zLidar File Specification Version 1.0 (DRAFT)

John Lindsay, PhD
Geomorphometry and Hydrogeomatics Research Group
The University of Guelph
June 8, 2020


1. What is a zLidar file?

The zLidar file format (stored in *.zlidar files) is intended to store the data output from LiDAR scanner systems. It adds a lossless compression scheme to the widely used LAS file format. The ASPRS-developed LAS file format is well suited to storing LiDAR data and has a well-maintained open specification. It is also very well supported by existing geomatics software and many LiDAR hardware manufacturers have adopted the LAS specification. However, LAS files are often extremely large because of their verbose nature. This can make data handling for large LiDAR projects challenging or even unmanageable. The zLidar format is intended to ease this situation by adding a lossless data compression scheme to LAS data.