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LAStools is a collection of tools for LiDAR data processing.


Using LAStools

LAStools is included in the geoconda module and can be loaded with

module load geoconda

You can test LAStools loaded successfully with

lasinfo -h

LAStools commands

Puhti installation includes only the open source tools of LAStools.

  • laszip - compresses the LAS files in a completely lossless manner
  • lasinfo - prints out a quick overview of the contents of a LAS file
  • lasindex - creates a spatial index LAX file for fast spatial queries
  • las2las - extracts last returns, clips, subsamples, translates, etc ...
  • lasmerge - merges several LAS or LAZ files into a single LAS or LAZ file
  • txt2las - converts LIDAR data from ASCII text to binary LAS format
  • las2txt - turns LAS into human-readable and easy-to-parse ASCII
  • lasprecision - analyses the actual precision of the LIDAR points

Using a licensed version

Not open source LasTools tools are available only as .exe files, so they have to be run with wine (Windows emulator). Only the command-line tools work, not the graphical interface. If you have a LAStools license, you can install the .exe files easily yourself for your project. Download and unzip LAStools to your projappl disk area.

cd /projappl/<your_project>

Then just add your license file to the /bin folder and you can start running the .exe files with wine64

Notice you can only use the 64-bit versions of the tools with wine64

Here is an example of running lasinfo64.exe with wine64

module load wine
wine64 lasinfo64.exe -i <LAS file>

Finnish National Land Survey's lidar data in Puhti

The Finnish national lidar data is already stored in Puhti. You can find it from filepath: /appl/data/geo/mml/laserkeilaus. More info.

LAStools and array jobs

If you are processing large number of lidar files with LAStools, the best practice would be to use an batch array job

First create a text file with filepaths to the lidar files. This is one way of doing it

cd folder_with_laz_files
ls -d -1 "$PWD/"*.laz > lazfilepaths.txt

Create an batch array job script that takes this list as an argument. This example had 12 files

#!/bin/bash -l
#SBATCH --job-name las2las_test
#SBATCH --output array_job_out_%A_%a.txt
#SBATCH --error array_job_err_%A_%a.txt
#SBATCH --time 00:10:00
#SBATCH --ntasks 1
#SBATCH --mem-per-cpu=1000
#SBATCH --array=1-12
#SBATCH --partition small

### load geoconda that has the open source lastools commands
module load geoconda

### read a filepath to the .laz file given in the list of files
inputfilepath=$(sed -n "$SLURM_ARRAY_TASK_ID"p $1)

### retrieve just the filename from the filepath and remove extension

### extract the first returns only and save to a .las file in directory out/ (needs to exist)
las2las -i $inputfilepath -o out/$outputfilename.las -first_only

Now you can submit the job with

sbatch lazfilepaths.txt

License and citing

For information on the legal use and licensing of LAStools, please read the LAStools LICENSE.

In your publications please acknowledge also oGIIR and CSC, for example β€œThe authors wish to acknowledge for computational resources CSC – IT Center for Science, Finland (urn:nbn:fi:research-infras-2016072531) and the Open Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Research (oGIIR, urn:nbn:fi:research-infras-2016072513).”


Last edited Tue Jun 2 2020