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Managing LIDAR Data with OpenGeo Suite

We live in an age of exploding geospatial data volumes, as sensors get cheaper and more universally accessible. LIDAR data is no exception: high quality data that was once only affordable for narrow building and infrastructure sites is now routinely collected over entire regions or states. The tragedy of bulk data collection is that often it is used once for a project purpose, and then archived in a desk drawer. The challenge is to store data so that it remains useful and accessible while not creating a data management burden.

Presidential Palace in Haiti from LIDAR data

New LIDAR Features in OpenGeo Suite

OpenGeo Suite 4.0 integrates our newly-developed support for storing and analyzing LIDAR data within a PostgreSQL database. The new Pointcloud extension provides the following features:

  • Random access of small working areas from large LIDAR collections.
  • Aggregation of pointcloud rows into large return blocks.
  • Filtering of pointcloud data using any dimension as a filter condition.
  • Lossless compression of LIDAR data with compression ratios between 3:1 and 4:1.

In combination with the PostGIS extension, even more features are available:

  • Spatial indexing for high speed spatial search and retrieval.
  • Clipping and masking of pointclouds to arbitrary clipping polygons.
  • Conversion of pointcloud data to and from PostGIS geometry types for advanced spatial analysis.

To efficiently load LIDAR and other pointcloud data into the database, OpenGeo Suite 4.0 includes the PDAL pointcloud processing tools. PDAL supports multiple read/write for formats such as LAS, LASZip, Oracle Pointcloud, PostgreSQL Pointcloud and text/csv. In addition, PDAL allows for in-translation processing of data, including reprojection, rescaling, calculation of new dimensions, removal of dimensions, and raster gridding.

Learn more with course materials from Boundless

Try these new features yourself with our LIDAR analysis and visualization tutorial, which walks through loading and analyzing LIDAR data and visualizing it in 3D using KML and Google Earth.

Interested in working with Paul? We’re looking for interns at our Victoria, BC office!