I've read a few cautions online and heard a few from colleagues. If you don't purchase a license for lastools, the non-open-source functions will somehow degrade your data or results? Is this true? Degrade what? How much? Is this true of the initial free trial copy?

I had not previously been able to discover any details at http://www.cs.unc.edu/~isenburg/lastools/LICENSE.txt.


Many of the LAStool readme files have a paragraph like this:

Please license from martin@rapidlasso.com to use lasclassify
commercially. Please note that the unlicensed version will set
intensity, gps_time, user data, and point source ID to zero,
slightly change the LAS point order, and randomly add a tiny bit of white noise to the points coordinates.

Eg: http://www.cs.unc.edu/~isenburg/lastools/download/lasclassify_README.txt

Other tools add noise in other ways like adding diagonal lines through your output rasters, etc. The free versions are good enough to develop your workflow or verify that the tools are right for you.

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