Reference : An evaluation of low-cost consumer-grade UAS systems for 3D reality capture
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An evaluation of low-cost consumer-grade UAS systems for 3D reality capture
Backes, Dietmar mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Engineering Research Unit >]
Teasdale, Oliver [University College London - UCL > CEGE]
Eloff, Jacques [Vertech Imaging]
2nd Virtual Geoscience Conference (VGC)
from 21-10-2016 to 23-10-2016
[en] 3D reality capture ; drone photogrammetry ; SfM-MVS ; validation
[en] During the last years, small lightweight and low cost remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) commonly referred as Drones have rapidly developed into capable low-cost Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Fuelled by a vibrant community of scientists, professionals and hobby enthusiasts enabling technologies have matured quickly, and prices of consumer grade as well as semi-professional systems fell sharply.
Especially multirotor vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS have proven to be versatile and flexible platforms which can be equipped with a range of sensors capable of capturing aerial data for a variety of 2D and 3D mapping applications. Consumer grade, low weight systems as the DJI Phantom or 3DR Solo have a limited payload and can carry low weight action cameras like the GoPro Hero models which are capable of collecting video as well as still RGB and near-infrared imagery. Applying traditional Photogrammetric methods to imagery from low-cost UAS systems proved complex and impractical in the past. However modern the state-of-the-art structure from motion algorithms implemented in off the shelf software packages (sometimes referred as new Photogrammetry), cloud processing environments and available via open source libraries promise to generate dense 3D point clouds, textured models and orthomosaics in high quality and without much effort. How accurate and how reliable are data products generated from such systems?
Expanding from a preliminary study (BACKES & TEASDALE 2015) we review the every progressing capabilities and features of COTS (commercial of the shelf) user and semi-professional UAS systems under the aspects of deployable sensors, ease of use, reliability as well as safety. We show the workflow from flight planning, data collection to dense pointclould matching using a range of software products. The resulting point clouds are evaluated and benchmarked using a highly accurate and dense reference data acquired via geodetic terrestrial survey and Laserscanning. The results of this evaluations allow conclusions on the current accuracy capabilities of this such low-cost systems.

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