Research Project

HELIOS - Heidelberg LiDAR Operations Simulator


HELIOS++ will be available soon - first users may contact us to get hands on the v0.9 beta release. Stay tuned for updates!

Stay up-to-date by following HELIOS in our GIScience News Blog and on Twitter: #HELIOS.

A Blender add-on is available to convert Blender scenes to HELIOS scenes with semantic labels: Blender2Helios (developed by M. Neumann, 2020).

Download and Use HELIOS

HELIOS is open source (GNU GPL) and hosted in our github repository. A pre-compiled version can be downloaded here. The corresponding wiki contains information on how to set up and handle HELIOS.

Some impressions of HELIOS

3DGeo Publications

Publications from Other Research Groups


In many technical domains of modern society, there is a growing demand for fast, precise and automatic acquisition of digital 3D models of a wide variety of physical objects and environments. Laser scanning is a popular and widely used technology to cover this demand, but it is also expensive and complex to use to its full potential.

There are scenarios in which the operation of a real laser scanner can be replaced by a computer simulation, in order to save time and costs. This includes scenarios like teaching and training of laser scanning, development of new scanner hardware and scanning methods, or generation of artificial scan data sets to support the development of point cloud processing and analysis algorithms.

Following this idea, we develop a highly flexible laser scanning simulation framework named Heidelberg LiDAR Operations Simulator (HELIOS).

HELIOS platforms
Project Tasks

HELIOS is implemented as a Java library and split up into a core component and multiple extension modules. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is used to define scanner, platform and scene models and to configure the behaviour of modules. Modules are developed and implemented for (1) loading of simulation assets and configuration (i.e. 3D scene models, scanner definitions, survey descriptions etc.), (2) playback of XML survey descriptions, (3) TLS survey planning (i.e. automatic computation of recommended scanning positions) and (4) interactive real-time 3D visualization of simulated surveys.

Projects Using Helios

How to Cite HELIOS

If you use HELIOS in your work, please cite:

Bechtold, S. & Höfle, B. (2016): HELIOS: A Multi-Purpose LiDAR Simulation Framework for Research, Planning and Training of Laser Scanning Operations with Airborne, Ground-Based Mobile and Stationary Platforms. ISPRS Annals of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. Vol. III-3, pp. 161-168. DOI: 10.5194/isprs-annals-III-3-161-2016

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