how to install LAStools toolbox in QGIS

This post is obsolete. Please see the updated blog entry:

LAStools as QGIS plugin

The more complex installation instructions are only relevant for older QGIS versions. Starting with QGIS 2.10 or newer you can skip directly to step 4 and disregard most of step 6:

We had an ArcGIS LiDAR processing toolbox since April 2012 and now we have one for QGIS as well. It has been tested successfully with QGIS 1.8.0-Lisboa, 2.0.1-Dufour, 2.2.0-Valmiera, and 2.4.0-Chugiak. Download and install QGIS. For version 2.2.0-Valmiera and older follow all the steps. Do not delete or copy any files for the newest version 2.4.0-Chugiak but skip directly to step 4 and disregard most of step 6:

  1. If you already started QGIS then exit the application.
  2. Delete (or rename) the entire folder „C:\Program Files\QGIS Valmiera\apps\qgis\python\plugins\processing\lidar“.
    QGIS install (step 1)
  3. Put the „.\lidar“ folder that is inside this ZIP file into its place. This ZIP file only works for QGIS 2.2.0-Valmiera. For QGIS 2.0.1-Dufour you need to use the contents of this ZIP file instead. And for QGIS 1.8.0-Lisboa use this ZIP file and delete the folder „C:\Users\Martin\.qgis\python\plugins\sextante\lidar“ instead.
  4. Get the most recent version of LAStools by downloading the 36 MB „“ file.
  5. Drag and drop (or extract) the „.\LAStools“ folder from inside the ‚‚ file such that there is no space in the path (e.g. bad: „C:\Program Files\LAStools“, good: „D:\software\LAStools“).
  6. Start QGIS. If there is a Python script error carefully repeat steps 1 to 3.
  7. Turn on the „Processing Toolbox“ as shown below.
    turning on the "Processing Toolbox"
  8. Switch the processing toolbox from „Simplified Interface“ to „Advanced Interface“ as shown below.
    Switching the processing toolbox from "Simplified Interface" to "Advanced Interface"
  9. Open the „Options and configuration“ sub menu of „Processing“ as shown below.
    Opening the "Options and configuration" sub menu of "Processing"
  10. Check the „Activate“ button for „Providers->Tools for LiDAR data“ and fill in the path to your local LAStools folder as shown below. Type or copy & paste the path to LAStools (as the browse popup is broken). Press <strong>ENTER</strong> after entering the path so the field is greyed out again <em>before</em> clicking <strong>OK</strong>.
    Checking the "Activate" button for "Providers->Tools for LiDAR data" and filling in the path to the local LAStools folder.
  11. Now you should see the „Tools for LiDAR data“ in the toolbox and all the LAStools as shown below.
    Seeing the "Tools for LiDAR data" in the toolbox and all the LAStools
  12. Start lasground via double click and fill in the settings as shown below.
    Starting lasground via double click and filling in the settings
  13. Look at the file you just created by running lasview from the toolbox. Yay!
  14. Create this with two quick calls to las2dem and las2iso … sooo easy.
    Result after running las2dem and las2iso on fusa.laz sample

Kudos to Victor Olaya for creating this whole framework and providing me with example scripts for a simple LAStools toolbox that I just had to modify … (-:

108 Kommentare zu „how to install LAStools toolbox in QGIS“

  1. I have installed it in QGIS Dufour for Mac (it’s in /Applications/ but unfortunately just 11 tools appear (like in Linux I guess). Would be nice to see the others as well in future … 🙂

    1. You can compile the open source LAStools on OSX. But those are a lot fewer. On Linux folks are using the Window’s *.exe LAStools through ‚wine‘ without problem. Is there ‚wine‘ on OSX? Then a little tweak to the Python scripts would invoke ‚wine‘ to call LAStools. Should be a trivial little change.

      1. Wine works rather nice on OSX, usually I use Wine Bottler to turn a Win .exe into a Doesn’t work with all programmes but at least for a few.
        If I really need all LAStools in QGIS I can of course also use a Win version in a VM but it would be much nicer to have it working without the VM – but I can’t do anything re Python scripts as I have no skills with that (currently I am getting mad with installing matlib on my Mac – the installation process runs smooth, everything seems to be fine but when I want to install an extension which needs matlib in QGIS is tells me that matlib does not exist – I don’t know if that might have an impact on the Python-LAStool-Wine chain as well)

      2. Under linux (Ubuntu 13.10) I had troubles replacing lidar folders (linux path is little different: /user/.qgis/python/plugins/processing/lidar). It caused python errors every time I tried.
        I will try under Windows, but linux Qgis is much more stable.
        Thank You for plugin anyway.

