Is it possible to translate .las files to .pcd with PDAL? If so, using which tool? I need an example about how to set the command-line with such tool.

If it is not possible (or alternatively), is there other open source software that can translate .las to .pcd?


2 Answers 2


The PDAL PCD Writer can write .pcd files. For it to work, you must have linked the PCL libraries at compile time. The PDAL OSGeo4W build does not have PCL support. If you are unable to build PDAL with PCL support yourself, one possibility is to use PDAL's Docker containers to achieve your task -- those have PCL linked.

Then, simply run pdal translate:

Using your own PDAL build with PCL linked:

pdal translate input.las output.pcd

With Docker:

docker run -v /c/Users/hobu/:/data pdal/pdal:1.5 ^
       pdal translate /data/input.las /data/output.pcd
  • Thanks Howard Butler For this my finding also V Near to this Thanks Again :) But Howard I am stuck on 1 point and can't move further /Don't find any suitable solution Please Share Your Expert Opinion /Experience in this Regard Classified an UnClassified .las file For more please see this post gis.stackexchange.com/questions/251053/…
    – ahmad735
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 7:26
  • pdal translate -i test.las -o test_out.pcd Gives This error ""PDAL: Couldn't create writer stage of type writers.pcd"" @howard I also Find this Issue on GIT HUB (Issues Section ) and I Don't How to Resolve This For More Please See This LINK github.com/PDAL/PDAL/issues/1410
    – ahmad735
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 7:34
  • Sir Same Error ON pdal Translate first.pcd -o test.las ""PDAL: Couldn't create writer stage of type reader.pcd""
    – ahmad735
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 9:02
  • @Howard Butler, thanks you for the code. The conversion is working well, but output file doesn't preserve original coordinates, changing into some local coordinates. Do you know how to preserve them?
    – Sher
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 1:43

As commented here, if you get error:

PDAL: Couldn't create writer stage of type writers.pcd

Basically it says, there is no PCL plugin. Hence, you should show library or rebuild PDAL with PCL plugin option to check for build.

First check,

pdal --drivers

There must exist writers.pcd Write data in the Point Cloud Library (PCL) format.

If the plugin does not exist, you should follow this: https://github.com/PDAL/PDAL/issues/1837. And also read the FAQ.

  • I have created the .pcd but this file when visualized, I see nothing in viewer. pcl-pcl-1.12.1/pcl_viewer (Working on Ubunty 20.04) I see this error when viewer is running: [fromHandlersToScreen] PointCloud </home/ajit/Downloads/point_clouds/low_quality.pcd-0> requested with an invalid geometry handler (PointCloudGeometryHandlerXYZ)! [updateColorHandlerIndex] PointCloud with id </home/ajit/Downloads/point_clouds/low_quality.pcd-0> doesn't exist! .las file i have converted is export from PIX4D Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 11:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.