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For a long time I have been using softwares based in Windows to visualize and analyze LiDAR data sets for forest application. Recently I have started to move all my work to Ubuntu platform, but I'm still looking for good softwares to work with LiDAR data sets.

Related to windows the best free softwares experienced by me were:

  1. Just for visualization:

a) Quick Terrain Reader is capable of opening pre-built digital elevation models (DEMs) and point clouds and allows users to freely move through the terrain in a fast and intuitive way. More: www.appliedimagery.com/downloads

b) FugroViewer is a robust, easy-to-use freeware designed to help users make the most of their geospatial data. More: www.fugroviewer.com

c) PointVue LE is a FREE 3-D LIDAR visualization tool which can be used to visualize LIDAR data in ASPRS LAS Version 1.1 format. More: www.geocue.com

  1. For analyze and visualize:

a) FUSION/LDV provides a fast, efficient and flexible access to lidar and terrain data sets. More info: http://forsys.cfr.washington.edu/fusion/fusionlatest.html

Since I moved to Ubuntu it was quite difficult to substitute the softwares I used to use. Up to now I found some alternatives but not so good as the windows based softwares:

  1. For visualization:

a) LiDAR visualization was implemented as an out-of-core multiresolution point cloud renderer. The renderer is able to visualize the largest LiDAR scans we currently have, containing up to 11.3 billion (11.3 * 109) sample points, at interactive frame rates using a fixed-size memory cache. More info: http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev/LiDAR/

b) LAG is a tool for visualisation, inspection and classification of LiDAR point clouds. It currently supports LAS and ASCII file formats. More: http://arsf.github.io/lag/

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything for processing like FUSION.

My point in this questions is: has somebody experienced good free softwares to Linux related to LiDAR files analysis?

Please, do not just list other softwares, but post softwares that you are using and recommend it!

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Are you interested in database approaches too? It seems like storing it in PostGIS would be logical and open up a few other ways to viewing it (but I don't know your work-flow) –  djq Jun 8 '13 at 17:21
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1 Answer

Thanks for the list. However i don't see the defined problem, because basically what you ask is that people search/google for you. For now i go along with your request, but you could do that yourself. In general as you already mentioned the best software is only available for windows systems and you might get along with using WINE for your problem. Besides that:

  • GRASS is obvious your first and best choice and what i have been using most of the time. They even have a wiki-page explaining how to load/convert/analyse/visualize LiDAR data.
  • You can use the nice LAStools and GRASS/SAGA for processing and visualization.
  • Opticks also has LiDAR capabilities if i remember right
  • The BCal LiDAR tools also allow you to visualize LiDAR data (to be used with Envi software. Maybe you can consider using WINE)
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as you noticed in my question I'm asking to share good softwares experiences. If you just google it you will find a lot of alternatives but not exactly the good ones. Here we can share more than links, but knowledge and opinions! –  EBG Jun 8 '13 at 15:14
indeed LASTools is a very good solution, but it is not free! –  EBG Jun 8 '13 at 15:15
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