Drone Photogrammetry: Make 3D Landscapes


Drones have many, many uses. One of my favorite ways to use my Phantom 3 drone is photogrammetry. It is very useful to be able to map out an area in 3D. Whether for personal or business use it gives unlimited perspectives of an area.

There are many programs and apps that are able to create these models, and I use Altizure (there is also DroneDeply, Pix4D, others which I review in the article Must Have Drone Apps). This app is easy to use, and best of all: free. It takes all the work out of photogrammetry (not having to manually capture 10s to 100s of photos). The software creates some pretty good quality 3D models, and even allows you to create a flyby 3D animation (as shown in the video at the top).

The app Altizure automatically sets up a route after you choose what area to capture

The app Altizure automatically sets up a route after you choose what area to capture

It really is amazing how effortless it is to create a 3D model of any landscape using photogrammetry and Altizure:

-Put a box around the area you want to capture on the map (it uses Google Maps).

-Set a height you want your drone to fly at to capture the images. BE CAREFUL: In order to capture different angles the drone will fly a little below this height. To avoid hitting anything I always set the height 50 feet higher than any tree or building in the area. The route can be stopped at anytime, so try to keep an eye on it.

-The app creates a path for the drone to fly.

Quick Tip: New drone pilot? Or maybe want to master flying your quadcopter? Check out this online course that includes 77 lectures worth of advice and tutorials (that covers just about everything: planning, flying, filming, editing, laws, etc.): Stunning Aerial Videography and Photography Using Drones

-Connect your drone, hit takeoff (the checkmark), and watch it become a flying robot (it’s scary how smart this thing is).

-After it takes enough pictures it will return to you and land (or you can manually land it)

-Take your SD card from the drone and upload the images to Altizure.com

-Enjoy your 3D model. Even animate it online using Altizure’s built it editor (like I did in the video above).

echeng-pool-volume-dronedeploy-3

DroneDeploy is able to calculate many values based on depth.

Drones (linked to Amazon page) currently supported by

Altizure:

 

DroneDeploy (on IOS):

DroneDeploy (on Android):

 

Pix4Dcapture (on Android):

Pix4Dcapture (on IOS):

Photogrammetry is an awesome technique used to turn the world around you to 3D. Game designers are even beginning to use photogrammetry to create game landscapes and models. You can even create something with your smartphone (check out my 10 Tips and Tricks for Photogrammetry). Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
  • TechnologyGuy

    Thanks for the article – very informative for the novice!

  • Mark Kevin Lam

    Thanks for the article. Is there a way to geo-rectify the survey with known coordinates, say using known targets?