Working with Lidar data

Import data

LAS format

For importing LAS data are available two modules:


GRASS must be compiled with support for libLAS library.

Example: -oe input=pr_TANV37_5g.laz output=pr_TANV37_5g resolution=1 -ot input=pr_TANV37_5g.laz output=pr_TANV37_5g


Flag -o must be used in the case since input data miss information about spatial reference system. Basic metadata about imported data can be obtained by lasinfo command which is part of libLAS library.

lasinfo pr_TANV37_5g.laz

Min X Y Z:                   531815.05 5625597.55 925.35
Max X Y Z:                   534548.84 5627727.26 1292.54
Spatial Reference:           None

Flag -t skips creation of attribute table. The import process will be significantly faster. You can also avoid building topology by -b flag.

In the case of is also used flag -e which extends current computational region to cover all imported points. Otherwise user needs to set up computational region via g.region as in the case of, see section bellow. Spatial resolution for output raster map is defined by resolution option. Note that computational region is ignored when importing data using

Basic metadata about imported created raster maps can be obtained by, or in the case of vector maps. map=pr_TANV37_5g

|   Data Type:    FCELL                                                      |
|   Rows:         2131                                                       |
|   Columns:      2734                                                       |
|   Total Cells:  5826154                                                    |
|        Projection: UTM (zone 33)                                           |
|            N:    5627728    S:    5625597   Res:     1                     |
|            E:     534549    W:     531815   Res:     1                     |
|   Range of data:    min = 925.355  max = 1292.47                           |
... pr_TANV37_5g

|   Number of points:       3736392         Number of centroids:  0          |
|                                                                            |
|   Map is 3D:              Yes                                              |
|   Number of dblinks:      0                                                |
|                                                                            |
|   Projection: UTM (zone 33)                                                |
|                                                                            |
|               N:        5627727.26    S:        5625597.55                 |
|               E:         534548.84    W:         531815.05                 |
|               B:            925.35    T:           1292.54                 |

XYZ data

XYZ data can be imported into raster map using command. The command must be run in two steps:

  1. First run to get region extent, flags -sg. Then use g.region to set the region for import.
  2. Second to perform import, see example bellow.
# 1a. get region extent -sg out=TANV37_5g separator=space
n=-974000.01 s=-976000.01 e=-657499.99 w=-660000.05 b=925.35 t=1292.54

# 1b. set region and resolution (flag -a to align based on resolution)
g.region -a n=-974000.01 s=-976000.01 e=-657499.99 w=-660000.05 b=925.35 t=1292.54 res=1

# 2. perform import out=TANV37_5g separator=space

Raster binning and classification

The input files are classified to the classes bellow:

  1. ground (postfix _g)
  2. vegetation (postfix _v)
  3. building (postfix _b)

First we import the input files (output resolution will be define by resolution regardless computational region settings): -o input=pm_TANV37_b.laz output=pm_TANV37_b resolution=3 method=mean -o input=pm_TANV37_g.laz output=pm_TANV37_g resolution=3 method=mean -o input=pm_TANV37_v.laz output=pm_TANV37_v resolution=3 method=mean


Raster map resolution can be checked by command.


In the case that input data include classified points (can be check by lasinfo command) you can use class_filter and return_filter of

The composite map can be created by r.mapcalc (note that we need to define computational region based on import maps before running the command):

g.region raster=pm_TANV37_b,pm_TANV37_g,pm_TANV37_v -p
r.mapcalc "pm_TANV37_classes = if(!isnull(pm_TANV37_v), 2, if(!isnull(pm_TANV37_g), 1, if(!isnull(pm_TANV37_b),3, null())))"

We also apply custom color table using r.colors (rules in Define tab):

1 220:220:180
2 0:180:0
3 150:0:0

Figure 1: Raster classification.

High resolution DEM

First we import data into vector point map by (we skip creating attribute table): -t -o input=pr_TANV37_5g.laz output=pr_TANV37_5g

We can also check the point overall point density using v.outlier:

v.outlier -e input=pr_TANV37_5g

Estimated point density: 0.6418
Estimated mean distance between points: 1.248

DEM will be interpolated ( using regularized spline with tension approximation) with resolution 0.5 meter, also slope and profile curvature map will be created.

g.region vector=pr_TANV37_5g res=1 -pa input=pr_TANV37_5g elevation=dem37 slope=slope37 pcurv=pcurv37 npmin=80 tension=20 smooth=1


Set higher npmin to reduce artifacts from segmentation visible on slope and curvature maps (will be much slower!):


It can be also useful to set mask on areas without measured data. Convex hull created by v.hull or composed orthophoto map can be used for this purpose. The mask can be specified by r.mask command (note that the mask will be created only inside computational region), or simple define by mask option of

v.hull input=pr_TANV37_5g output=mask37 -f
r.mask vector=mask37

Figure 2: Example of visualization in 3D, draped orthophoto over created DEM.