Understanding LAS and LAZ File Formats

LAS and LAZ file formats are vector formats used to store LiDAR data as point clouds. They are widely used in the surveying industry due to their interoperability with many software tools, and are a key standard for storing and sharing LiDAR data.

Viewing an LAS file in ROCK DesktopWhat is the LAS file format?

The LAS (LIDAR Aerial Survey) file format is a widely used binary file format designed to store 3D point cloud data collected by LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) surveying systems. It was developed by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) in 2003 and is now considered the industry standard.

LAS files contain a collection of individual LiDAR points, each with a set of attributes such as X, Y, and Z coordinates, intensity values, return numbers, and classification codes. The format is designed to be flexible, allowing the user to choose which attributes are included in the file, depending on their specific requirements.

LAS files can be created using a variety of LiDAR data processing software like ROCK Cloud, and can be read and analyzed by a wide range of LiDAR software tools. 

One advantage of the LAS format is that it is designed to be easily extendable, so new attributes can be added as needed. Additionally, the format includes header information that provides important metadata about the file, such as the projection information and the date and time of the survey.

Learn about ROCK Desktop, our 100% free LAS to LAZ converter and point cloud viewer: ROCK Desktop

What is the LAZ file format?

The LAZ (LASzip) file format is a compressed version of the LAS (LIDAR Aerial Survey) file format used for storing LiDAR data. It was developed in 2007 as an open-source software solution to reduce the file size of LAS files.

LAZ files are created by compressing LAS files, which can reduce the file size of the LAS file by up to 90% while still retaining all of the original data. The compression algorithm used in LAZ files is lossless, meaning there is no data loss during the compression process. ROCK Desktop, our free LAS to LAZ file converter, does the conversion for you, freeing up valuable space on your hard drive and saving you time.

Benefits of LAS and LAZ file formats

One key advantage of LAS and LAZ formats is their interoperability with various software tools used in the analysis and visualization of LiDAR data. This means that LiDAR data collected and stored in the LAS or LAZ format can be easily read, processed, and visualized using a variety of software applications and programming libraries.

Using a standardized file format like LAS or LAZ ensures that LiDAR data can be shared and processed efficiently without needing custom software development or data conversion. This interoperability allows data to be easily integrated into workflows and analyzed with a range of tools, regardless of the software used to acquire or process the data.

Download ROCK Desktop today to convert your LAS files to LAZ files: ROCK Desktop