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PhotoModeler 2018.1 Release and Drone Vertical Datums

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Drone Photography

PhotoModeler Release PhotoModeler version 2018.1.0 was released April 11th, 2018. It has a number of large and small improvements and fixes. UAV Control Marking Improvement. UAV and drone projects with GCP (ground control points) are now easier to set up. Multi-point Transform Improvement. Multi-point transforms can now be formed with just one point assigned (translate), or two points assigned (translate and scale). Evaluation System Improvement. Evaluation codes are now 30 days long and are easier to get. UI Speed Improvements. A variety of user interface speed improvements have been made. Drone Vertical Datums The title of this article mentions drone vertical datums – what does this have to do with the 2018.1 release?  First, what is a vertical datum? A…Read More

Why use Photogrammetry for Surveying and Mapping?

Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Photogrammetry UAV Camera Station Layout

Photogrammetry has a long history of use in the surveying and mapping field. Photogrammetry can be used for point measurements or for generating point clouds. Compared to its chief rival, LiDAR (Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging), point-cloud generation from photogrammetry is cost-effective, portable, and versatile, so it has always had a loyal following among practitioners. In recent years, however, interest in photogrammetry among surveying professionals has been enjoying a major boom. This trend has been catalyzed by the rise of affordable, commercially available aerial drones, or UAVs for short. UAVs provide a number of advantages which make photogrammetry even more accessible, and has led to a renewed interest in the technology. To understand why, let’s first take a look at…Read More

The Other Photogrammetry Automation – Coded Targets

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Photogrammetry Coded Target Examples

What are Coded Targets? Automation History Why Use Coded Targets? Coded Targets vs Smart Points Coded Target Examples and Applications What are Coded Targets? I am sure you’ve seen a bar code on product packaging. Bar codes are scanned by a laser that reads the pattern of white and black bars, and converts that into a unique number or ‘code’. The code can be used to identify the product at checkout. PhotoModeler’s Coded Targets are like bar codes, in that they uniquely identify something (in this case a point on an object or in a scene), but have three differences: the code is printed in a circle, making it easier to identify at all angles (including a slant), the code…Read More

Capturing BIM Data: An Affordable Alternative to Laser Scanning

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Image of a pc notebook and architectural drawings

BIM and the Importance of Image Processing BIM is the process of designing a building collaboratively with just one coherent system of 3D computer models, rather than multiple sets of separate diagrams. This leads to huge savings in time and resources, more accurate estimation, and fewer mistakes and alterations due to loss of data. BIM data can then be used for on-going management and maintenance of the building. The field of construction design has been transformed by the rise of digital technology. First, hand-drawn blueprints were replaced by 2D CAD systems. Then, as computing power grew, this evolved into 3D CAD. BIM is the next stage in the computerization of construction design, allowing more complex projects to be undertaken than…Read More

With a Camera Measure, Monitor, and Document Bridges

Posted on Monday, July 31st, 2017

The process of monitoring the health of bridges demands reliable measurement techniques. Traditional methods of monitoring the conditions of bridges are disruptive and may cause inconvenience to users. In addition, the approaches are labor-intensive, and the results are usually less accurate. Considering that there are many transportation structures that require routine monitoring, it is a costly endeavor to measure them all. Photogrammetry allows professionals to obtain accurate three-dimensional descriptions of structures from photographs. As compared to traditional measurement methods, this technique produces more accurate results, and it is suitable for various civil engineering projects. Furthermore, the method is less expensive than most traditional techniques. It is a standard practice for professionals to conduct feasibility studies before restoring a transportation structure.…Read More

With a Camera and a Drone Audit a Mine Reclamation

Posted on Monday, July 10th, 2017

Mining companies are often required to restore mine sites to economically usable conditions after extracting minerals. This process, usually referred to as mine reclamation, involves rehabilitation and other processes that minimize the environmental impact of mining. The reclaimed land can be used for agricultural, recreational, commercial, and residential uses. An audit of the reclaimed site by the company or by an agency, may be aided with aerial photography and 3D surface modeling. The topography of most mining sites makes it difficult for field experts to collect data needed for site mapping. Climbing one quarry face after another to take measurements using GPS systems or other survey tools is a labor-intensive, time-consuming, and dangerous activity. Use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)…Read More

With A Camera Perform Accurate and Detailed Surveying

Posted on Monday, May 15th, 2017

Surveying is an essential process in mapping, mining, construction, and architecture. This time and labor intensive process involves using a wide range of traditional and modern equipment to obtain measurements. Depending on the nature of the task, the required accuracy, and the challenges involved, a surveyor can use a tape measure/roller, a total station, a level, a laser scanner, or a photogrammetric tool. Most of today’s mapping, cadastral, and mining processes demand high accuracy surveys. Photogrammetry is a cost-effective method that also provides surveyors with accurate measurements. This technique entails generating models and measurements from photographic images. In this article, a few examples of the many uses of photogrammetric-based surveying are described. Some mapping, mining, cadastral, and construction surveys are…Read More

Efficient and Accurate Mapping with a DJI Matrice

Posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

The PhotoModeler partner, Klau Geomatics, is now selling their PPK (Post Processed Kinematic) GPS unit for DJI Matrice 100 and 600 UAV drones. This PPK unit, along with PhotoModeler’s PPK integration, provide excellent accuracy in ground surveying with minimal ground control. To get high accuracy with a drone photo-based survey, one usually needs to place and survey several ground control points spread across the area. Ground control points are either man-made targets (e.g. large cross) that you place on the ground before the flight, or visible natural features, and both surveyed with a high accuracy instrument (total station or RTK GPS). Minimizing or removing the need for ground control points speeds up your survey and reduces cost. This can be achieved…Read More

Survey Grade Accuracy with a Drone without Ground Control !

Posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

To get high accuracy with a drone photo-based survey, one usually needs to place and survey ground control points. Ground control points are either man-made targets (e.g. large cross) that you place on the ground before the flight, or visible natural features, surveyed with a high accuracy instrument (total station or RTK GPS). To achieve 2 cm to 4 cm ground accuracy from your drone survey over the whole area usually requires 10 or more ground control points. These ground control points (GCPs) require travel over the whole site, take time to place, survey, and optionally remove, and thus are an expensive method. Any way to reduce ground control requirements is money and time in your pocket! How can you reduce…Read More

UAS / UAV Photography for 3D Scanning, Measurement and Modeling

Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2015

With the proliferation of UAS/UAV (unmanned aircraft systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) armed with lightweight cameras it has become much easier to capture, scan, measure and 3D model scenes from above. The technique is called photogrammetry. You no longer need to hire an airplane to take aerial photos or purchase expensive aerial photos of your site for your photogrammetric project.   A scene can be shot with a UAS at various heights, with more flexibility, less risk, and significantly reduced cost than a piloted aircraft. UAS-based photogrammetry is great for larger landscapes, and objects that are difficult to capture from the ground. PhotoModeler is a software tool for converting photographs into accurate and useful 3D data. Accessible UAS camera platforms…Read More


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