In 3D with the drones

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With the help of a drone and a camera mounted on a drone, it is now possible to easily solve tasks that were unthinkable a few years ago. This is the case, for example, when I want to make a spatial computer model of a building. All it takes is a medium-equipped drone and the right software. A special type of route planning previously developed is when we walk around the surroundings of a particular building while taking shots with the drone. In this case, too, a Google map is the starting point, here you have to mark the object for which you want to make a 3D model. Once you have selected the outline or perimeter of the object, you can trust the rest with your software.

The program calculates the altitude and route at which the drone should fly while taking photographs. This usually means multiple round trips on the lines of a square mesh. Orthogonal photos taken during the flight can be supplemented at the end of the flight with images taken from an even higher position during orbital flight. It all takes a few minutes and the rest is up to the software. The number of images taken during a modeling mission depends on the size of the building, object, and flight altitude. If you fly at higher altitudes, fewer images are needed to cover the entire area, however, in this case the resolution of the finished model will be lower, the details will not be as accurate. To get a good quality end result, the images must have at least 60-70 percent overlap. This means that 700-1000 high-resolution photos are needed to model a medium-sized building.

Fortunately, the cameras in the drones have extremely good stabilizers (gimbals), so images can be taken on the fly, flying at speeds of up to 20-25 km / h. From the many, many images taken during such a flight, a program automatically generates the three-dimensional model. We can rotate, zoom in, view it from all directions. Since the description file of such a three-dimensional model is standard, it is also impossible to transfer it to a 3D printer, which can quickly create a model of the building. The best known drone mapping / modeling software system is DroneDeploy, which is free to try, so anyone interested can see what it can do. If we want to use this 3D modeling technique commercially, we already have to pay a relatively peppery price for the subscription.

At DroneDeploy, you can not only create a 3D model, but also take high-resolution special photos of a certain area. The artificial intelligence built into the processing software recognizes the various objects, so you can automatically count how many trees, how many cars, how many people can be discovered in the finished image. We can also examine the vegetation with the recordings. No special camera or other sensor is needed to get a good estimate of the general condition of the plants. Even on a large area, you can easily and quickly see where there is an area where drought or even wild damage may be a problem in the vegetation. Of course, for plant health tests, special tools must already be used.

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