So, I have 21 LiDAR files with incorrect information in their file headers. For example, when I import a single file into R using the following code, I get several warnings saying that there are no points found at each return in the file:

# Install lidR package  

# Import one LiDAR file  
las <- dir(pattern = ".las")  
temp <- readLAS(las[i]) 

Warning messages:
1: Invalid file: header states the file contains 0 points but 3408961 were found.
2: Invalid file: the header states the file contains 0 1st returns but 3322862 were found.
3: Invalid file: the header states the file contains 0 2nd returns but 81189 were found.
4: Invalid file: the header states the file contains 0 3rd returns but 4852 were found.
5: Invalid file: the header states the file contains 0 4th returns but 58 were found.

I've been told that I can use LAStools' lasinfo to correct these headers, but I have very minimal experience using these tools, so I'm not really sure how to accomplish this. In my one attempt, I used the executable user interface of lasinfo to "repair" the headers, but that resulted in an exported text file containing the header information - rather than a las file with a corrected header.

Could anyone tell me how I might be able to correct these headers?


Several folks have advised me to use the following code with lasinfo to repair my headers -

lasinfo -i *.las -repair

Doing so resulted in a report for each of my las files, however none of my las files were updated with correct header information. Additionally, they still result in the same warning messages mentioned above when imported into R. Below is one of the reports I received from using LASinfo to attempt a header repair:

(Note: These files had their CRS defined using las2las. This is why their generating software is listed as such. However, the raw files list "lasduplicate (181001) commercia" as their generating software. The reports are otherwise identical).

