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Is it possible to convert .LAZ to .LAS in QGIS (without LAStools)?

Tools such as r.in.lidar (GRASS) used for conversion of point cloud to raster require .LAS as input, but after much searching around, I haven't been able to find a way in QGIS to convert .LAZ to .LAS...

I would like to know if there is a solution to this that (1) could avoid needing to install LAStools (relvevant for Mac users since LAStools is difficult to install on Mac) and (2) that could also avoid needing to use the command line.

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  • I don't have a Mac so this may be useless info, but I didn't install LAS tools on my Windows. I simply extracted it to a folder as a portable self contained program. Then I use the QGIS plugin to actually make use of it. Other than telling the plugin where to find that LASTools folder in the Processing configuration it's all good to go.
    – John
    Mar 10, 2022 at 14:07
  • You can open the laz file in CloudCompare and save the data as a las file Mar 10, 2022 at 14:19

3 Answers 3

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I believe it will be possible when PDAL 2.4.0 is released and when QGIS starts to use it. From the PDAL mailing list:

We are now in the release freeze period for the PDAL 2.4.0 release. Some upcoming features and capabilities the next release will contain include:

  • LAZ support is now always available and embedded in the PDAL library through its use of the recently relicensed laz-perf library. PDAL no longer requires or supports linking against an external LASzip or laz-perf library. Visit https://github.com/LASzip/LASzip/pull/80 to find out more about LASzip and laz-perf relicensing to Apache Public License from LGPL.
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  • Thank you. This basically answers the question. To be clear, there isn't an option for doing this in QGIS at the moment. You need to find the pdal executable and run the conversion from command line, or use other software like CloudCompare. However, apparently QGIS 3.26 or 3.28 will be facilitating conversion with PDAL out of the box, so that's exciting! Mar 10, 2022 at 19:34
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LASZip

There is a nifty free utility called LASZip (https://laszip.org/), which can be used to both compress and decompress *.LAS<->*.LAZ lidar files:

#Decompress LAZ into LAS:
laszip -i lidar.laz -o lidar_decompressed.las

#Compress LAS into LAZ:
laszip -i lidar.las -o lidar_compressed.laz

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And if you have some Python skills you can use the laspy library. See this example for converting a directory of LAZ to LAS.

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