American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) released version 1.1 of the ASPRS Lidar Data Exchange Format Standard (LAS) at its 71st Annual ASPRS Conference and Exhibition held in Baltimore, Maryland in March. This binary data exchange format is an industry standard for the exchange of lidar data between various hardware manufacturers, software developers, data providers and end users.
The LAS format is primarily intended to make the exchange, manipulation, analysis, and storage of lidar data faster and easier. In addition, a standardized lidar data format helps to facilitate the processing, editing and visualization of lidar data in a wide variety of commercial and proprietary software packages.
The format is a public binary file format that is a replacement for the proprietary systems or a generic ASCII file interchange system used by many companies in the past.
The ASPRS Lidar Committee maintains the LAS format through its LAS Working Group. The original version of the LAS format was released in May, 2003. As part of its on-going review, the LAS Working Group proposed an interim update of the standard to address several minor issues and provide clarification to the original documentation. After input was solicited from various industry stakeholders, a change document was submitted to the full committee for review and the revisions approved at its March 7th meeting.
Many ASPRS member organizations, including the major industry manufacturers and software developers, have adopted the LAS format since its release in 2003. Maintenance of the LAS standard by ASPRS provides an invaluable service to ASPRS individual members, sustaining members and to the geospatial data industry at-large and it is anticipated that ASPRS’ continued development of this standard, along with the on-going release of ASPRS guidelines and best practices for lidar mapping, will further promote the adoption of lidar mapping by professional practitioners.