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I was passed along some LiDAR data that is in .xyzi ASCII format. I am having trouble figuring out a way to build a TIN or DEM from this data. I brought it in using "ASCII 3D to feature", and subsequently attempted to build a terrain dataset with the new feature. "Create Terrain" seems to work, but when I attempt to "Build Terrain", I am given an error that says "The terrain definition is incomplete or invalid".

I am not sure where I have gone wrong. Should the ASCII data be imported as point or multipoint data? Is there a better way of doing this?

marked as duplicate by Andre Silva, Fran Raga, whyzar, HDunn, Hornbydd arcgis-desktop May 15 at 19:58

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I was able to solve this by opening the .xyzi files in notepad and saving them to .csv. I then used LAStools "txttolas" (very helpful) to convert the x,y,z,i data into .las format.

  • 1
    That works, however for those that don't have LASTools you can generate a DEM using GDAL_Grid gdal.org/gdal_grid.html with the OGR CSV driver gdal.org/drv_csv.html; if you're using QGIS then create a VRT as described in the link and use the interpolation plugin docs.qgis.org/2.8/en/docs/user_manual/plugins/… Esri can have issues with importing directly from CSV, to get around this I use Microsoft Access to import the ASCII as a table in a personal geodatabase then use Make Event layer or create feature class from xy table. – Michael Stimson May 10 at 5:34

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