  2. I think it does not work in the win64 developer version installed. I followed your instructions and I have the python script error window. It does work flawlessly in a stand allones installation of dufour 32 bits. Thanks for the great work!

  3. Martin, I finally did get this to run on my Win7 64-bit machine but only after discovering that the requirement „such that there is no space in the path (e.g. bad: “C:\Program Files\lastools”, good: “D:\software\lastools”)“ applies apparently to everything and every place; i.e., not just the placement of the tools; e.g.: good: „C:\qgis_related\data\19_05624899_q.las“, bad: „C:\MCC-LIDAR experiments\19_05624899 test 09.las“


    Professional Land Surveyor
    Horizon Surveying Co., Inc.
    Ellsworth, ME 04605

    1. Kelly, indeed. This is the first version of the LAStools toolbox for QGIS and there are still a few imperfections. I need to revisit all Python scripts again and add quotes around all the file names so that spaces in directory or file names become possible. Right now I am doing the same for the ArcGIS toolbox … please be patient. (-:

    1. The instructions have been confirmed to work with both the 32bit and the 64bit release version of QGIS 2.0.1. You seem not to follow them correctly. Note that the sripts do not work with the latest developer version due to a tiny incompatible change in the base script. But I assume 99% of you work with the release version and those that have the developer version can probably fix the script themselves … (-:

  4. Dear Martin
    I Installed QGIS dufour -win32-and lastools, following the intructions above. I get to see the lastools in the qgis toolbox, also the GUI pops up when I run e.g. lasview . It also runs ok, but produces not results. I took a look a the log file in QGIS a got the following message „processing.runalg(„lidartools:lasview“,True,“D:/tyrifjorden/las_data/BNO090050_LIER2009_LASER_32-2-509-134-21.las“)“ . So, there is no indication that the algorithm failed.
    Afterwards, I tried to execute the same tool „lasview“ as a batch process and got the following message: „batch processing successfully completed“, but still nothing showed up in the QGIS canvas. I also tried lasinfo algorithm but, got the same response. Afterwards, I went into the c://temp (local) to see if the data was there. Nothing was produced. Any hint?
    Thanks in advance
    best regards

    1. Not all tools will produce output to the QGIS canvas. Only tools producing rasters (e.g. las2dem, lasgrid, ..) or those producing polygons (e.g. lasboundary, las2iso, …). Most certainly lasview will not ever produce any output. It is just meant for viewing a LAS file interactively.

  5. Dear Martin,
    thanks for your quick reply . I am not still able to use lastools. I run las2iso and las2dem and i both cases I got the following messages
    Oooops! The following output layers could not be open
    Output vector file: C:\Temp\processing\8f49ec6b8ef24f0abc32dd25abab9c62\OUTPUT_VECTOR.shp
    The above files could not be opened, which probably indicates that they were not correctly produced by the executed algorithm
    Checking the log information might help you see why those layers were not created as expected. Any hint ?
    thanks in advance

      1. I had it in mind when I installed LAStools. That’s not the problem. Everything opens fine. but when I tried to execute something, nothing happens or appears a message like „Oooops! The following output layers could not be open“ 😉

  6. Rengifo & Vitor Jorge, I’m having the exact same problem! I have more than triple checked to be sure there are no spaces in any paths (for the lastools, for input, for output, etc.) and although everything appears to run correctly with no errors, there appear to be no results. I understand that the output from lasground will not be drawn to the QGIS canvas, but I do expect the output *.las file to be written in the folder I specified! I was sure to check „Save to File“ (instead of „Save to Temporary File“), but after the tools runs, my output is not there for me to continue working. Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

    1. Dear Martin,
      I remark that there are differences between options of lastools in ArcGis and QGIS. By exemple, in ArcGis when we use lasview , we have to specify the number of points that the input will be sampled down to (sample points =2000000 by default). But in QGIS we do not have this possibility. So I Would like to know whether all the points are effectively viewed in the screen in QGIS.
      Thank you
      Anned-Linz SENADIN

    2. I am having the same problem Emma, Renfigor, & Vitor! Here is my error message:

      „Oooops! The following output layers could not be open
      Output raster file: G:/Users/Holly/Oaktree/jjj.tif
      The above files could not be opened, which probably indicates that they were not correctly produced by the executed algorithm
      Checking the log information might help you see why those layers were not created as expected“

      Then the log is blank

  7. Hi, I get the error message:
    „C:/PROGRA~1/QGISDU~1/apps/qgis/./python/plugins\processing\gui\“, line 200, in accept self.setParamValues()
    when I try to install LAStools. All applications in LAStools gives the same error message. Any suggestion of how I can solve the problem? Thanks.

