02/16 Fast Full Waveform Data Export

With the introduction of full waveform laser scanners available off-the-shelf around ten years ago customers immediately demanded open data formats and standards, which would allow them to perform full waveform raw data analysis with their own methods and algorithms. Data formats like LAS and PulseWaves emerged with the aim of enabling easy data access without information needed about the laser scanners' technical peculiarities. It’s the instrument manufacturer’s task to address these particular characteristics of the laser scanner in order to enable the conversion from proprietary data formats like, e.g, the SDF raw data from LMS-Q series of airborne laser scanners, to open data formats. Full waveform data is no longer given in plain time domain (i.e. amplitude over time) alone but is directly linked to the final point cloud, which enables immediate access to a 3D-coordinates’ originating waveform for in-depth analysis. The seemingly simple task of converting full waveform data to any other open format becomes tricky when the whole processing chain from raw data to the final point cloud must comply with the present constraints and requirements.

In the airborne laser scanning market today, full waveform data is frequently requested by clients as a standard deliverable alongside the final 3D point cloud. For those service providers who deliver full waveform data to their customers regularly, we can now introduce the new fast waveform data export in RiPROCESS, which vastly increases data export speed. The new method is based on the user’s initial choice of an intended data format "up-front processing" of the scan data. A dedicated slim and efficient data structure is established during data processing, i.e. full waveform analysis with RiANALYZE for SDF files or SDCImport for RXP files, and geo-referencing using RiWORLD. This allows for the fast assignment of each individual coordinate of the point cloud to its causative waveform.

Compared to the previous version of RiPROCESS the new “Fast Full Waveform Data Export” reduces the time for generating LAS / LAZ files (v1.3, v1.4) from raw SDF files or raw RXP + full waveform recording by a factor 10 or more.

The fast full waveform export included in RiPROCESS v1.8.0 is available for download from the RIEGL Members Area!