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3D mapped image by drone 10 times sharper than satellites

  • 09/01/2019
  • Drones that track damage to road infrastructure, count number of potholes and monitor properties to calculate tax, and much more.
  • A detailed 3D map of Bengaluru could help the Bruhath Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) pinpoint properties, and measure the built-up area for tax collection.
  • The startup, Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS), says its co-founder Vipul Singh, has already mapped 120 towns of Maharashtra and 167 urban local bodies in Punjab.

how is drone mapping different from satellite imagery?

The image resolution is 10 times sharper than satellites. The best imagery offered by a commercial US satellite offers 1.5 metres/pixel. The commercial drone can provide details as sharp as 3 cm/pixel.

The Model

  • It can capture very detailed 3D model of the area, to generate a digital surface model and a terrain model. Large areas could be covered in a day even without many ground control points.
  • This would mean over 60 sq km of the area could be mapped in a single day. This range has helped the startup take up area mapping on a massive scale. Its drones, informs Singh, had mapped 3,000 mines all across Telangana.
  • To create 3D maps, the camera is mounted on the drone and is usually pointed vertically towards the ground. Multiple overlapping photos (80 to 90% overlap) of the ground are taken as the UAV flies along an autonomous programmed flight path called a waypoint.
  • A similar process is employed for drone-based environmental (green cover) assessment. Vegetation covers are measured, trees counted, and water flow planned. The drones’ 3D outputs are then processed for efficient planning of watershed, flood flow and drainages.