The market for software to manage, process, fuse, and visualize LiDAR point cloud data is still very young and amorphous. As both the amounts of LiDAR data and the demand for it continue to grow, software vendors are developing innovative solutions to enable their clients to integrate this data into their workflows.
Large software developers (such as ESRI, Intergraph, and Autodesk) now support LiDAR natively in their software. Some manufacturers of laser scanners (such as Riegl, Leica Geosystems, and Optech) are expanding the functionalities of the software applications that they provide with their hardware, so as to try to keep their customers in their fold. Another manufacturer, Trimble, makes its integrated terrest-rial solution available only in combination with its hardware, while it sells its airborne software to users without restrictions, because it wants to maintain the user base to which it has freely sold its eCognition and Inpho products. Some large users of LiDAR data such as GeoDigital and Merrick have developed their own in-house software, which they either keep proprietary (as in the case of GeoDigital) or sell (as in the case of Merrick’s MARS software suite). Free, open-source LiDAR software, such as PDAL is also available.