PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ASSESSMENT AND COMPARISON OF DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO AND PHANTOM 4 RTK SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
Keywords: bundle adjustment, camera calibration, drones, photogrammetry, structure-from-motion, SUA, UAS, UAV
Abstract. Consumer-grade Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and particularly Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) weighing less than 20 kg, have recently become very attractive for photogrammetric data acquisition across a wide range of applications. Compared to other more expensive remote-sensing technology, DJI Phantom series SUA provide a trade-off between cost, sensor quality, functionality and portability. Because of the significant interest in such systems, rigorous accuracy assessment of metric performance is crucial. This research investigates the capabilities of the Phantom 4 Pro (P4P) and the recently launched Phantom 4 RTK (P4RTK) SUA through both laboratory and in-situ assessments with multi-scale photogrammetric blocks. The study adopts self-calibrating bundle adjustments from conventional photogrammetry and from a Structure-from-Motion (SfM)-photogrammetric approach. Both systems deliver planimetric and vertical absolute accuracies of better than one and two pixels ground sampling distance, respectively, against independent check points. This can be achieved if the imaging network configuration includes a mixed range of nadir and oblique imagery and several ground control points are established as reference information. Ongoing analysis is investigating the strength of all bundle adjustment solutions. It is also evaluating the GNSS capabilities of the P4RTK SUA after post-processing raw observations of its trajectory. Findings from a comprehensive accuracy assessment can support non-experts in designing the pre-flight photogrammetric data acquisition plan and aid understanding of the performance of such popular off-the-shelf SUA.