Ever wondered how millions of data points captured by LiDAR can bring you accurate topographic maps? The point cloud (the term for the point data set collected by LiDAR), is simply a collection of XYZ points with a few additional attributes such as laser intensity, RGB color, and GPS timestamp. These points can easily be processed by automated algorithm employed by several LiDAR processing software. First, the algorithm will try to find any outliers and noise in the data and delete or classify them as noise. The remaining points are then analyzed further to find ground points, this time, specific parameters are applied to make sure the ground point detection algorithm mode is well suited for the type of the terrain/situation.

Here's a quick animation which shows the generation of topographic maps from LiDAR point cloud.