I had an enlightening 45 minute conversation with Dale Lutz, the VP of Product Development at Safe Software and data interoperability guru yesterday concerning the recent release of FME 2011, their flagship product. If you want to take control of your LiDAR data and manage it at the file level then I think you will find tremendous value in the functionality that they are now offering.
To get an idea of the power of their graphical authoring approach (which builds macros as you step through your workflow – see above) you need only take a look at one of the scenarios from their Dmitri’s Point Cloud Lab on fmepedia. As I told Dale their utilitarian approach reminds me of Blue Marble Geographics in that they provide the tools that solve all of the nasty little problems that kill your productivity. As we both agreed not only is it all about data, it is all about the details of managing your data.
Another really interesting insight from Dale was that point clouds are just mis-behaved raster data. Once they realized this they were able apply their many years of raster data management experience and the development work on point clouds went much faster.
If you are struggling with managing LiDAR data sets take a look at FME 2011.