Monday, March 1, 2010

Create the coverage shape file of flightline LiDAR data

It is useful to be able to visualize the coverage of the LiDAR data captured during an airborne flight especially for large survey areas. I found this tool lasboundary.exe from the free lastools toolkit to be quite useful to generate the coverage outline from the captured flight LiDAR data. The lasboundary executable generates a linear shape file from the LiDAR data points of the source LAS file by fitting a concave hull of all the points. I would have like it to generate the coverage as a polygon instead of a linear geometry but if I have the time, I might modify the executable to do just that. 

Using the lasboundary executable is easy as described below:
  1. In the Windows Command Prompt, to show the help just type in the following:

    C:\> lasboundary -h

  2. To generate the coverage, type in the following:

    C:\> lasboundary -i input.las -o coverage.shp

    The coverage shape file is created and can be displayed.

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