AIRCRAFT BASED REAL TIME BUNDLE ADJUSTMENT AND DIGITAL SURFACE MODEL GENERATION
Keywords: image orientation, real-time, dense matching, airborne camera, digital elevation model
Abstract. This paper introduces a system for real-time generation of digital surface models (DSM) based on an optical multi-camera system flown on board of a manned airplane or helicopter. The system consists of high end consumer cameras, GNSS/IMU system, and on-board computers for real-time data processing. Usually, generation of digital surface models from aerial imagery is done in an off-line process, leading to delayed availability of height data. The proposed system processes data in real time on board of the aircraft and downlinks the generated DSM to a ground station. This paper evaluates the GNSS/IMU on-line solution quality and its impact on dense stereo matching. The proposed real time sliding window based bundle adjustment significantly improves image orientations and DSM quality, allowing generation of detailed digital surface models with a resolution of 2*GSD. Experiments using two flight patterns are conducted over the city of Landsberg and the resulting DSMs are evaluated against a LiDAR generated reference point cloud. The online bundle adjustment is shown to minimize the effect of systematic GNSS/IMU offsets while adding only a limited delay.