lasinfo (181219) report for 'F:\Grad School\Thesis\Spatial stuff\GSP Project\West Coast 2016\Use\Projected\job445643_41124_87_20.las'
reporting all LAS header entries:
  file signature:             'LASF'
  file source ID:             0
  global_encoding:            17
  project ID GUID data 1-4:   B50B8F5F-1BD2-4C3C-39AC-01DF4D545CF3
  version major.minor:        1.4
  system identifier:          'LAStools (c) by rapidlasso GmbH'
  generating software:        'las2las (version 160606)'
  file creation day/year:     301/2016
  header size:                375
  offset to point data:       1671
  number var. length records: 2
  point data format:          6
  point data record length:   30
  number of point records:    0
  number of points by return: 0 0 0 0 0
  scale factor x y z:         0.01 0.01 0.01
  offset x y z:               300000 4600000 0
  min x y z:                  399586.17 4636046.09 4.24
  max x y z:                  400155.02 4637160.59 20.35
  start of waveform data packet record: 0
  start of first extended variable length record: 0
  number of extended_variable length records: 0
  extended number of point records: 3408961
  extended number of points by return: 3322862 81189 4852 58 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
variable length header record 1 of 2:
  reserved             0
  user ID              'LASF_Projection'
  record ID            2112
  length after header  1136
  description          'by LAStools of rapidlasso GmbH'
    COMPD_CS["NAD83(NSRS2007) / California zone 1; NAVD88 height",PROJCS["NAD83(NSRS2007) / California zone 1",GEOGCS["NAD83(NSRS2007)",DATUM["NAD83_National_Spatial_Reference_System_2007",SPHEROID["GRS 1980",6378137,298.257222101,AUTHORITY["EPSG","7019"]],TOWGS84[0,0,0,0,0,0,0],AUTHORITY["EPSG","6759"]],PRIMEM["Greenwich",0,AUTHORITY["EPSG","8901"]],UNIT["degree",0.0174532925199433,AUTHORITY["EPSG","9122"]],AUTHORITY["EPSG","4759"]],PROJECTION["Lambert_Conformal_Conic_2SP"],PARAMETER["standard_parallel_1",41.66666666666666],PARAMETER["standard_parallel_2",40],PARAMETER["latitude_of_origin",39.33333333333334],PARAMETER["central_meridian",-122],PARAMETER["false_easting",2000000],PARAMETER["false_northing",500000],UNIT["metre",1,AUTHORITY["EPSG","9001"]],AXIS["X",EAST],AXIS["Y",NORTH],AUTHORITY["EPSG","3489"]],VERT_CS["NAVD88 height",VERT_DATUM["North American Vertical Datum 1988",2005,EXTENSION["PROJ4_GRIDS","g2012a_conus.gtx,g2012a_alaska.gtx,g2012a_guam.gtx,g2012a_hawaii.gtx,g2012a_puertorico.gtx,g2012a_samoa.gtx"],AUTHORITY["EPSG","5103"]],UNIT["metre",1,AUTHORITY["EPSG","9001"]],AXIS["Up",UP],AUTHORITY["EPSG","5703"]]]
variable length header record 2 of 2:
  reserved             43707
  user ID              'LASF_Projection'
  record ID            34735
  length after header  48
  description          'by LAStools of rapidlasso GmbH'
    GeoKeyDirectoryTag version 1.1.0 number of keys 5
      key 1024 tiff_tag_location 0 count 1 value_offset 1 - GTModelTypeGeoKey: ModelTypeProjected
      key 3072 tiff_tag_location 0 count 1 value_offset 26910 - ProjectedCSTypeGeoKey: NAD83 / UTM 10N
      key 3076 tiff_tag_location 0 count 1 value_offset 9001 - ProjLinearUnitsGeoKey: Linear_Meter
      key 4099 tiff_tag_location 0 count 1 value_offset 9001 - VerticalUnitsGeoKey: Linear_Meter
      key 4096 tiff_tag_location 0 count 1 value_offset 5103 - VerticalCSTypeGeoKey: VertCS_North_American_Vertical_Datum_1988
the header is followed by 4 user-defined bytes
reporting minimum and maximum for all LAS point record entries ...
  X             9958617   10015502
  Y             3604609    3716059
  Z                 424       2035
  intensity       14989      65535
  return_number       1          4
  number_of_returns   1          4
  edge_of_flight_line 0          1
  scan_direction_flag 0          1
  classification      2          2
  scan_angle_rank    -7         25
  user_data           0          0
  point_source_ID  1027       1027
  gps_time 145230027.108713 145230068.528501
  extended_return_number          1      4
  extended_number_of_returns      1      4
  extended_classification         2      2
  extended_scan_angle         -1210   4203
  extended_scanner_channel        0      0
number of first returns:        3322862
number of intermediate returns: 0
number of last returns:         3408961
number of single returns:       3322862
number of point records in header is correct.
extended number of point records in header is correct.
number of points by return in header is correct.
extended number of points by return in header is correct.
overview over extended number of returns of given pulse: 3322862 81189 4852 58 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
histogram of classification of points:
         3408961  ground (2)
bounding box is correct.

Additionally, I was advised to use lasvalidate on my raw files. Here is an output from running the following:

C:\LAStools\bin\lasvalidate -i F:\Grad School\Thesis\Spatial stuff\GSP Project\West Coast 2016\Use\*.las -oxml


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<path>F:\Grad School\Thesis\Spatial stuff\GSP Project\West Coast 2016\Use\job445643_41124_87_20.las</path>
<system_identifier>LAStools (c) by rapidlasso GmbH</system_identifier>
<generating_software>lasduplicate (181001) commercia</generating_software>
<CRS>not valid or not specified</CRS>
<summary>warning </summary>
<note>there is a OGC WKT string but its check is not yet implemented</note>
<version>170323 built with LASread version 1.1 (180930) </version>
<command_line>C:\LAStools\bin\lasvalidate -i F:\Grad School\Thesis\Spatial stuff\GSP Project\West Coast 2016\Use\*.las -oxml </command_line>

However, I'm not sure what to make of this. All of the outputs are the same, with only the file name changing between them. Should I be concerned about this 1 warning?

  • 2
    Be careful, as I mentioned here gis.stackexchange.com/questions/306751/… if your files are in format LAS 1.4 this error may also be caused by a partial support of this more recent format
    – JRR
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:46

2 Answers 2


Have a look at the documentation here:


This suggests that simply using the -repair option will be enough and that the operation will be performed in place (i.e. you don't need to specify an output). For example:

lasinfo -i *.las -repair

IMO the GUIs in LAStools are horrible and it's much easier to do everything via the command line.