  8. from processing.core.ProcessingUtils import ProcessingUtils
    File „C:/GIS/Apps/OSGEO4~1/apps/qgis/./python\qgis\“, line 453, in _import
    mod = _builtin_import(name, globals, locals, fromlist, level)
    ImportError: No module named ProcessingUtils

    That’s the error when installing the latest plugin into QGIS 2.0.1 from the 64bit OSGeo4W installer on Windows 8.1. Replaced „lidar“ folders in both C:\OSGeo4W64\Apps\QGIS and C:\Users\username\.qgis2 locations. Luckily I saved the old lidar folders and restored them and it starts up fine now.

  9. Hello,
    First of all: Many thanks for doing this!!!
    Now my input: I also had the problem that I installed everything according to plan but the LAS tools did not seem to run. I had: C:\software\
    I needed C:\software\lastools\
    I also needed to put in the same folder at „fusion folder“ so I could use the viewer.

    This may be exceptinally stupid to forget I kept the tools within that folder and only to put in the root folder for this but maybe someone will find this helpful.
    If I started the tools manually they did run. If I used the plugin, the window disappeared far to fast. That’s how I guessed the tools might not run.
    Suggestion: Could the plugin nag a little if it does not fint the tools at all? Just for fools like me.
    Cheers Lars

    1. 2.2 has the tool box in the advanced QGIS interface. You still need to activate it as described above. However, I cannot get it to work. It gives me this: “ Missing dependency.This algorithm cannot be run 🙁
      LAStools folder is not configured. Please configure it before running LAStools algorithms.“

    1. Hi guys 🙂
      The same problem as you with Valmiera ;/ and I have managed all the databases, server etc. on this version so I wont go back with previous ones. I would rather wait a little 🙂

        1. This is great, the tools that are available are now working on OSX. I can see and run las2las_filter, las2las_transform, las2txt, lasindex, lasinfo, lasmerge, lasprecision,lasvalidate,laszip, and txt2las. Is it possible to get lasviewer working on OSX, or any of the other processing tools available to windows users? I see the wine workaround mentioned above, but I am an amateur and have not used that program before.

  10. The ‚*.exe‘ files are in the ‚lastools\bin‘ folder. But – like shown in step 10 above – as the ‚LAStools folder‘ you should specify the location of ‚c:\software\lidar\lastools‘ or ‚d:\superfast\lastools‘ or whereever else you unzipped the ‚lastools‘ folder from the ‚‘ distribution.

    1. Using Windows 64-bit and Valmiera: I found that although I could overwrite the path settings in the Options and Configuration dialog those settings would not stick. They kept reverting to the original settings. I solved by manually editing both processing.conf and processing_qgis.conf found in the folder C:\Users\%USERINAME%\.qgis2\processing .

      I don’t recall having this problem with Dufour.

      1. Carina Thorsted Münster

        I found that the problem can also be solved by changing the direction of the „/“ in the path. The path must be „C:/QGIS Valmiera/apps\lastools“. That was what solved it for me =)

  11. There has been a big update to the LAStools toolboxes for QGIS 2.2 Valmiera. You will find LAStools Pipelines (for more complex workflows combining multiple tools) and the beginning of LAStools Production (for operating on entire folders of files instead of one file at a time). Pay attention to the comments by I. Reid as you may need to use the work-around he suggests for a successful installation …

  12. Pingback: First ever LiDAR Processing Model in QGIS | rapidlasso GmbH

  13. Hi folks, I“m trying to do this with the latest version of QGIS (2.4 Ghugiak) on OS X Mavericks (10.9.4). I’ve followed the directions above, but the system will not link the path to the directory with the activated toolbox in QGIS. Anyone have any hints?

  14. Pingback: Instalacja toolboxa LAStools i FUSION w QGIS 2.2.0 |

  15. Pingback: Using LAStools on Mac OS X with “Wine” | rapidlasso GmbH

  16. Who wants to beta test the all new and improved QGIS 2.4 toolbox (from the QGIS hackfest in Essen)? It can be downloaded from here:

    Simply rename the current ‚processing‘ (sub-)folder of your QGIS install that is located here:

    C:\Program Files\QGIS Chugiak\apps\qgis\python\plugins\processing

    to something like this:

    C:\Program Files\QGIS Chugiak\apps\qgis\python\plugins\processing_orig

    and then put the contents of the ZIP archive (which contains a folder called ‚processing‘) in its place that is a complete replacement for the current folder. These instructions replace steps 2 and 3 of those 14 steps listed in the blog article above.

