I've recently come across open data LiDAR files for the city of Vancouver.

I'd like to view it on my Mac (2011. 10.6.6 OS). My intention is to use the LAS file to identify what the tallest trees are in the city.

I did a quick search and it looks like most open source LiDAR programs are running on Windows. Did I miss some? Or do I have to try to set up a Windows virtualization on my Mac (note that for 10.6.6 Mac OS, Virtual Box does not run).


4 Answers 4


Some options:

  • Cloud Compare: Open-source visualization software. A third-party pre-built executable for Mac is available from https://asmaloney.com/software/, or you can build from source. Includes some pretty-good processing tools if you're looking to do work in addition to just looking at the points.
  • plas.io: Web-based visualization. Simple, not many (any?) analysis tools but some decent knobs for customizing the visualization.
  • potree: WebGL-based viewer. I haven't used it in a while but worth checking if those first two don't fly for you.

I would recommend using the Sorted Pulse Data Library (SPDLib). It comes with a very good gui for visualizing LiDAR point data. It takes SPD files but these can easily be converted from las/laz using the software. SPD is open source and can be found here: https://bitbucket.org/petebunting/spdlib


Your best bet is ccViewer that comes with CloudCompare. It supports both Linux and MacOS. For analysis, I would look to tools in Python, R, Julia, or C++.


If you are a Python user, you can use lasio package to open and view .las files (the typical LiDAR file type) on Mac OSX.

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