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libLAS provides a number of attractive features for a software developer looking to incorporate support for the ASPRS LAS format in their software.

Open Source

libLAS is open source software. You can embed it in your own applications (and even resell it) as long as you follow the crediting restriction of the BSD license. See License for more detail.

Multiple APIs

libLAS has C, C++, .NET, Ruby, and Python APIs.

Spatial Reference System Support

Linked against a 1.2.5+ version of libgeotiff, you can set and get the spatial reference systems of LAS files using simple proj.4 coordinate system definitions. Alternatively, with libLAS 1.2, you can link against GDAL to be able to manipulate spatial references using OGC WKT. Version 1.6 or greater of libLAS can be used in combination with GDAL 1.8+ to support vertical coordinate systems as well.

Simple Variable Length Record Abstraction

libLAS provides a sensible abstraction for working with variable length records (VLR) in LAS files, and it transparently manages the VLRs related to spatial referencing systems for you.

Command-line Utilities

libLAS provides ports of the libLAS’ Relationship to LAStools utilities by Martin Isenburg for doing things like translating from one version of the LAS format to another, inspecting header information, and translating LAS data to and from text.

See also

LAS Utility Applications contains descriptions of the utilities that libLAS provides and libLAS’ Relationship to LAStools contains information about the relationship between libLAS and LAStools.

Cross-platform operation

libLAS is known to work on all editions of Microsoft Visual C++ 7.1+ (Windows) and GCC 4.1+ (Mac OS X and Linux) platforms on both big- and little-endian architectures.