3D lidar data can be shared publicly to a wide variety of users and colleagues. The two main processes for sharing lidar data are through the web or through the file system.
Sharing through the file system
Any of the files can be shared through the file system or ArcCatalog. Just remember that moving files can cause links to the referenced data sources to break. For example, copying, renaming, or deleting LAS datasets or contributing data could cause the LAS dataset to be invalid. See copying, renaming, and deleting LAS datasets for recommendations when managing LAS datasets and associated LAS files.
Sharing through the web
In order to share lidar data using ArcGIS Server you can publish it as an image service. This means you must add the data to a mosaic dataset and publish the mosaic dataset as an image service. Alternatively, you could produce a single raster dataset and publish it as an image service.
You can add the lidar data directly as LAS files, as LAS datasets, or as terrain datasets. If you need to apply constraints you must create a LAS dataset or terrain dataset, apply the constraints, then add it to a mosaic dataset.
When a mosaic dataset is shared as an image service, users will view and access the data as an image; however, users can make selections of the datasets in the image service and download the source files to disk. This only applies when the LAS files or LAS datasets have been added to the mosaic dataset. A user cannot download a terrain dataset from an image service.
- Learn about downloading from an image service
- Learn about the downloading parameters for an image service
In many cases, when you publish data on the server, the service definition and the data will be moved to the server as part of the publishing operation. However, this is not the case with most non-raster data. If a mosaic dataset contains a LAS dataset or terrain dataset, or corresponding cache files, they will not be copied to the server as part of the publishing operation. However, the mosaic dataset that is published on the server will still contain the references to this data; therefore, you can repair the paths. Recommendations include:
- The terrain dataset, LAS dataset, and any associated files (LAS files or constraint feature classes) are either on a shared drive that is registered with the server or replicated (duplicated) on the server before you publish the image service.
- Ensure the paths to the data in the mosaic dataset are modified to match the paths on the server if they are not the same as your source machine (when the data is replicated).
- If using a LAS dataset, ensure that it is using relative paths.
When sharing the mosaic dataset as an image service, it is best to publish the image service, then generate the cache for the mosaic dataset once it's on the server (since the cache is not copied when the mosaic dataset is shared as an image service).