Read and Write 'las' and 'laz' Binary File Formats Used for Remote Sensing Data

Read and write 'las' and 'laz' binary file formats. The LAS file format is a public file format for the interchange of 3-dimensional point cloud data between data users. The LAS specifications are approved by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. The LAZ file format is an open and lossless compression scheme for binary LAS format versions 1.0 to 1.3.

R package to read and write .las and .laz binary files used to store LiDAR data.

rlas relies on a modified version of the open source parts of LAStools. LASlib and LASzip were modified to be compatible with R. The library can therefore be compiled into R without any complaints from R CMD check. It enables users to read and write into R binary files commonly used to store LiDAR data.   = readlasdata("<myfile.las>")
las.header = readlasheader("<myfile.las>")

This package contains C++ code. To install the package from github make sure you have a working development environment.

  • Windows: Install Rtools.exe.
  • Mac: Install Xcode from the Mac App Store.
  • Linux: Install the R development package, usually called r-devel or r-base-dev

Install devtools: install.packages("devtools"), then:

devtools::install_github("Jean-Romain/rlas", dependencies=TRUE)

rlas contains code written by both Jean-Romain Roussel and Martin Isenburg. The latter is included for technical reasons. Details below.

(c) 2007-2015 -

Provided under LGPL license and modified to be R-compliant by Jean-Romain Roussel. Each modification is dated and registered into the file headers.

(c) 2016 Jean-Romain Roussel

Provided under GPL-3 license.


rlas v1.0.3 (Release date: 2016-12-24)

CRAN does not build binary packages. After exchanges with prof Bryan Ripley

  • Change: removed CXX_STD flag in Makevars. g++ compile whith flag -std=c++98
  • Change: removed std::to_string, replaced by a macro ISO C++98
  • Change: replaced formats specifiers which were ISO C++11 but not ISO C++98
  • Change: added prepocessor statements to get proper path to libraries when clang++ is used with flag -stdlib=libc++
  • Change: title in DESCRIPTION according to prof Bryan Ripley
  • Change: description in DESCRIPTION according to prof Bryan Ripley

rlas v1.0.2 (Release date: 2016-12-23)

Third submission

  • Change: Manually list sources in makevars
  • Change: Remove SystemRequirements field in DESCRIPTION

rlas v1.0.1 (Release date: 2016-12-22)

Second submission

  • Add: runnable examples in documentaion
  • Add: tiny 755 bytes 'laz' file
  • Change: single quoted 'las' and 'laz' in Description and Title fields in DESCRIPTION

rlas v1.0.0 (Release date: 2016-12-22)

First submission

Reference manual

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1.1.5 by Jean-Romain Roussel, 2 months ago

Report a bug at

Browse source code at

Authors: Jean-Romain Roussel [aut, cre, cph], Martin Isenburg [cph] (Is the author of the LASlib and LASzip libraries), David Auty [ctb] (Reviewed the documentation), Pierrick Marie [ctb] (Helped to compile LASlib code in R), Florian De Boissieu [ctb] (Enable support of .lax file)

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL-3 license

Imports data.table, Rcpp

Linking to Rcpp

Imported by lidR.

See at CRAN