    1. I’ve followed the 10/16/2014 and 7/30/2014 instructions as best as I can, but still no dice. Must be some kind of file path error? Where do the LAStools files live in the ‚processing‘ folder that’s inside ‚‘? Thank you for your time.

  17. Thanks Martin for the new version for Chugiak, great job again!
    I’ve installed it on my Mac and I have now 22 tools available, still some (like lasground etc. are missing).
    Seems that wine will be the easier option on Mac, though I would have preferred to use it directly from within QGIS

  18. Hello,

    I am having a python error – „an error has occurred while executing Python code“ when I try to save to file when running the lasground tool.

    I am running windows 7 on a 64 bit system with QGis 2.4. I followed the above instructions and not sure how to fix the python link.

    Does anyone know what is happening?



  19. Holy crap, now that is stupidity in details. I got LAStools to work….I was using a file name with spaces… Martin dear, be a nice guy and put this in chocolate letters in the first line of this page……LAStools does not like spaces in filenames as well…..Kelly Bellis saved my day (eh, almost it’s now 8 minutes past 12)…….

    Greets, Ed.

    1. As part of each „Processing Toolbox“ (that is how LAStools is part of QGIS, it is a toolbox not a plugin) there is a log that will inform you if and what went wrong. You should also see the actual LAStools command line that is being called by QGIS. Sometimes the output is simply in the wrong folder …

  20. Hi Martin,
    Thnx for making such a nice addition to QGIS.
    But unfortunately I’ve got a little problem with LAStools.
    It seems that I haven’t got a ‚output‘ location like in the screenshots.

    I’m trying to convert a .laz file, but can’t select the output location.
    I’ve already tried to find a sollution, but can’t seems to discover what i’ve done wrong.

    Hoping you can help.

    With kind regards

  21. Pingback: Problem operating LAStools in QGIS 2.6.1 | Question and Answer

  22. A solution to the „global name ‚os‘ is not defined“ problem with QGIS 2.6.1 was posted in the LAStools user forum by Tomáš Svárovský. I summarize:

    Although the LAStools toolbox is already installed in 2.6.1, download newest version from this address: http:\\\download\ Extract and copy the folder „LAStools“ somewhere. The path to this folder must not contain spaces (e.g. „C:\q gis\LAStools“ is wrong but „C:\q_gis\LAStools“ is ok.

    Then uncompress the file „“ from the folder „LAStools\QGIS_toolbox“. The name of the extracted folder will be „processing“. Use it to replace the original „processing“ folder of QGIS 2.6.1 that you will find at the corresponsing location in your QGIS installation to this one here: C:\QGIS_Brighton\apps\qgis\python\plugins\processing

    Finally set the path to tell QGIS where to find LAStools under QGIS>processing>Option and Configuration>Tools for LiDAR data>LAStools folder to where your copied your LAStools folder to (e.g. „C:\q_gis\LAStools“).

  23. I have Quantum GIS Lisboa 1.8.0 and I don’t have the „processing toolbox“. I cant do anything you say because i cant even rename a folder that doesn’t exist. I cant instal a newer version, só what can I do?

  24. Hi Martin,

    It is impossible to me to execute a tool from LAStools, in every time, the same error message appears:

    ‚ Ascii ‚ codec can‘ t encodes to character u ‚\xe9 \xe9 ‚ in position 62: ordinal not in tidy up (128) See log for more details

    I am running windows 8.1 on a 64 bit system with QGis 2.4.
    Can you help me?



  25. Hi!

    Easy tutorial, thank you. For me (QGIS 2.8 Wien) I had to change the output folder of the laz file to something else than the input folder of the fuza.laz file. The screenshot could perhaps be changed so that the input/output are different.

  26. Pingback: Missing dependency for Lastools in QGIS 2.8.5 Wein | Question and Answer

  27. Hi, I am 95% of the way, I can see the tools etc but when I run lasground I am getting an error. I am using QGIS 2.14.9.
    I can see the LAStools, but when I try to save a file with lasground, I see the following error, „LAStools command line
    C:\lidar\bin\lasground -i C:/Users/James Wallace/Desktop/LIDAR/Nashville/AY15.las -o C:/Users/James Wallace/Desktop/Here/ok.laz
    LAStools console output. The system cannot find the path specified“. Thanks, James

  28. Hi, I’ve done everything the way you did, but I have not resolved the problem with this mistake, but I’m glad you helped. The point cloud data was produced in Agisoft.

