I am looking for help. I have done a little bit of geo-registration of images with QGIS. But now, I have been handed some LIDAR data in PCD format (basically x,y,z), But it is not geo-referenced.

I have looked at: Georeferencing LAS files in geographic coordinates (lat/lon) or in cartesian (projected) ones?, but I do not have LAS data, and that article talks nothing about what would work for a GUI to do GeoReferencing, as QGIS provides.

I know the exact area and have obtained a GeoTiff from Google Earth. The entire region is only about 30 acres. So I am assuming that a simple linear transform of the values will be sufficient. But I am was wondering if any GUI tools could help with the conversion (at least getting the ground control points to line up and the linear formula). I have used QGIS to do this for unknown raster data, but this is the first time I have been asked to do this for point cloud.

My simple research has found a ideas, which likely won't work, but maybe someone can tell me what does work:

I have found an interesting free tool called cloud compare which if I understand the demos, I might be able to use (it looks like it needs two point clouds, but I could convert the GeoTiff with FME to a point cloud). I do not have ESRI available. Is Cloud Compare able to do this? How hard would it be?

If we want to put out $400 perhaps the Blue Marble folks can do this with their LIDAR plug in: http://forum.globalmapperforum.com/discussion/7444/georeference-static-lidar-data , does anyone recommend that?

I have also see this in the Matlab Vision Toolkit: http://www.mathworks.com/help/vision/ref/pcregrigid.html#bux42c5

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    Thanks for editing. I don't think this question is opinion-based; the first question seems objective to me. I'd support reopening it. Nov 3, 2015 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


PDAL can do this for you, but not automatically. You need to use something to compute your transformation matrix and then apply the transformation matrix with PDAL's filters.transformation filter. Once you have your transformation matrix, you can use the transformation in a pipeline as shown in the example.

OSGeo4W64 is a binary distribution for Windows that contains this software, or you can build it yourself using Homebrew on OSX. There are RPMs for Linux too at this location, but building on Linux is straight forward. See the compilation doc for more information.


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