Interoperability around the LAS scanning format

The LAS file format is a widely used public file format for the exchange of 3D point cloud data between different data users. Originally developed for the exchange of lidar point cloud data and maintained by ASPRS, it also supports the transfer of any 3D tuple x, y, z. This binary file format provides a solution to the limitations of proprietary systems or generic ASCII file exchange formats used by many companies.

Proprietary systems often restrict data transfer from one system to another, making it difficult to access data. On the other hand, ASCII file exchange formats face performance issues with slow reading and interpretation speeds and large file sizes, even for small amounts of data. Furthermore, all lidar-specific data information is lost when using ASCII.

The LAS file format solves these problems by providing a binary file format that preserves lidar-specific data information without being too complicated. It balances data accessibility with fast processing speeds, making it a reliable and efficient choice for storing and processing your point cloud data.

There are two compressed extensions for LAS formats:

  • The LAZ format uses optimized compression and is open source.
  • zLAS is a proprietary format of ESRI.

The most common extensions for LAS are .las and .laz or zlas for compressed files.

CAD Interop distributes several solutions for preparing, converting, and visualizing your LAS data. Below is a list of our solutions compatible with the LAS file format: