Tools and Features in the LiDAR Module


Pixels-to-Points™

Using an array of overlapping images, such as those collected using a drone, this tool generates a high-density point cloud based on user-selectable parameters. Employing the principles of photogrammetry in which measurements are derived from photographs, the Pixels-to-Points tool analyzes the relationship between recognizable objects in adjacent images to determine the three-dimensional coordinates of the corresponding surface. As a by-product of the point cloud generation capability, the Pixels-to-Points tool also offers the option of creating an orthorectified image by gridding the RGB values in each point, as well as a 3D Mesh, complete with photorealistic textures.

Terrain Painting

Using the surface of a terrain model, the Terrain Painting tool provides a convenient way to alter, enhance, or add features. The Terrain Paint menu allows users to fill gaps, smooth terrain, raise and lower terrain and much more.

Mesh or 3D Model Creation

Using a selected group of LiDAR points, this process uses the inherent 3D geometry of the points along with the associated colors if present and creates a 3D mesh or model. When viewed in 3D, this model displays as a multifaceted photo-realistic 3D representation of the corresponding feature. This process produces a similar output to the model creation option in the Pixels-to-Points tool.

Manual Reclassification

The LiDAR Module includes a convenient toolbar to streamline the classification of selected points with a single button click. This toolbar includes buttons the most common classification types including ground, vegetation, and buildings. Additionally, selected points can be manually edited and assigned to any of the ASPRS LiDAR classification types using the Digitizer's edit function.

Automatic Reclassification

Based on the geometric properties and other characteristics of the LiDAR file or point cloud, the LiDAR Module's automatic reclassification tool is able to accurately identify and automatically reclassify points representing the important point feature types. First and foremost is the identification of ground points, which is used for the creation of a DTM or bare-earth model. Within the remaining above-ground points, specific algorithms can be applied to identify and reclassify high vegetation, buildings and powerlines.

Test Data Before Automatic Classification
Test Data Before Automatic Classification

Globe icon Test Data Before Automatic Classification
After Automatic Classification of Buildings and Trees
After Automatic Classification of Buildings and Trees

Globe icon After Automatic Classification of Buildings and Trees
Classification of Power Lines
Classification of Power Lines

Globe icon Classification of Power Lines

LiDAR QC

The LiDAR Module offers a tool for verifying the vertical accuracy of a point cloud. Using surveyed ground control points, the elevation values throughout the layer can be checked and adjusted if necessary.

Advanced LiDAR Filtering

Points can be filtered using a variety of criteria and at various stages during the point cloud processing workflow. During import, points can be filtered based on classification, return count, sample count, or based on their geographic distribution. The same filtering options can be used to filter the display of points in the map view. When creating a gridded surface or a DEM, a further level of filtering is available which can be used to remove points based on elevation range, classification, intensity, color, or on many other point cloud characteristics.

Noise Removal

Addressing a major concern among LiDAR users, Global Mapper LiDAR Module provides an efficient and effective way to remove noise from point cloud data. This powerful filtering tool can reclassify or automatically delete any points that are beyond a prescribed elevation or height above ground threshold within a local area.

LIDAR Querying

The LiDAR Module includes numerous tools for querying points based on both the point cloud attributes and on their geographic distribution. The Search function can be used to create a multi-level query of point classification, elevation range, intensity, or any of the other variables. Spatial querying options include identifying points contained within a selected polygon or points that are within a defined distance of a certain type of point type or line feature. This function is ideally suited for encroachment detection.

LiDAR Thinning

Using a set of customizable parameters, this tool reduces the number of points in a point cloud resulting in a more manageable file size while eliminating redundancy. This thinning process can be applied consistently across the 2D extent of the layer or it can vary to reflect the 3D distribution of points.

Automatic Extraction of Buildings, Trees and Powerlines

One of the LiDAR Module's most powerful capabilities, the feature extraction tool is used to create vector (point, line, or polygon) features derived from appropriately classified points. Based on a series of customizable settings, patterns of points representing buildings, trees and utility cables are analyzed and their extent is automatically delineated as a series of 3D vector objects or, in the case of buildings, as a 3D mesh.

Custom 3D Digitizing and Feature Extraction

Using the Perpendicular Path Profile function, a series of custom spaced cross-sectional views are created perpendicular to a defined path through a point cloud. 3D vertices can be quickly and accurately placed at regular intervals within each successive profile view. When the sequence is complete, either a 3D linear or area feature is created using Global Mapper's standard Digitizing tool. This is an ideal tool for delineating curbs, utility cables, pipelines, drainage ditches, or building rooflines from high-resolution point cloud data.

Point Cloud Visualization

The display of points can be adjusted to reflect many of the attributes within the point cloud, including:

  • Elevation
  • Intensity
  • Classification
  • Return Number
  • Height Above Ground
  • Point Source ID
  • NDVI/NDWI (when NIR attribute is present)
  • Point Density

When overlaid on a raster or gridded layer, the RGB or NIR value from each underlying pixel can be added to the associated point.

Advanced DEM Creation

The LiDAR Module provides numerous options for creating a surface model. Supplementing the simple triangulation (TIN) process, binning offers a more efficient and customizable way to create DTM or DSM of a specific resolution. Hydro-flattening allows the inherent elevation values associated with 3D vector lines or polygons to override the point-based elevations when modeling water bodies or streams.

Path Profile Rendering and Editing

The module enables the display of a section of a point cloud in the Path Profile view. This lateral perspective is initially created by establishing a swath width to ensure that sufficient points are displayed for the area of interest. The lateral perspective is ideally suited for manual point selection and editing as it clearly distinguishes points that are vertically offset from those in the surrounding area.

Path Profile
Path Profile

Globe icon Path Profile

Additional File Format Support

  • E57 lidar format support
  • Leica PTS point cloud file support