So the problem is that I have a huge amount of LiDAR tiles (in .laz format), but need only part of them that are within the borders of the city.

When I load all the tiles to LASTools, I have something like on the photo below:


The blue line is the border, everything outside doesn't need to be used.

Is there any LASTools tool that would help me choosing tiles I need?

  • Create Las dataset, right click on it and pick export footprints or similar. With a bit of DOS you can easily copy selected Las files into separate folder.
    – FelixIP
    Aug 19, 2018 at 1:09
  • Could you please describe the shapefiles you are working with? For example, does your tile shp have the laz file name in the attributes?
    – Aaron
    Aug 19, 2018 at 2:11
  • No, shp is just a polygon that represents city border, non related to laz tiles. Aug 19, 2018 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


There is a tools within the open-source WhiteboxTools geospatial library called SelectTilesByPolygon that does exactly what you are asking for. It takes an input directory containing many LiDAR files (LAS files) and an input Shapefile polygon and outputs each of the overlapping LiDAR tiles into a separate output directory. The Shapefile can contain multiple polygons.

In the example below, each green square corresponds to a LAS file contained within a directory. The tool extracted each of the 41 LAS files that overlap with the red polygon (a digitized Shapefile) also drawn on the map.

enter image description here

The tool can be run by command-line, using a simple Python GUI (see below), from the QGIS WhiteboxTools plugin, or from a Python script.

enter image description here

Here is the code needed to script the tool (tutorial found here):

from WBT.whitebox_tools import WhiteboxTools
wbt = WhiteboxTools()

las_files_dir = "/path/to/input/files/"
outdir = "/path/to/output/files/"
polygons = "/path/to/input/files/boundary_poly.shp"
wbt.select_tiles_by_polygon(las_files_dir, outdir, polygons)

The only issue that you may have is that WhiteboxTools does not support the compressed LAZ format, just the common LAS file format. The library also contains the ClipLidartoPolygon (for removing points in a LAS file that fall outside a defined region) and ErasePolygonFromLidar (the opposite) tools, which may be of interest for your purpose.

WhiteboxTools can be downloaded from here and a tutorial on processing LiDAR data can be found here. More details are available in the user manual.


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