Lab software list

LiDAR Data Format Converter

       LiDAR data is becoming increasingly available in natural resources management and other wide-spread applications. Originally, lidar data was only delivered in ASCII format, but with the massive size of data collections, a binary format called LAS has become the stadarized format to efficiently read, manage, and distribute data. Data in LAS files, being binary, cannot to viewed or used directly by common software such as text file viewers (i.e., Notepad, Textpad) or MS Excel. Several tools exist to convert LiDAR data from LAS to ASCII format, but most are commercially available. Free-versions either limit the size of files, introduce perturbations to larger sized files, and/or do not convert all collected information.
       We developed a free software to convert LiDAR data from LAS to ASCII format. The LAS/TEXT converter automatically identifies the LAS format and associated point attributes, and allows the user to select attributes to be converted. Although conversion time increases with file size, there is no limit on file size.

LAS/TXT Converter - (download here)

Kentucky Forest Transportation Cost Estimator

       Transportation is one of the largest cost components in the procurement of forest products. To ensure the most economically efficient selection of destination mills and associated route to reduce the cost of transport, a web-based Google API application was developed. It is designed to automatically identify least-cost routes from user-defined timber harvesting sites to primary and secondary mill destinations in the state of Kentucky. In addition to these optimized routes, the application includes the option to manually select harvesting sites and desired mill destinations. An option to input logging truck operating cost was included to estimate one-way transportation costs, in addition to time and mileage along least-travel time routes. When information on operating and ownership costs (purchase price, depreciation, fuel consumption and maintenance, interest rate, and wages, amongst others) is available, the application has an option to properly estimate hourly costs to more realistically represent transportation costs. Lastly, the application includes heatmaps displaying travel time and distance every 5 miles from across Kentucky to the closest mill destinations, in order to better visualize isolated areas with higher transportation costs.

       Available at:

Forest Road Viewer

       The cost of building forest roads can range from $10,000 per mile on flat terrain to over $80,000 on steep terrain. Construction costs are highly dependent of terrain steepness due to the required amount of earthwork. We developed a program to estimate earthwork movement for proposed, low-volume forest roads, which can then be used to estimate hours of bulldozer work, and thus construction costs. Based on road design specification (such as road width, minimum radius of curve, cut and fill slopes, and cross section type), tentative road layout, and a high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM), the program accurately calculates cut and fill volume. Outputs are separated by road section and can be appended to GIS attribute tables for display purposes. In addition, the program creates a modified DEM to visualize terrain elevation "after construction" to better analyze the layout of proposed roads. When alternative routes exist, this program can be used as a tool to select the one that minimize construction costs.

       Please contact Dr. Marco Contreras ( for program availability.