LiDAR Point Cloud Processing with libPC and libLAS

Session Type: 
Tech Session
Howard Butler, Hobu, Inc
Michael Gerlek

Point cloud data, in the form of pseudo-randomly distributed multidimensional XYZ triplets, is rapidly becoming a fundamental data type along with raster and vector data in the GIS domain. Whether collected by expensive laser systems or consumer-grade products such as Kinect, point cloud data are finding uses throughout GIS for tasks such as 3D building modeling and terrain generation. Few open source libraries exist to work with point cloud data, and this talk will focus on libPC ( and libLAS (, two BSD-licensed libraries for manipulating and processing point cloud data. A short survey of the open source LiDAR landscape will be provided along with some demonstration of the capabilities of both libLAS and libPC.

Speaker Bio: 

Howard Butler is the president of Hobu, Inc. and has been active in numerous OSGeo projects including GDAL and MapServer. He is a past member of the OSGeo Board of Directors and is currently developing Open Source LiDAR tools in the form of the libPC ( and libLAS ( libraries.

Michael Gerlek is president of Flaxen Geo Consulting, an open source consultancy located on Bainbridge Island, Washington focused on providing .NET/C# solutions for LiDAR data processing and visualization. Michael is also a charter member of OSGeo, and previously worked for LizardTech, Inc. on the MrSID family of technologies.

Schedule info