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Forestry - Tree plantation management

3D photomesh and orthomosaic of bluegum tree plantation.

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Small Drone Mapping 101

The Aero Scout shares his experiences with UAV mapping and 3D models.

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Alkimos Beach - 3D Photomesh and Orthomosaic

Alkimos beach aerial survey to produce a 3D photomesh and orthomosaic.

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Chestnut Brae - Farm planning map

Demonstrating how drone imagery can be used as a base for effective farm planning.

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Small Construction Site - 3D Photomesh and Orthomosaic

UAV aerial survey of a construction site to produce a 3D photomesh and orthomosaic.

Shearing Shed - Drone images to Point cloud and 3D Revit model

Autodesk Recap 360 point cloud imported into Autodesk Revit 2016

Mission Summary

  • Goal:  Using a drone and aerial photogrammetry to demonstrate Recap 360 to Revit interoperability
  • Tech: Walkera Tali H500 hexacopter drone, GoPro Hero 4, Droid Planner 2, Autodesk Recap 360, Autodesk Revit, Event 38 DDMS.
  • Conditions: Light winds, sunny, hot
  • Outcome: Recap 360 can produce a 3D model and then export it in a .RCS format for Revit to import it as a point cloud. The quality of the model and point cloud is very important for accurate modelling and documentation in Revit.
Tali H500 in front of shearing shed, the subject for this 3D mapping mission using Autodesk Recap 360 and Revit

Months ago I watched a video from Autodesk showcasing it's 'reality capture' technology, in that video they demonstrated a drone taking images then converting the images into a 3D model, then importing the 3D model into Revit to create an Architectural concept. I was facinated with the technology and excited about trying it out myself.

I found the perfect test subject, the shearing shed down on the chestnut farm. It's a nice easy shape and in a relatively clear area. So I got the Tali H500 out and mapped the structure using both nadir and oblique techniques.

Aerial view of shearing shed from a drones perspective

Once the aerial survey was complete the next step was to take the images and process them using Autodesk's Recap 360 online service. I've used this program previously and whilst it's easy to use I have found that it doesn't give excellent results, that is that I haven't been able to great results from it yet. Nevertheless I created a new project and set Recap 360 to work using both image datasets. you can see a few screenshots from the process below.
Recap 360 home screen showing projects completed ready for viewing and downloading of files  

Top view of shearing shed model created in Recap 360 from images taken from a drone

Mesh of shearing shed model created in Recap 360 from images taken from a drone showing the location and angle of original picture
Mesh of shearing shed model created in Recap 360 from images taken from a drone

Export options in Recap 360 once the 3D model has been created

I exported the finished 3D model as an .RCS file, Revit imports this as a point cloud. Once the point cloud is imported you have effectively got a 3D 'site survey' that you can view just like any other 3D object in Revit. The point cloud has also been scaled and placed accurately within Revit so all measurements and references are correct. A user can orbit around the point cloud, cut sections through it, create plan views displaying it etc. The idea, I guess, is you can use it as a reference for a building extension. You simple start modelling Revit elements up against or around the point cloud. See below some screenshots from views created in Revit showing the point cloud in action.

A 3D view of a point cloud created with images taken from  a drone, produced in Recap 360 and imported into Revit

A plan view of a point cloud created with images taken from  a drone, produced in Recap 360 and imported into Revit

Elevation view of a point cloud created with images taken from  a drone, produced in Recap 360 and imported into Revit

Section view of a point cloud created with images taken from  a drone, produced in Recap 360 and imported into Revit 

I also took this opportunity to run the images through another couple of other post processing services I have discovered.

You can see below the results of an orthomosaic created using the Event38 DDMS service.



Below is an orthomosaic that I had generated by MapsMadeEasy.com.  I haven't used their 3D model service as yet, but do like how well this map has been created and the public sharing features they have. Feel free to zoom in and out and scroll around to take a closer look at the map.



Also, find below the 3D model uploaded to Sketchfab. You can orbit this model plus zoom in and out. The quality is not as good as it is in the original form, but it's pretty close. You might have to give it a few moments to load all the textures. This model wasn't created in Autodesk Recap 360 it was created in Agisoft Photoscan on a medium setting. Even though it was created on a lower setting, I still think it is a crisper, more accurate model than that produced by Recap.



This has been another 'drone adventure' in aerial surveying, inspection and mapping by The Aero Scout.

Chestnut Brae - Orchard mappping


Mission Summary

  • Goal:  Scouting a chestnut orchard and producing an aerial orthomosaic map
  • Tech: Walkera Tali H500 hexacopter drone, GoPro 4 actioncam, Droid Planner 2, Photoscan and Microsoft ICE, Event38 DDMS
  • Conditions: Late afternoon, warm and 5 knots from south west
  • Outcome: It's difficult to produce an orthomosaic of an orchard, also, sloping ground makes it even tougher to create an accurate 3 model. GPS coordinates embedded into the EXIF data in the images is essential. 

For this project I'm experimenting with scouting and creating a basic orthomosaic map of a chestnut orchard. For this mission I am borrowing a mate's GoPro4 to see how it performs with the new Feiyu Tech 3D Pro gimbal.

An aerial view of the orchard about to be scouted with the Tali H500 

The flight plan created in Tower app for the aerial mapping mission of the chestnut orchard 


Stitched photos from GoPro to create this basic orthomosaic of the chestnut orchard

This has been another 'drone adventure' in aerial surveying, inspection and mapping by The Aero Scout.

Sports Oval - Orthomosaic

Finished orthomosaic of a sports oval created using images from a GoPro2

Mission Summary

  • Goal:  Create a basic 'stitched image' orthomosaic with hexacopter and GoPro2 action camera.
  • Tech: Walkera Tali H500 hexacopter drone, GoPro 2 actioncam, Tower app and Microsoft ICE
  • Conditions: Midday, hot, 15 knots easterly 
  • Outcome: Successfully completed mapping mission using Tali H500 hexacopter with Tower app for planning. Post processing orthomosaics with GoPro and Nokia images where of average quality. 
This is the first mapping mission I completed with my new Tali H500 hexacopter. I did all the planning using the 3DR Tower app which worked great, no need to lug my laptop to the field now. The Tali dealt with the hot and windy conditions well although the flight time was a little shorter than I was hoping, probably because of the new LiPo battery. GoPro 2 images were fine and the post processing stitching was ok using Microsoft ICE.

Tali H500 and F12E controller ready for a mapping mission over a sport oval 

Using the 3DR Tower app for flight planning a survey mission with 80% overlap of images.

This has been another 'drone adventure' in aerial surveying, inspection and mapping by The Aero Scout.