internal structure of ESRI's LAS Dataset file (*.lasd)

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Martin Isenburg

Oct 10, 2013, 6:14:31 AM10/10/13
to LAStools - efficient command line tools for LIDAR processing

There are some *huge* improvements to the LAStools functionality
within ArcGIS coming up and as I finalize this release I was wondering
how to make lastile.exe directly populate a LAS Dataset that
afterwards be exploited within ArcGIS 10.1 and 10.2 *without* having
to add the tiles manually to the LAS Dataset. I assume that I could
script ArcPy to do this under the hood but this would have two
disadvantages. I culd not longer support ArcGIS 9.3 and - a lot worse
- all the produces LAS files would have to be read yet once more to
populate the exact statistics of the LAS Dataset, which I would rather
collect "on-the-fly" as the tiles are output.

Has anyone seen any documentation that describes the LAS Dataset's
internal format or "reverse-engineered" their own? I saw that this was
just done for ESRI's GDB format.



Martin @rapidlasso

PS: Looking at the program for SPARELMF it looks like I will be
finally meeting Clayton Crawford who is the product lead for LiDAR in
ArcGIS. Oh ... you can meet him too. Check out the awesome ELMF track
of the program:

Martin Isenburg

Mar 12, 2015, 10:13:29 AM3/12/15

there was a time when I believed that ESRI joining the ARPRS LAS Working Group and adding LAS support to their ArghGIS platform was a blessing for our LiDAR community (see the older message below). At the time they had just released their "LAS Dataset" container format *.lasd. I was thinking that having an "overview" kind of file for folders containing a large number of LAS or LAZ tiles would be of general interest to anyone processing large number of LiDAR files so I asked ESRI several times if they could share the internal structure of their "LAS Dataset" container format *.lasd with me. After all, they did have an agreement that allowed FME to read and write it and it would seem silly to reinvent the wheel for a straight-format task like listing bounding boxes, densities, and point count information together with file names in an overview file. I would have loved to import and export the (assumingly rather simplistic) ESRI "LAS Dataset" container format *.lasd from and to LAStools so that users of both - ArghGIS and LAStools - would be able to benefit from these *.lasd files. To my dismay ,ESRI refused to share this information with me. It seemed odd as they had just joined the ASPRS LAS Working Group whose objective is to ease the exchange of LiDAR information across different software platforms.

In the meantime I have become quite disillusioned about ESRI's true intentions when it comes to LiDAR formats [1,2,3,4] and still wonder what their actual motivations were when they joined the ASPRS LAS Working Group [5].

But the main reason I am writing this ... has anyone reverse engineered the ESRI "LAS Dataset" container format *.lasd yet?
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