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FAQ: How has LIDAR data management improved when working in terrain, multipoint, and point cloud analysis in 3D Analyst 10?

Question

How has LIDAR data management improved when working in terrain, multipoint, and point cloud analysis in 3D Analyst 10?

Answer

The following summary is an overview of the updates relevant to LIDAR data management in 3D Analyst 10:

- The Point File Information tool has been enhanced with an option to output information on LAS format files (e.g., point count, spacing, z-range) summarized by class code. This helps answer questions like, "How many points in each LAS file are bare earth?" and "What is their z-range?".

The Point To Raster tool has been enhanced to support LAS LIDAR attributes stored in BLOB fields in multipoint feature classes. This facilitates, for example, making intensity images.

In version 10, all geoprocessing tools that supported TINs, with the one exception of Extrude Between, support terrains or have a replacement that supports terrains.

All terrain- and TIN-based tools offering interpolation (e.g., Interpolate Shape) are enhanced with new conflation options. As an example, these can be used to estimate shoreline height (e.g., lakes, rivers) from LIDAR.

The Append/Delete/Replace Terrain Point tools support both embedded and referenced feature classes. Referenced feature classes properly update LAS BLOB attributes if present. These tools can also operate on polygon-based areas of interest, not just rectangles.

Terrain dataset has a new Anchor Point option for critical points such as control points, navigation hazards, etc., that are guaranteed to remain present throughout all pyramid levels because they do not get thinned or filtered away.

The new Terrain To Points geoprocessing tool enables the production thinned (multi)point datasets from full resolution datasets using the terrain’s z-tol or windowsize filtering algorithms.

The new Locate Outliers tool can find points outside a user specified ceiling or floor height, or that are significantly different than their immediate neighbors. Confirmed data errors can be passed into the Delete Terrain Points tool to have them removed from the surface.

The terrain layer has a new contour renderer. The terrain layer has new point renderers for embedded points with LAS LIDAR attributes. It is now possible to symbolize points based on class code, return, intensity, etc.

The new Point Profile tool places points within proximity to a query line into a profile graph. Profiled points can come from either multipoint feature classes or feature classes embedded in terrains. The points can also be colored by LAS LIDAR attribute (e.g., class code).

Additionally, terrain overviews have been optimized to allow large terrains to be opened and viewed more quickly.