Process LIDAR command

The Process LIDAR command provides numerous advanced LIDAR processing tools, including point cloud classification filtering, extraction of buildings and other structures, dramatically faster surface generation, and much more.

  • Processing of point cloud files
  • Advanced filtering options to efficiently remove erroneous or unneeded points
  • Merging multiple LIDAR data sets
  • Trimming LIDAR data
  • Thinning LIDAR data

To use the Process LIDAR command, the user must have the LIDAR data layer loaded in the project. Review this knowledge base article on how to load an elevation layer.

Follow these steps to process the LIDAR data:

  1. From the Map Edit ribbon menu, select the Process LIDAR command.

Process LIDAR dialog box

  1. The Process LIDAR dialog box will be displayed.

Process LIDAR dialog box

The following sections describe Process LIDAR command and how to interact with the above dialog box.

Select LIDAR Layer to Process

This section controls the selection of the LIDAR layer to be processed from the available LIDAR layers contained within the project.

From the Existing LIDAR layer entry, select the LIDAR elevation layer that needs to be processed. Upon selecting the LIDAR elevation layer, the software will display the number of points contained in the LIDAR layer and the coordinate reference system (CRS) for the layer.

Merge LIDAR Data

This section allows the user to select additional LIDAR layers to include and merge into the exported LIDAR file.

Trim LIDAR Data

This section allows the user to trim down the extents of the exported LIDAR file. There are two methods for defining the data extents from the Map View.

  • User-defined limits: The user can define the limits for the LIDAR data to be exported for. Click the [Pick] button. The dialog box will temporarily disappear and an information message will be displayed to the user on the status line. Click and drag a rectangular region for defining the LIDAR data limits. After releasing the mouse, the user will be returned to the dialog box. A layer will be created with a rectangular box to represent the selected user-defined region.
  • HEC‑RAS model extents: If a HEC‑RAS model has been defined, this option will create a bounding rectangular region the same size as the HEC‑RAS model reaches and cross sections, plus an additional buffer boundary.

Filter LIDAR Data

This section is used to filter the LIDAR data based upon each LIDAR’s point classification. By default, the filter is set to filter everything out except for Ground (i.e., Bare Earth). The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) has defined a list of classification codes for LIDAR. Example classes include:

  • Ground
  • Vegetation (low, medium and high)
  • Buildings
  • Water
  • Unassigned

A point can be classified into more than one category.

Thin LIDAR Data

This section is used for thinning large data sets.

Point clouds and LIDAR data sets can contain billions and billions of points. Many of the points are redundant and do not add any additional definition to the surface or object that they are describing. And, when attempting to load these large data sets, they can severely slow down your computer as it struggles to load the data into memory. The thinning options provided allows these redundant LIDAR points to be removed.

Processed LIDAR Specifications

This section defines how to save the LIDAR data after it has been processed.

Click the […] button for the Processed LIDAR file entry to specify the directory location to save the processed LIDAR file.

Processing the LIDAR Data

After the options have been defined, click the [OK] button and the software will process the LIDAR data and save it as a new LIDAR file.

In addition, after the LIDAR data has been processed the software can then load this LIDAR data as a new layer in the Map Data Layers panel.

About the Author Chris Maeder

Chris Maeder

Chris is an experienced civil engineering and software technology leader, with over 30 years industry experience. With proven expertise in global software development, he has built engineering teams that adapt quickly, focus on what’s important and, most importantly, deliver. He is a licensed professional civil engineer with extensive experience in water resource engineering. He has performed and supervised engineering projects in urban stormwater drainage, transportation and roadway drainage, storm sewer design, detention pond design, stormwater quality, green infrastructure, watershed management planning, wastewater sewers, water distribution networks, pump stations, FEMA flood studies, bridge and culvert design, bridge scour and armoring, dam failure analysis, seepage and groundwater modeling, and environmental permits.

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