360° IMAGES FOR UAV MULTISENSOR DATA FUSION: FIRST TESTS AND RESULTS
Keywords: UAV Photogrammetry, 360° cameras, Spherical images, Cultural Heritage, Image Orientation, Multi-sensor data fusion
Abstract. A relevant research topic in the photogrammetry field is related with experimenting, at different levels, data fusion and sensors integration, aiming at the development of rapid mapping systems, capable of quickly delivering accurate data, for a wide range of applications. The presented contribute aims at exploiting the potentialities of spherical images and videos acquired using a 360° camera mounted on board of a medium-sized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). More specifically, the focus has been the development and testing of a rapid-mapping hybrid system, capable of fast acquisition of data from both the on-board sensors. The reduction of the data acquisition time has been, and still is, a hot topic faced by the researchers in the Geomatics community, especially linked to some hazardous operative scenarios, where the reduction of the time on the field is crucial for operators’ safety reasons (like in post-earthquake early damage assessment surveys).
After a deep analysis of the available scientific literature, it turned out that researchers have been more focused on terrestrial applications of these emerging sensors (360° cameras), and no significant studies for aerial application have been conducted yet. First of all, some laboratory tests have been carried out, in order to evaluate the metric accuracy of the 3D models generated using the employed 360° sensor; thereafter, a solution for acquiring spherical images from 360° camera mounted on a light UAV has been designed. Problems and issues have been addressed and discussed, and results and improvements are, at the end of the paper, evaluated and proposed.