The seven qualities of a LiDAR Software Open Data Format

It's crucial to check that any 3D LiDAR processing software employs an open and common data format that satisfies seven essential requirements

James Davis

It's crucial to check that 3D LiDAR processing software employs an open and common data format that satisfies seven essential requirements.

LiDAR Data can be extremely helpful in gathering critical RAW data points.

With processing software like Outsight's, raw data from LiDAR may be transformed into actionable insights, enabling applications to make excellent use of them, such as accurately recognizing and monitoring individuals.

The flexibility to output a certain data format independently of the input device is a significant benefit of utilizing a software processor that is independent of the sensing LiDAR hardware (and very frequently in a project you need a combination of sensors from different manufacturers).

When LiDAR technology initially emerged, its proprietary data formats and protocols made sense since they sped up the time it took for new hardware devices to transmit raw data to the market.

The initial LiDAR prototypes weren't meant to be used in mass manufacturing. The early users had the problem of deciphering each unique format.

But, 3D LiDAR data must be available in open data formats in order for the technology to be widely used in most use cases at scale. 

An open data format is one that has a publicly accessible published specification and imposes no limitations on use, whether financial or otherwise. As a result, conformant software can read and write data in that format, making it possible for others to implement it.

The key characteristics of an open LiDAR data format

1. Open

The system must be open in order for it to operate without the need of private intellectual property.

As open proprietary formats may be utilized without limitations and can facilitate switching from one technological platform or environment to another without jeopardizing legal agreements, this will reduce the risk of utilizing the system.

Moreover, intellectual property is often open to the public, increasing security and enabling access to a wider variety of technical platforms and applications.

2. Simple

Also, the processing system must be easy to use.

It is easier to say than to do: more complicated formats might be more efficient in some specific use situations, and simplicity thus represents a trade-off between usability, time to market, and performance.

Data parsing on the system must be simple and efficient.

3. Robust

One of the most important qualities to consider while choosing a LiDAR processing software is its resilience. For instance, the message body should permit the placement of data pieces in any sequence.

This makes decoding drivers more easier, prevents problems, and makes the following feature possible:

4. Backwards-compatible

At every level of your data processing procedure, your processing Lidar software should be able to meet your demands.

You will probably discover that as time goes on, you have new features and data fields that you would like to add to the system, securely excluding any outdated or untested components so that they can work along with the current data fields.

There may be many versions of the software coexisting in the same network and system since companies like Outsight routinely produce new versions that can't always be instantly distributed throughout your whole installed fleet.

5. Efficient

The last thing you want when employing a LiDAR processing software is for it to waste time, which would slow down your operations and potentially jeopardize real-time capabilities.

Hence, it's crucial to make sure that bandwidth is optimized and overhead processing time is kept to a minimum.

6. Adaptable

Moreover, to ensure that only pertinent information is provided at all times, your system must be able to respond to user demands in real-time without altering its organizational structure or decoding patterns.

Only relevant data should be sent in an adjustable solution, maximizing bandwidth and decoding efficiency.

7. Flexible

Your LiDAR software must be capable of handling data of any size.

There will be occasions when you need to employ a straightforward and modest amount of data, such as when using a single, low-resolution LiDAR.

At times, using the retransmitted point-cloud and associated properties, you'll need to make use of vast volumes of 3D data to carry out more difficult jobs or just cover enormous regions.

This covers uses where a large number of LiDAR sensors are combined to provide a single output stream.

Hence, without changing the data format, your system should be adaptable and easily available to expand and manage data of any amount.

An example of Open Data format for LiDAR software

Outsight's Augmented LiDAR Software uses OSEF [Open SErialization Format] to provide its results.

It employs TLV-encoding, a method for optional informative pieces that includes code for time, length, and value.

As shown in the picture below, the structure of the OSEF data is a tree that stores the timestamp information and all of its properties, such as Ego-Motion and Tracked Objects' information, at each processed LiDAR Frame, generally at 20 frames per second.

You will be able to fully utilize an open and standard data format that is open, simple, robust, backwards-compatible, effective, adaptive, and flexible with the help of the augmented LiDAR software.

As a result, you may use your processing software into the future knowing that it will support your objectives flawlessly regardless of how your demands, data, and results evolve over time.

Learn more here:

The Seven attributes of an Open Data Format for LiDAR Processing Software
When choosing a 3D LiDAR processing software it’s important to ensure that it uses an open and standard data format, that must meet seven key characteristics.