This post is the latest in the Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Series, which profiles interesting information, thoughts and research into using drones, UAVs or remotely piloted vehicles for journalism and photography, that Kike learns about during his travels.
3D UAV mapping technology is delving into uncharted territory, finding applications for the union of UAV hardware and image processing software not before used. Mapping the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro is one of those applications, as an accurate 3D reconstruction of the icon has never been produced. And for good reason: the 38 meter statue is perched on a narrow terrace atop a 700 meter peak, its location exposing it to high winds and irregular cloud cover.
The NEXT lab of PUC University in Rio de Janeiro had long dreamt of creating an accurate 3D model of the Christ statue, but ran into limitations using LiDAR technology. There were too many facades and high angles to scan the whole statue, not to mention the enormous cost of laser scanning and lack of a highly reliable aerial method with the hardware needed to acquire the data.
So when the lab saw that Pix4D, a Swiss company, had done a 3D reconstruction of the Matterhorn using UAV acquired data, they contacted the image-mapping software startup and asked them to help.
Pix4D and NEXT lab needed a highly controllable and reliable UAV for the flight, one able to withstand strong wind drafts and guarantee no accidental damage to the monument. They chose the small Aeryon Scout, a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) quad rotor UAV that allowed for safe operation.
“Creating a model of Christ in Rio was perfect because it has such detail,” said Christoph Strecha, CEO and Founder of Pix4D. “It was the perfect structure to show the possibilities of drone usage in image processing technology, where traditional methods like laser scanning have not been practical.”
The team spent six consecutive days with the Aeryon Scout, collecting what came to a total of 3,584 photos before the visitors arrived each morning. 2’090 of those images were used for the reconstruction with Pix4Dmapper Pro, in addition to an on-site linear measurement taken by the project team, and 82 manual tie points to merge the sub-projects.
The final 3D model came out in complex form: both as a 134.4 million point point-cloud and as a full 3D textured mesh of 2.5 million triangles.
Learn More About Drones:
Kike Calvo´s Drone Collections
Drone / UAV Dictionary: Includes 300 Commercial UAV Applications
Drones: Their Many Civilian Uses and the U.S. Laws Surrounding Them.
Cool stuff for Drone and Unmanned Vehicle enthusiasts
Drone Entrepreneurship: 30 Businesses You Can Start
Small Unmanned Aircraft: Theory and Practice
Introduction to Unmanned Systems: Air, Ground, Sea & Space
UAV Fundamentals Executive Course
How to Start an Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) Business Course on DVD
Small UAV Construction
Getting Started with Hobby Quadcopters and Drones: Learn about, buy and fly these amazing aerial vehicles
Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Drone Pilot (Cool Careers)
Fly by Wire Aircraft: Fighters, Drones, and Airliners
Introduction to Remote Sensing, Fifth Edition
Popular minicopters and drones include:
DJI Phantom 2 Vision
DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+
3d Robotics Iris+ Multicopter 915 Mhz 3DR IRIS+
DJI Inspire 1
Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Jungle
Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider
Nano QX BNF
Walkera QR LadyBird V2 Mini
Hubsan SpyHawk FPV RC Plane
Badboy Quadcopter With Camera
The New Hubsan X4 H107L
MaxSale Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter With Camera Mode 2 RTF