Build LAS Dataset Pyramid (Data Management)


Constructs or updates a LAS dataset display cache, which optimizes its rendering performance.


  • The LAS dataset pyramid is stored in the same location as the LAS dataset: in a directory whose name begins with the name of the LAS dataset and ends with .slas. The pyramid typically occupies one-third of the overall size of the LAS files referenced by the LAS dataset and is composed of multiple levels of progressively thinned LAS points. The points participating in each level are determined by binning the space where the points exist and selecting one point in each binned region using the point selection method.

  • The construction of the LAS dataset pyramid maximizes the use of available memory resources to speed up the operation. When a sufficient amount of RAM is not available, the required memory will be paged to disk. If possible, consider freeing up memory by exiting unnecessary applications prior to executing this tool.

  • Temporary files that are approximately equal to the size of the LAS files or the uncompressed size of the zLAS files will be generated in the scratch workspace. Make sure the scratch workspace is set to a location with a sufficient amount of storage space.

  • A LAS dataset with a pyramid includes a new schema that is not supported in ArcGIS Desktop or in ArcGIS Pro releases prior to 2.6. If the LAS dataset is actively used in those applications, consider creating a duplicate of the LAS dataset using the Copy tool. Then build the pyramid on the duplicate dataset. The same LAS files can be referenced by both LAS datasets. If the pyramids have already been built and the LAS files need to be used in applications that do not support the pyramid, use the Create LAS Dataset tool to create a LAS dataset that references the same files. You don't need another copy of the source LAS files; you need another LAS dataset with no pyramid.

  • The LAS dataset pyramid will be outdated if new LAS file references are added to the LAS dataset, existing LAS file references are removed from the LAS dataset, or if the LAS files referenced by the LAS dataset have their class code values updated by a geoprocessing tool. When this happens, you can update the display pyramid by running this tool again on the LAS dataset.

  • Once the LAS dataset pyramid has been constructed, the point selection method cannot be changed. To use a different point selection method, delete the old pyramid and run this tool again with the new method.

  • A LAS dataset pyramid can be deleted using the Remove Files From LAS Dataset tool or from the Pyramid tab on the LAS Dataset Properties dialog box. To access the LAS Dataset Properties dialog box, right-click the LAS dataset in the Catalog pane or the Catalog view and select the Properties option.

Syntax, {point_selection_method}, {class_codes_weights})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The LAS dataset to process.

LAS Dataset Layer

Specifies how the point in each binned region will be selected to construct the pyramid. This parameter is disabled if the LAS dataset contains a pyramid.

  • Z_MINThe point with the lowest z-value will be selected.
  • Z_MAXThe point with the highest z-value will be selected.
  • CLOSEST_TO_CENTERThe point that is closest to the center of the binned region will be selected.
  • CLASS_CODEThe point with the highest weight value will be selected.

The weights assigned to each class code that determine which points are retained in each thinning region. This parameter is only enabled when the Class Code Weights option is specified in the Point Selection Method parameter. The class code with the highest weight will be retained in the thinning region. If two class codes with the same weight exist in a given thinning region, the class code with the smallest point source ID will be retained.

Value Table

Derived Output

NameExplanationData Type

The updated LAS dataset.

LAS Dataset Layer

Code sample

BuildLasDatasetPyramid example (Python window)

The following sample demonstrates the use of this tool in the Python window.

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = 'C:/data'
arcpy.ddd.BuildLasDatasetPyramid('test.lasd', 'MIN_Z')

Licensing information

  • Basic: Requires 3D Analyst or Spatial Analyst
  • Standard: Yes
  • Advanced: Yes

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