Esri has developed technology to optimize point cloud data in LAS format. The optimized format enables fast and efficient access to LAS structured lidar and is well suited both for direct use in desktop applications as well as for archiving, storage, cloud based data distribution. Optimized LAS was built from the ground up with attention paid both to the different modes of use and compression.
What is Optimized LAS?
Optimized LAS is a file format that contains all the information stored in a LAS file format, but has a structure that is optimized for many different uses and is also compressed to reduce the files sizes. Both access performance and size are important considerations in relation to the massive volumes of Lidar data that are being collected and used in a wide range of geospatial applications. In addition to storing all the standard LAS specified attributes, Optimized LAS also includes statistics of the points and indices that enable fast access. Optimized LAS applies lossless compression of the data so as to reduce the file sizes typically to about 20% of the original LAS file. This compression reduces storage cost, while the optional reordering of the points speeds up data access especially over slower network connections. Optimized LAS files are given the file extension .zLAS
What is the LAS Optimizer?
The LAS Optimizer is a software executable that improves the archiving, sharing and overall use of LAS lidar data via compression and decompression capabilities. It is a freely available tool that Esri has created to convert LAS files to and from Optimized LAS.
Why did Esri create Optimized LAS?
In the past, LAS files were kept directly on disk for quick desktop access. More recently, organizations have become interested in consuming lidar data over shared networks and on cloud platforms, such as ArcGIS Online. It is a major challenge to store and manage these LAS files in a manner that allows fast and efficient access to the data because they were originally designed for data exchange, not direct use. The Optimized LAS format addresses many of these issues by reducing storage costs and improving access.