NOAA's CSC helps to fund LASzip for new LAS 1.4 point types

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Martin Isenburg

Sep 12, 2014, 11:42:51 AM9/12/14
to LAStools - efficient command line tools for LIDAR processing, The LAS room - a friendly place to discuss specifications of the LAS format

i am happy to announce that LASzip has found its second Gold sponsor
with NOAA's Coastal Service Center (CSC) to help advance the popular
LiDAR compressor. Our first Gold sponsor who provided the seed funding
funding for LASzip been by US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Cold
Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). Proper
sponsorship acknowledgement will eventually be permanent on
http://laszip,org (see also below).

The feature supported by NOAA is a new '-compatible' option for laszip
that allows encoding one of the new point types 6 to 10 in such a way
that most older already existing software that can read only LAS 1.1,
LAS 1.2, or LAS 1.3 (compressed or uncomressed) can at least read and
process the LAS / LAZ files. This is achieved by temporary
"down-grading" of the new point types 6 to 10 to the corresponding
point type 1 to 5 and hiding of their new attributes (wider
classifications, higher resolution scan angles, overlap bits, ...) as
extra bytes.

Software using the newest LASzip or LASlib API will read those points
as LAS 1.4 with new point types. Older software can not access the
newest features but still read those points as corresponding LAS 1.1,
LAS 1.2, or LAS 1.3 content. I now have an early prototype is
available and would like to discuss the details in the open. If you
are interested to participate this will exclusively happen in "The LAS
room" and not in the LAStools user forum so you will need to join
there to get my next message on this:

Before you cry out "No ... we want pure LAS 1.4 and no hybrids!!!" let
me reassure you that we have the same goal. This compatible LAS 1.4
compression is meant as a temporary compression scheme that will
already work with existing LAS/LAZ readers. This makes it easier for
folks to tender LAS 1.4 because they can esily convert their data to
this '-compatible' format (without loosing infromation) and process it
with existing software. Once there is a lot of LAS 1.4 content the
software vendors will more quickly adopt the full LAS 1.4
specification and we can move on to pure LAS 1.4 compression.

This also gives us more time to finalize a LASzip 1.4 compressor and
opens the possibility for ESRI and rapidlasso to put their differences
aside and realize that joint LAS 1.4 compression scheme in open source
by combining ESRI's needs with those of the community yet building on
the success of LASzip. We had presented this idea as an April's Fools
Day joke but that was in fact a very serious both suggestion and

Finally, if you think that LASzip saved you lots of time and money and
you want to see more compressionawesomeness your company or agency can
join USACE and NOAA in supporting LASzip at any of the serious sponsor
levels that directly pay for new features either in part or in full:

* Golden (USD10000+)
* Silver (USD5000+)
* Bronze (USD2000+)
* Wooden (USD 1000+)

For those who want to show support for open formats or who want to
give back because LASzip helps them in their everyday work there are
some options to contribute at the somewhat funnier supporter levels
... (-;

* Chicken (USD 500)
* Bantam (USD 400)
* Rooster (USD 300)
* Pullet (USD 200)
* Chick (USD 100)
* Yolk (USD 50)


Martin @rapidlasso

PS: If USACE and NOAA were okay with this we could also stay
farm-consistent and rename the four serious sponsor levels to Bull,
Cow, Pig, and Goat ... (-;

Kirk Waters - NOAA Federal

Sep 12, 2014, 12:13:19 PM9/12/14
to, The LAS room - a friendly place to discuss specifications of the LAS format
Thanks for your hard work on this. I look forward to trying it out. Regarding your PS at the end, as a NOAA staff member with no business stating a NOAA position on anything, I believe the naming of the sponsor levels is completely a private sector matter that government should not influence. The farm-oriented levels are fine with me. You can even toss in some vegetables if you'd like (pea pod = USD 1 maybe).

Kirk Waters, PhD                     | NOAA Coastal Services Center
Applied Sciences Program       | 2234 South Hobson Ave
843-740-1227                          | Charleston, SC 29405    

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