LIDAR and your software

Jan 19, 2014 | ArcGIS Desktop, ESRI, GIS, Open Source GIS

So I’ve been out of the lidar space for a while. At one point in my earlier career I was learning about photogrammetry with the some of the greats – and then life fortunately took me in a slightly different direction. I remember when lidar first first started making in roads into my former line of work I watched the screaming from some old school photogrammetrists, surveyors, and..well….Me. ArcINFO/ArcGIS used to suck in displaying a point cloud. It might still – I haven’t had the opportunity to ArcGIS and lidar together. the answer to a point cloud was always microstation.

Well – I’ve been following this story and it’s more of a lesson for your GIS program than it is about lidar. So Google+ has it’s advantages currently – I have it fine tuned to throw a whole pile of technical news I enjoy in one spot. I started following this article a few weeks ago. In it the developer of LAStools starts talking about ESRI deciding to go their own way and develop a new format. They had all been working together at one point and suddenly with very little warning there is a press release and a new format and the sales people promise how hot the new format will become….

So for you the user what does that mean? Why do you even care about lidar. Well – when the 900lb gorilla of software suddenly floats out a new format you’ve got the chance it might become standard. Seeing as how there is no source code you get very little choice in the matter. So what – my whole shop is ESRI based…and that may be the case but are the guys you may give this data too ESRI based. What about your surveyors out in the field? What about your clients? What happens when the file goes into ESRI and then comes back out – is it the same?

So now more than ever it’s important that you – the “GIS Guy” pay attention to file formats and the struggle with the word “standards”. Who is right and who is wrong – the process that runs transparently for my .02 cents is the one that is more right.

You may have seen this around – It’s applicable:


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