POLE PHOTOGRAMMETRY WITH AN ACTION CAMERA FOR FAST AND ACCURATE SURFACE MAPPING
Keywords: High resolution, Orientation, Point Cloud, Accuracy, Change Detection
Abstract. High resolution and high accuracy terrain mapping can provide height change detection for studies of erosion, subsidence or land slip. A UAV flying at a low altitude above the ground, with a compact camera, acquires images with resolution appropriate for these change detections. However, there may be situations where different approaches may be needed, either because higher resolution is required or the operation of a drone is not possible. Pole photogrammetry, where a camera is mounted on a pole, pointing to the ground, is an alternative. This paper describes a very simple system of this kind, created for topographic change detection, based on an action camera. These cameras have high quality and very flexible image capture. Although radial distortion is normally high, it can be treated in an auto-calibration process. The system is composed by a light aluminium pole, 4 meters long, with a 12 megapixel GoPro camera. Average ground sampling distance at the image centre is 2.3 mm. The user moves along a path, taking successive photos, with a time lapse of 0.5 or 1 second, and adjusting the speed in order to have an appropriate overlap, with enough redundancy for 3D coordinate extraction. Marked ground control points are surveyed with GNSS for precise georeferencing of the DSM and orthoimage that are created by structure from motion processing software. An average vertical accuracy of 1 cm could be achieved, which is enough for many applications, for example for soil erosion. The GNSS survey in RTK mode with permanent stations is now very fast (5 seconds per point), which results, together with the image collection, in a very fast field work. If an improved accuracy is needed, since image resolution is 1/4 cm, it can be achieved using a total station for the control point survey, although the field work time increases.