I am looking to host lidar data on my own server and give clients the ability to view that data through a web browser as a 3D point cloud (file would be in .las format or equivalent), possibly with the ability to measure features.

Does anyone know of an easy to implement piece of software that can do this?

I am not nessecarily looking for open source, and I would prefer something plug and play because I am not a programmer.

  • Maybe something html5...
    – jtgis
    Nov 13, 2013 at 21:33
  • I am looking for something that someone else has possibly implemented, it does not have to be free. An example that I can download and host on my server and replace their point cloud with mine would be preferable.
    – jtgis
    Nov 13, 2013 at 22:47
  • I am not looking for something opensource so my question is not a duplicate. They also were using openlayers I want something stand alone.
    – jtgis
    Nov 14, 2013 at 3:26
  • Also following the link in the answer of the duplicate question it specifically says it is not for visualization.
    – jtgis
    Nov 14, 2013 at 3:35
  • 1
    Also, it seems like the answer on the other page is incomplete or not very helpful! @J-roc, if you edit your question to show what you've tried already and why it doesn't work for you, it would help.
    – Simbamangu
    Nov 14, 2013 at 7:12

9 Answers 9


I'm a little late to the party but here is another suggestion: http://potree.org/

It's an open souce, WebGL based point cloud viewer I've been working on for quite a while.

== UPDATE ==

It can render large amounts of colored point clouds. LIDAR data without colors will be supported soon.

Potree is based on three.js which means, you can also do everything that three.js offers, like rendering meshes, splines, lights, shadows, etc.

enter image description here

== OLD ==

Here is a nice demo: http://potree.org/demo/pompei/pompei.html
And here is a showcase from pix4d using potree: http://pix4d.com/discover-interact-3d-pointclouds/

Source code is available at github: https://github.com/potree/potree

And currently I'm working on a rewrite from scratch as a three.js based project: http://potree.org/demo/potree_rewrite/

This rewrite will have to advantage, that you will be able to use everything three.js has to offer as well, once it's finished.

  • @J-roc By the way, since you were interested in support for mobile devices. I noticed that the three.js based rewrite works perfectly fine on my samsung galaxy s4 active(opera and firefox). Even rotation and zoom work using drag&pinch gestures. It will take some time before this rewrite will be stable, though.
    – Markus
    May 1, 2014 at 7:54
  • how to use three js things in potree ? I am unable to add axishelper in potree scene. Please help! Oct 31, 2022 at 9:53

plas.io is pretty nice and very easy to get going quickly. I presume the performance to be dependent on the client's ram and cpu. I had no trouble with ~350mb raw .las file in Firefox. .laz files will load faster than .las, because they're compressed and copy faster. There is no content difference once loaded however.

To load your own data click the word [Browse] in the drop down chooser (instead of the downward arrow on the right).

A screenshot (labels added after):


Github source: https://github.com/verma/plasio


iTowns - https://github.com/iTowns/itowns

What is it?

iTowns is a web framework written in Javascript/WebGL for visualisation of 3D geographic data allowing precise measurements in 3D. Its first purpose was the visualisation of street view images and terrestrial lidar point cloud. It has then been extended to handle more data types.

Supported data types:

  • Oriented images
  • Panoramic images
  • Point Clouds
  • 3D textured models
  • WFS Vector

See http://itowns.github.io/ for more informations.


You could look at Cesium.

A local city GIS office showed a demo of an LiDAR point cloud using Cesium at a recent conference. I don't recall if you could measure in it, but you could at least zoom, pan and rotate around.

Sandcastle demo: https://cesiumjs.org/Cesium/Apps/Sandcastle/?src=3D%20Tiles%20Point%20Cloud.html&label=3D%20Tiles


A quick Google search turned up:

  1. Spar Point Group has a nice writeup on several web-based point cloud viewers at http://www.sparpointgroup.com/blogPost.aspx?id=3879
  2. This viewer is just too cool: http://lidarview.com/
  3. PointCloud looks promising, and supposedly is free: http://pointcloud.io/
  • 1
    I have looked at these options and it seems that the sparpoint article examples use strange formats. The lidarview.com one just loads point clouds it does not allow you to host your own version with your own point clouds on your own server. And the pointcloud.io, I see no where that it actually opens point clouds it has more to do with augmented reality.
    – jtgis
    Nov 13, 2013 at 22:42
  • The first and last urls are dead.
    – Aaron
    Jan 23, 2017 at 21:47

I have written a viewer that uses a data management system where you can upload your files and then using the viewer can see the LAS in your browser. It uses WebGL so no plugin is required. While this open-source work is currently in active development, I will appreciate any feedback.




For what I was looking for this seems to be my best bet, but it does not work on mobile devices as far as I can tell.





Check this out, they have samples on the "try now page". No limits on size, LiDAR and other xyz data types in the web browser, with no plugins and polished WebRTC collaboration. This company has been privately virtualizing substations for big energy companies building this software out for over three years, and then they added this LiDAR steaming service and are bring it public to a limited group in 2015. If you find this site is password protected I'd contact them direct. It's not right now, but I understand it will be in the future. It's like NetFlixs, but for point clouds. Works amazing on my new Mac Book Pro, video game like!



PointCloudViz - http://www.pointcloudviz.com/

  • Desktop LiDAR Viewer - http://www.pointcloudviz.com/desktop/index.html

    • Cross-platform: Windows, MacOS X, Ubuntu/LinuxMint, Fedora
    • Smooth visualization: unlimited data size
    • Display LiDAR attributes: RGB, intensity, classification and height
    • Georeferenced image overlay: drape single or multiple rasters, Web Map Services
    • Generate digital elevation models: for GIS analysis
    • Measure and information tools: for multiple points
  • LiDAR Server and Web Client - https://server.pointcloudviz.com/#/

    • Smooth interaction: Upload point clouds of any size and work with them on any device
    • Flexible display modes: Configure different quality and rendering modes based on the LiDAR attributes
    • Web tools: Identify, measure, calculate buffers and create shared annotations
    • Public and private access: Decide whether to make your data public or private

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