The colorization filter populates dimensions in the point buffer using input values read from a raster file. Commonly this is used to add Red/Green/Blue values to points from an aerial photograph of an area. However, any band can be read from the raster and applied to any dimension name desired.

Points after colorization

After colorization, points take on the colors provided by the input image


GDAL is used to read the color information and any GDAL-readable supported format can be read.

The bands of the raster to apply to each are selected using the “band” option, and the values of the band may be scaled before being written to the dimension. If the band range is 0-1, for example, it might make sense to scale by 256 to fit into a traditional 1-byte color value range.

Default Embedded Stage

This stage is enabled by default

Streamable Stage

This stage supports streaming operations


      "dimensions":"Red:1:1.0, Blue, Green::256.0",


Certain data configurations can cause degenerate filter behavior. One significant knob to adjust is the GDAL_CACHEMAX environment variable. One driver which can have issues is when a TIFF file is striped vs. tiled. GDAL’s data access in that situation is likely to cause lots of re-reading if the cache isn’t large enough.

Consider a striped TIFF file of 286mb:

-rw-r-----@  1 hobu  staff   286M Oct 29 16:58 orth-striped.tif

Simple application of the filters.colorization using the striped TIFF with a 268mb readers.las file will take nearly 1:54.

[hobu@pyro knudsen (master)]$ time ~/dev/git/pdal/bin/pdal pipeline -i striped.json

real    1m53.477s
user    1m20.018s
sys 0m33.397s

Setting the GDAL_CACHEMAX variable to a size larger than the TIFF file dramatically speeds up the color fetching:

[hobu@pyro knudsen (master)]$ export GDAL_CACHEMAX=500
[hobu@pyro knudsen (master)]$ time ~/dev/git/pdal/bin/pdal pipeline striped.json

real    0m19.034s
user    0m15.557s
sys 0m1.102s



The raster file to read the band from. Any format supported by GDAL may be read.


A comma separated list of dimensions to populate with values from the raster file. Dimensions will be created if they don’t already exist. The format of each dimension is <name>:<band_number>:<scale_factor>. Either or both of band number and scale factor may be omitted as may ‘:’ separators if the data is not ambiguous. If not supplied, band numbers begin at 1 and increment from the band number of the previous dimension. If not supplied, the scaling factor is 1.0. [Default: “Red:1:1.0, Green:2:1.0, Blue:3:1.0”]


An expression that limits points passed to a filter. Points that don’t pass the expression skip the stage but are available to subsequent stages in a pipeline. [Default: no filtering]


A strategy for merging points skipped by a ‘where’ option when running in standard mode. If true, the skipped points are added to the first point view returned by the skipped filter. If false, skipped points are placed in their own point view. If auto, skipped points are merged into the returned point view provided that only one point view is returned and it has the same point count as it did when the filter was run. [Default: auto]