This Won’t Be the LASt time…

The workings of international standards

Is it really 55 years since the Stones released the song whose title I have massacred above? Following my recent scribbles on the immense amount of high-quality, online events suitable for maintaining and enhancing our professional status, I listened in on 18 May to one of the bimonthly meetings of the ASPRS LAS Working Group, which is part of the ASPRS Lidar Division and is chaired by Evon Silvia of Quantum Spatial Inc. The meeting invitation goes out to more than 60 people and on Monday there were 23 attendees at the one-hour meeting, which was conducted using GoToMeeting. The purpose of this note is not to go into great detail regarding the subject matter of the meeting, but to emphasize the hard work being done, to which anyone with an interest in the subject can contribute. Most of the discussion was about the efficacy of the overlap bit or flag in LAS 1.4. The consensus seemed to be that this is not of tremendous value and is not used consistently. Though the meeting did not go as far as a formal proposal, it seems that this flag will be retained in 1.4 and perhaps deprecated in 1.5.

Will there be a 1.5? Yes, it seems so: I learned in this meeting that the driver, as often happens in the world of international standards, is an oblique one, in this case well-known text version 2 (WKT 2), which supports the time-dependent National Spatial Reference System that the US will adopt in 2022. In order to support WKT 2, it is likely that LAS 1.5 will be required, which could take a year or two. The workings of international standards are slow, meticulous, detailed, demanding and sometimes mysterious – but truly rewarding as the whole community benefits from the effort. Learn more and contact Evon, who is writing an article on the LAS Working Group for our print edition.

About the Author

Dr. A. Stewart Walker

Stewart is the Managing Editor of the magazine. He holds MA, MScE and PhD degrees in geography and geomatics from the universities of Glasgow, New Brunswick and Bristol, and an MBA from Heriot-Watt. He is an ASPRS-certified photogrammetrist. More articles...