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Accuracy Analysis of a 3D Model of Excavation, Created from Images Acquired with an Action Camera from Low Altitudes

Wierzbicki, Damian, Nienaltowski, Marcin
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2019 v.8 no.2
aerial photogrammetry, altitude, cameras, data collection, digital elevation models, landscapes, orthophotography, satellites, surveys, unmanned aerial vehicles, Poland
In the last few years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with compact digital cameras, have become a cheap and efficient alternative to classic aerial photogrammetry and close-range photogrammetry. Low-altitude photogrammetry has great potential not only in the development of orthophoto maps but is also increasingly used in surveying and rapid mapping. This paper presents a practical aspect of the application of the custom homemade low-cost UAV, equipped with an action camera, to obtain images from low altitudes and develop a digital elevation model of the excavation. The conducted analyses examine the possibilities of using low-cost UAVs to deliver useful photogrammetric products. The experiments were carried out on a closed excavation in the town of Mince (north-eastern Poland). The flight over the examined area was carried out autonomously. A photogrammetric network was designed, and the reference areas in the mine were measured using the Global Navigation Satellite System-Real Time Kinematic (GNSS-RTK) method to perform accuracy analyses of the excavation 3D model. Representation of the created numerical terrain model was a dense point cloud. The average height difference between the generated dense point cloud and the reference model was within the range of 0.01–0.13 m. The difference between the volume of the excavation measured by the GNSS kinematic method and the volume measured on the basis of a dense point cloud was less than 1%. The obtained results show that the application of the low-cost UAV equipped with an action camera with a wide-angle lens, allows for obtaining high-accuracy images comparable to classic, compact digital cameras.