Generating Raster DEM from Mass Points Via TIN Streaming

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It is difficult to generate raster Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from terrain mass point data sets too large to fit into memory, such as those obtained by LIDAR. We describe prototype tools for streaming DEM generation that use memory and disk I/O very efficiently. From 500 million bare-earth LIDAR double precision points (11.2 GB) our tool can, in just over an hour on a standard laptop with two hard drives, produce a 50,394 × 30,500 raster DEM with 20 foot post spacing in 16 bit binary BIL format (3 GB), using less than 100 MB of main memory and less than 300 MB of temporary disk space.