Is there a way to convert a DEM raster to a .las file using open source software and/or any tools that come along with a complete ESRI license?

I have been able to achieve this using the LAS Toolset shp2las tool from the UNC website, but this specific tool requires licensing. I have not be able to achieve this using the txt2las tool from the UNC website, though it does not require licensing.

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    Although you may be able to find solutions to this, I would advise caution in doing so. The LAS file format was really only designed to store raw LiDAR point clouds. Each point has information about return numbers, scan angles, GPS times, etc. that do not have equivalents when the data are extracted from a DEM raster. I have seen LAS files that contained data taken from photogrammetrically derived point clouds and it resulted in a great deal of confusion as people tried to figured out where the missing return data was. May 3 '18 at 7:47
  • Is there a way to get flour from bread? if yes, it is still disturbing the purpose and the quality of the final result
    – Marco
    May 3 '18 at 10:54

Using SAGA GIS you can easily convert any raster DEM to a point cloud file (SAGA format) using the Point Cloud from Grid Point tool. Then, you can export the resulting point cloud dataset using Import/Export -> LAS -> Export LAS files tool. Supports LAS format 0 to 3 (SAGA v6.2).

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    The Export LAS File tool will not recognize the file created from the Point Cloud from Grid Point tool. The error is that the tool was "Unable to open LAS file". Do you happen to know a workaround for this? May 2 '18 at 20:16
  • Careful with default settings in export to LAS. Check that X Y Z scale is 1. That might cause problems. May 3 '18 at 22:54

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