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LIDAR data import


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I have access to LIDAR Data for a site which comes with the file extension .asc.

Is there any way that this can be used within Vectorworks. If I import survey data it gives an error.

I have imported other x,y,z data before with success.

This data starts like this:

ncols 1000

nrows 1000

xllcorner 599000

yllcorner 227000

cellsize 1

NODATA_value -9999

-9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 -9999 ...many row of this... then what looks like data....

43.805 43.795 43.792 43.815 43.838 43.805 43.750 43.738 43.730 43.720 43.708 43.697 43.710 43.690 .... then more of the -9999 -9999 -9999.

Anyone have any ideas. The data may well be to heaven to use in VW.

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The LIDAR data set is not a typical X,Y,Z survey file so it won't import using the typical Vectorworks survey data import method.

Depending on what you're intending to do, you'll need to know whether the LIDAR data set has been classified as either DEM [ground] or DSM [non-ground] points:

  • DEMs [digital elevation models] are elevation models of just the terrain (bare-earth).
  • DSMs [digital surface models] also include trees, buildings, power lines, vehicles, slow-moving barnyard animals, etc.

The open source 3D point cloud & mesh processing software CloudCompare can open .ASC files, so you could open your file in CloudCompare and convert it to .XYZ or one of the other point cloud data formats that Vw2016 can import. HTH.

(I see from your signature that you're on Vw2015, you'll have to upgrade to Vw2016 if you want to open point cloud files).

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Sounds good JimW, thanks for the info.

As Dexie (the original poster) is located in England, I thought I'd mention that the British Government now provides free access to their aerial LiDAR data sets which currently cover 72% of England, mainly covering flood plains, coastal zones and urban areas:

Survey Data Download : data.gov.uk


It looks like the LiDAR data sets at data.uk.gov are provided only in .ASC format, while most of the ones I have seen for the U.S. are available in a choice of either .LAS, .LAZ or .ASC.

Providing .ASC point cloud format import in Vw would eliminate the need to convert it outside of Vw.


LiDAR Links for Mappers : LIDARBaseMaps.org

Edited by rDesign
updated link
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