Be amazed: Lidar in the browser

Below is a screenshot of a 342mb raw LiDAR file rendered in a browser. Entirely client side. There is no server processing involved. Just you, some data, all 12.5 million points of it, and a browser. Oh yeah, it moves too. 3D you know?

Technology and the constant wonders of the internet are my daily bread. Data files in the hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of megabytes are a common place mid-morning snack. And yet: this. is. impressive. I literally swore out loud when I first browsed to a local .las file, pressed OK, and it just worked. It appears I haven’t lost my capacity to be amazed after all. 🙂

Here’s where you enjoy some of your own ‘mazement on with Yukon LiDAR:


(the text labels were added after taking the screenshot)

How much browser RAM you ask? Pfft, a trifling 900mb. For me at idle a typical Firefox session, 5 tabs open in main group, with another dozen stashed in background groups, is 450mb. Good fast dual Xeon 2.4GHz processor though.

For reference, I loaded up the same file in ArcMap. Took me 30 minutes to fail get to the same point because, a) even though I took an ArcGIS and Lidar course in 2 months ago I forgot Arc needs raw .las converted to a Las Dataset first, and b) I have a new computer so needed to install ArcGIS 3D Analyst in order to get the LAS Toolbar, and c) finally after 20 minutes of troubleshooting why is my LAS toolbar still disabled (this isn’t it) it’s time to focus in my real priorities of the day!

.laz files will load faster than .las, because they’re compressed and copy faster. There is no content difference.

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