The NITF format is used primarily by the US Department of Defense and supports many kinds of data inside a generic wrapper. The NITF 2.1 version added support for LIDAR point cloud data, and the NITF file reader supports reading that data, if the NITF file supports it.

  • The file must be NITF 2.1
  • There must be at least one Image segment (“IM”).
  • There must be at least one DES segment (“DE”) named “LIDARA”.
  • Only LAS or LAZ data may be stored in the LIDARA segment

The dimensions produced by the reader match exactly to the LAS dimension names and types for convenience in file format transformation.


Only LAS or LAZ data may be stored in the LIDARA segment. PDAL uses the readers.las and writers.las to actually read and write the data.


PDAL uses a fork of the NITF Nitro library available at for NITF read and write support.

Default Embedded Stage

This stage is enabled by default

Streamable Stage

This stage supports streaming operations




Filename to read from [Required]
Maximum number of points to read. [Default: unlimited]
Spatial reference to apply to the data. Overrides any SRS in the input itself. Can be specified as a WKT, proj.4 or EPSG string. [Default: none]

Extra dimensions to be read as part of each point beyond those specified by the LAS point format. The format of the option is <dimension_name>=<type>, … where type is one of: int8, int16, int32, int64, uint8, uint16, uint32, uint64, float, double. _t may be added to any of the type names as well (e.g., uint32_t).


The presence of an extra bytes VLR when reading a version 1.4 file or a version 1.0 - 1.3 file with use_eb_vlr set causes this option to be ignored.

If an extra bytes VLR is found in a version 1.0 - 1.3 file, use it as if it were in a 1.4 file. This option has no effect when reading a version 1.4 file. [Default: false]
May be set to “lazperf” or “laszip” to choose either the LazPerf decompressor or the LASzip decompressor for LAZ files. PDAL must have been built with support for the decompressor being requested. The LazPerf decompressor doesn’t support version 1 LAZ files or version 1.4 of LAS. [Default: “none”]