Tag: LiDAR

Retrieving LiDAR data from LAS files using LibLAS.

Posted by – Sunday 2012-02-05

LAS is the de facto standard file format used for interchaging LiDAR data, “a public file format for the interchange of 3-dimensional point cloud data data between data users” [note 1] [1]. It has been created by the ASPRS (American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) and the current format version is 1.4 [note 2] [2].

In this post we will see how to retrieve the (x, y, z) data from a LAS file using the LibLAS tools in a Ubuntu Linux environment.

1. Installing LibLAS

In a Ubuntu Linux computer, using the command apt-get to install the package liblas-bin will install the LibLAS utilities [3, 4] plus the required libraries:

$ sudo apt-get install liblas-bin

LibLAS can also be compiled from the source code. On the other hand, MS Windows users can install LibLAS and its associated utilities using OSGeo4w [5].


Efficient LiDAR data bulk load in a PostGIS database.

Posted by – Sunday 2011-02-06

In this post we will see how to efficiently perform data bulk load in a spatial PostGIS database running in a Linux environment, coming the data from an airborne LiDAR survey.

Spatial databases can be used to store data collected in remote sensing Light Detection and Ranging[1] (LiDAR) surveys. LiDAR technology has many applications is forestry, where it is used in the generation Digital Terrain Models and Digital Surface Models[2], estimation of forest fuel variables…

In an airborne LiDAR survey, a LiDAR sensor emits laser pulses towards ground. Laser pulses are reflected when reaching obstacles as trees or the ground and, after a time elapse, echoes are received by the sensor, which records elapsed time and echo intensity. In addition, this kind of sensors have a kinematic Global Positioning System[3] (GPS) and an Inertial Measurement Unit[4] (IMU) that continuously registers the spatial position of the aircraft. Thus, high precision geo-referenced elevation and laser reflection intensity data is collected.

LiDAR surveys produce high volume of data. For instance, as of 2010 a commercial airborne LiDAR survey provided 12 points per square meter, which sums 120,000 points for an area as small as a hectare.

Thus, the problem of efficiently loading LiDAR data in a spatial database arises. The obvious approach, using INSERT queries, will work, but at the expense of consuming a lot of time. In sections 1, 2 and 3 we will see how to achieve efficient bulk data load in PostGIS by using the command COPY[5]. In section 4 some benchmarking is done, comparing the perfomance of data loading with COPY and INSERT.