  • Thanks! So, when I download the LAStools, within the "bin" folder, there are 2 options for me to use: "lasinfo" or "lasinfo64". I'm unable to use the latter (I get an error message if I try). So my only option, I think, is to use the GUI. Of course, when the GUI opens, it is accompanied with a command prompt. However I'm unable to type into it. I should also say, I have never used a command prompt to run any code before, so I might be missing something obvious here. Or maybe I'm looking the wrong folder? Do you have any additional information for me on where/how I enter that code? Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 2:31
  • @PairsaBelamaric, enter those commands in a shell like Windows Command Prompt. Don’t use lasinfo64 directly, always launch lasinfo, with the -cpu64 option if you need a 64-bit version (which you shouldn’t in this case).
    – Gnat
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 4:00

First, as mentioned in JRR's answer to your previous post File header incorrectly reporting 0 point records in R?, check which version the .las files are. If it is 1.4, there is a chance the files (their counting of returns in header) are ok.

Second, gberard's answer already explained how lasinfo should be set in order to fix a file header, so +1 to it.

This answer is a response to your comment about how to run LAStools using command lines (like a tutorial for beginners).

Instead of directly typing the command line in a shell like the Windows Command Prompt, I suggest using a text editor like Notepad++ (easier to type and edit, besides having support for syntax highlighting).

Open the Notepad++ software and save the file (save as) with extension .bat (this means it will become a script which can be run in the Command Prompt).

Alright. Now let's suppose the following:

  • LAStools is installed under directory C:
  • The .las file to be fixed (the input file) is named broken_header.las and it is stored under directory C:\lidar_project\raw_files.
  • The output file (which is .txt reporting all the info in the header and what was changed when using -repair) will be named broken_header_report.txt and will be stored in C:\lidar_project\raw_files\reports

Make a copy of your raw files and save them somewhere else (lasinfo will overwrite your file's headers if there is a problem with them; maybe this is the reason you thought the GUI tool did not work).

Then, type this in Notepad++:

C:\LAStools\bin\lasinfo -i C:\lidar_project\raw_files\broken_header.las -otxt -odix _report -odir C:\lidar_project\raw_files\reports -repair


You can study what each part of this command is doing by reading the lasinfo README documentation. The pause command is to prevent the command prompt window automatically closing after the processing is done. This way you can check if there was any errors during its execution.

Now, save the .bat file. Press F5 (shortcut to Run tab), select the .bat file and run it. Check folder ..\reports to see what was changed. Check folder ..\raw_files and you will see in the date modified tab that the .las was altered (the file won't be modified if there is nothing to be fixed; you can know that by reading the .txt report).

Later, if you want to edit the .bat file script, right click on it and open with Notepad++ (double clicking the file will run it).

This is the command line to batch process all .las files at once.

C:\LAStools\bin\lasinfo -i C:\lidar_project\raw_files\*.las -otxt -odix _report -odir C:\lidar_projects\raw_files\reports -repair

Update: about the lasinfo report (confirmed LAS 1.4 version):

The count of returns is correct. See the header fields extended number of point records: 3408961 and extended number of points by return: 3322862 81189 4852 58, which are in line with corresponding data that follows the report (overview over extended number of returns of given pulse and histogram of classification of points).

Take a look at this post from rapidlasso.com; Create proper LAS 1.4 files with LAStools which gives an example of a LAS 1.4 file created from a previous version (LAS 1.2). The number of point records and number of points by return for the lasinfo report (LAS 1.4) are set to zero and their respective extended fields are correctly reporting the point counts (compare to the lasinfo report from LAS 1.2). This might well have been the case for your files. Note they are the output from a previous analysis with LAStools: generating software: 'las2las (version 160606)', probably the result of a ground point filtering (as the histogram suggests; only class code 2).

So, the warnings you observed in R, as explained by JRR (the lidR developer), are due to a partial support (i.e. a work in progress) from the R side to LAS version 1.4. Depending on the analysis, you may try continue using R carefully and/or search for another software with full support for LAS 1.4.


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