Over the past few years, the use of LiDAR data has taken center stage in the GIS software industry. Many software developers have stepped forward to provide high-end, overly expensive, yet incomplete solutions for GIS professionals who need to process this data into a deliverable format. Blue Marble Geographics’ Global Mapper LiDAR Module offers an inexpensive, powerful and easy-to-use alternative.
Originally developed in partnership with the United States Geological Survey, Global Mapper offers over 250 spatial data formats, geometry and attribute editing as well as advanced analysis and provides just the right level of GIS functionality to satisfy both GIS experts and mapping novices. With a starting price just over $400, it is a must-have for anyone who works with maps or spatial data.
How it works: Global Mapper’s optional LiDAR Module significantly enhances the LiDAR processing capability of the software. Providing support for point clouds with over a billion points, it offers a wide range of filtering, visualisation, modelling, editing, and export functions. Unlike some other applications, Global Mapper does not automatically filter or thin out the data for faster rendering. It gives the user the ability to decide if and how they want to decimate the point cloud data.
During the import process, the point cloud can be optionally thinned to remove erroneous points,for customising the resolution or geographic extent of the data. Filters can be applied to limit the display to specific point classifications or return types. After import, points can be manually reclassified to correct or update any errors or omissions in the collection operation. This procedure can be based on a manual selection process; a more systematic query or search; or on a cross-sectional profile view of the point cloud that can be used to easily isolate any elevated points that represent buildings or vegetation layers.
Point cloud visualisation may be adjusted to reflect various aspects of LiDAR data including return intensity, elevation, classification and RGB values, if present. The tool even offers an option to automatically assign the RGB from an underlying imagery layer to each point individually. When rendered in the 3D window, this displays a visually realistic, rotatable model of buildings, trees, and any other extruded features.
For most users of LiDAR data, point cloud manipulation is a means to an end with the ultimate goal being to generate a terrain or surface model. Global Mapper excels at this procedure and provides many options for customising the parameters of the resulting 3D raster layer. The software also offers the opportunity to perform a wide variety of 3D data creation and analysis functions such as contour generation, flood analysis, terrain flattening, and volume calculation.
- Fully functional LiDAR analysis and processing available at less price.
- Incorporates a range of powerful terrain analysis functions.
- Free technical support.
- Supports all versions of LAS, LAZ and other compression formats.