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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1.1.8 by Jean-Romain Roussel, a day 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 and extra byte attributes)

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

GPL-3 license

Imports data.table, Rcpp

Suggests testthat

Linking to Rcpp

Imported by lidR.

See at CRAN