I'm using ArcScene 10.3 and loaded a LAS file into a LAS Dataset. When I look at the LAS files statistics I can see that there are several classification codes and 7 different returns.

Everything looks OK when I symbolize the LAS dataset points by Elevation. One is able to identify trees, buildings, silos a windmill and other things:

enter image description here

It is also possible to set the Filters to "Ground" and fade out the buildings, trees and the windmill.

The strange thing is, that I only get yellow points when I symbolize the LAS dataset points by Classification (Filters set back to "All"):

enter image description here

When I symbolize the LAS dataset points by Return I even end up with no points at all.

Why is ArcScene able to filter ground points but can't visualize the different returns and classifications?

  • Do you want to specifically visualize it in ArcScene, or would you be also satisfied using other software as well, if possible? Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 17:38
  • Other (free) software is welcome!
    – Simon
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


Fusion will allow 3D visualization by return number and return class (if the .las files contain such information).

Open the software, import a georeferenced background image of the scene (any image, even a blank one, but georeferenced) and then, load the .las files. See here. Select Sample options in the left sidebar and pick up one feature to apply the color palette.

enter image description here

Return to the main screen and use the mouse left button to select an area of interest in the scene. The LiDAR Data Viewer (LDV) window will open with the point cloud colored by the feature of interest.


I also had some trouble working with LAS-files in ArcGIS. I solved that problem by using LAStools (rapidlasso). You can use LAStools for free and it provides plugins for ArcGIS and Erdas Imagine (which I didn't try yet). I would propose using the LASclassify GUI, which can be found in the bin-folder after the installation. For me it worked pretty good creating DEM,DTM etc. from a LAS-file.

  • 1
    I tried LAStools and it's definitely doing a much better job than ArcScene when it comes to visualising LAS points. What I am missing is a symbology where I can see which colour represents which class or return. Is there a way to enable this?
    – Simon
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 16:45

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