings in dense woodland at Sand Canyon in Colorado, USA.

Feature 3: Repeatable workflow

Benefit: Increase productivity

Processing huge volumes of raw LiDAR data can be a time-consuming task. In our LiDAR processing software the ability to produce repeatable workflows reduces the time you spend processing data. You can:

  • Join individual processing filters together to design filter chains which will undertake specific processing tasks for you
  • Save and rerun these filter chains time after time to ensure consistency, re-loading them when you have later projects with the same requirements
  • Share filter chains with colleagues to save time and effort
  • Compare and contrast multiple datasets and repeated surveys over time.

Immediately you will save time processing data and improve your productivity. You will achieve your end results quicker to enable informed decisions to be made. Furthermore, as a result of this repetition and consistency, you can measure the quality of your outputs.

Feature 4: One software package

Benefit: Save time and maintain data quality

Our aim is to simplify and reduce the time needed to post-process LiDAR data. By using our toolkit of filters and employing repeatable workflows you can clean, reduce, analyze and visualize your data in one LIDAR mapping software package – LidarViewer Pro This removes the need to:

  • Repeatedly export and then import large datasets between software packages (this is most important)
  • Purchase many different third party software packages
  • Undergo training and learn the nuances of individual software packages.

Did you know that every time you convert and export a file not only does it take time but you lose information? When you export a LAS file it doesn’t store everything and you lose a fragment, for example, the orientation information which is helpful when you wish to undertake a boresight alignment.

Processing your data in one software package means you:

  • Save hours of effort
  • Stop transferring the data from one package to another thereby retaining the quality of your dataset.

Processing as much as you can in one software package makes sense.

Feature 5: Filter Development Toolkit

Benefit: Develop your own specific filters

With the Filter Development Toolkit, you can develop your own bespoke filters, using Microsoft Visual Studio and C++, for your specific project needs. The Toolkit enables you to build your own workflows and batch processes. Of course, you retain the Intellectual Property on the filters you develop.

This flexibility is ideal for Academic and Research Institutions that want to undertake research using different and unique LiDAR algorithms. A utility program is supplied that will create the C++ header file and populate the main code with predefined function calls and parameters. This means that you can concentrate on developing the algorithm rather than handling the internal point cloud structure.

Feature 6: Process datasets from large survey areas

Benefit: Proficient, fast and easy processing

The size of survey areas being captured using LiDAR is continually increasing. For drone based surveys this is due to the endurance of UAVs, which has significantly extended, and the uptake of the technology has increased. For vehicle LiDAR surveys this is due to implementation across much larger projects including national data collection programs.

As a consequence, the amount of data collected during a survey is substantial. Collecting up to 8 Gigabytes an hour, this means Terrabytes of data is collected across a project, with billions of points in the point cloud. The memory and hard disk limitations of workstations, even at the highest specification, means that not all the data can be uploaded at once. A smart and scalable solution is needed to process the many kilometers of data amassed.

LidarViewer Pro LiDAR data processing software is designed to do just that. Data is loaded in dynamically as and when required, similar to how you play a video. As a result the software is infinitely scalable. You can process and export point clouds in a streamlined and automated manner irrespective of the length of the survey. If a specific geographical area does need to be stored in memory, then the 64-bit software takes advantage of the Windows 10 memory and file management features, caching hundreds of Gigabytes of point cloud to disk for very fast and easy processing.

The ability to import multiple LiDAR mapping data files, together with the post-processed trajectory information, into a “Playlist” enables you to easily manage all the data collected across a project in one simple interface. The automated workflow allows you to batch process all the data in one go, applying a series of filter chains to clean, decimate, convert and export the results in a simple manner.

Feature 7: Export in different formats

Benefit: Flexibility and collaboration

You can export data in a variety of formats including LAS, LAZ, ASCII, ESRI ASCII GRID and Geotiff. This flexible exporting enables compatibility with CAD, GIS and specialist contouring and classification software and easy collaboration across teams.

You can convert your data into a variety of different coordinate projections, including Universal Transverse Mercator, Lambert Conical, UK National Grid and Dutch National Grid. The user simply selects a “.prj” file which contains all the information required to perform the projection. This flexible and simple coordinate conversion process greatly simplifies the workflow, and delivers results to your client in the coordinate system of their choice.

Feature 8: Desktop based software

Benefit: Operational autonomy and security wherever you are

Surveys are commonly undertaken in remote, unmapped, difficult to access locations without access to communications including mobile and internet reception. The journey to and from site is often arduous, time consuming and expensive. You, therefore, need to know before you leave the survey site that you have collected all the data you need and to the quality you require to prevent an unnecessary return visit.

This is why we have developed LidarViewer Pro as a desktop based Lidar program. It does not need the internet or data upload of large data files to the cloud to operate. This means you can use it anywhere in the world including all remote locations. You can undertake an on site preliminary review and processing of the raw LiDAR data from your laptop to confirm you have the data you need.

A further advantage is data security. Due to data breaches and hacking increased data security and integrity is becoming more important. Your organization or clients may insist on high standards. This often means the collected data is not allowed to leave your domain, so connecting to a remote and third party hosted server which may be anywhere in the world, is not permitted. Processing the data on the cloud is therefore not an option and it has to be processed locally.

Use case: Collecting UAV LiDAR data in Alaska

In this project to understand the effects of climate change, UAV LiDAR data was collected and processed in an extremely remote and harsh environment – the Arctic tundra in Alaska, USA.

See more about this case study

Feature 9: Quality Assurance reports

Benefit: To verify the accuracy of your survey

Establishing the accuracy and quality of your survey data will substantially increase your confidence in and the value of your data and your final outputs. In our LiDAR software package you can produce a Quality Assurance report to ASPRS standards for every survey you perform to verify your results. The Quality Assurance report will have used the Ground Control Targets that you have deployed in the field as Control and Checkpoints. Lidarviewer Pro is able to automatically identify and extract the points associated with the Targets from the dataset and compare them against the known coordinates to quantify the accuracy that has been achieved.

LiDAR software training and support

You will achieve optimal results easier and quicker with in-depth training and access to responsive technical support. Our experts are on hand to share our knowledge with you. Read more about our training and support.