    ‚ascii‘ codec can’t encode character u’\u0131′ in position 46: ordinal not in range(128) See log for more details

  29. Hi
    i have Qgis 2.18.0 and when i try to active lidar on processing options this error apears:

    Wrong value for parameter „Pasta Msys“:

    Specified path does not exist:

    Thks guys

    p.s. I have portuguese windows.

    1. Vitao,
      This may be a little late for you, but I hit the same error message just now. I decided to try adding the msys directory to the apps directory and then including „C:\Program Files\QGIS 2.18\apps“ to the system path environmental variable. It seems to have worked. Though there’s nothing in the msys directory now, I get output (although coarse) from the lasview routine that looks roughly like the intended area.

  30. Joseph A Martinetti

    I don’t know if this has been addressed, or if I’m not doing something right, but I get the same error that Kelly posted about back in 2013 – spaces in the pathnames for the LAS Toolbox for QGIS 2.14 Essen. When I try and run the tools, such as las2iso, I get the error, „Algorithm las2iso starting…
    ‚C:\Program‘ is not recognized as an internal or external command,
    operable program or batch file. „

    1. Hello. Indeed. You should not install LAStools in a directory that contain a “ “ in the name. All folders and sub-folders in the LAStools PATH must be free of spaces and other funny characters. Simply move your LAStools distribution to „C:\LAStools“ and update the value of the LAStools folder variable in QGIS.

      1. Joseph A Martinetti

        Thank you, but I already tried that (copied the lastools to C:\LAStools\lastools), updated the values for both the lastools and fusion paths, but I get the error message back that it cannot find the new path:
        Algorithm las2iso starting…
        The system cannot find the path specified.

        I’m sure that this is where the error is occurring because the error changes when I put the LAStools in the Prgram Files folder.

        I noticed on one of your online videos that you mentioned to change the option on the bottom of the Processing Toolbox in QGIS to Advanced, but that option doesn’t appear on my GUI. IS there somewhere else to look? I’ll check out the info online…

        1. If you copy your LAStools distribution to C:\LAStools\lastools then you need to set the QGIS folder to C:\LAStools\lastools. The folder that is specified must be such that once the QGIS LAStools toolsbox adds „.\bin\las2iso.exe“ to this folder that is correctly points to the las2iso.exe executable. In your case already the path to the executable cannot be found. So I think your executable is in „C:\LAStools\lastools\bin\las2iso.exe“ but your current settings looks for the tools in the incorrect folder, namely at „C:\LAStools\bin\las2iso.exe“.

  31. Hi,
    I’d like to use the LAStools into the latest version of qGIS, I mean qGIS 3.0. Any way to do so? I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance. Kind regards. Oscar F. Manso.

    1. Hello Oscar,

      I have not yet tried to run LAStools with QGIS 3.0 and I suspect a lot of things may be different / broken due to all algorithm providers becoming plugins now. We will need completely new installation instructions for the 3.X version of QGIS. Any success story and / or instructions that you could share would be appreciated.


  32. Esakki Ram Kumarr

    Good Morning Sir,
    I had Installed the LAStools in QGIS 2.16.2 and it is successfully shown in the Processing Toolbox of the QGIS, But from the step 11 the lasground tool doesn’t create the output file in QGIS though I provided the output directory and the tools doesn’t run in QGIS and doesn’t show any error.
    Waiting for your positive replay

  33. Hi!
    I’m trying to install LAStools on QGIS 3.4, I have followed the steps from step 6, but after entering the correct path to LAStools I gat an error:
    An error has occurred while executing Python code:

    RuntimeError: wrapped C/C++ object of type OfflineMapMatchingAlgorithm has been deleted
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File „C:/…/AppData/Roaming/QGIS/QGIS3\profiles\default/python/plugins\Offline-MapMatching\mm_processing\“, line 60, in loadAlgorithms
    self.addAlgorithm( alg )
    RuntimeError: wrapped C/C++ object of type OfflineMapMatchingAlgorithm has been deleted

    How do I fix this?

    1. All these instructions are no longer valid for QGIS 3.2 and up. The installation is now done via the Plugin functionality of QGIS:

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