The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B2-2021
28 Jun 2021
 | 28 Jun 2021


L. Rossi, F. Ioli, E. Capizzi, L. Pinto, and M. Reguzzoni

Keywords: UAV, telemetry, GNSS, barometer, direct photogrammetry

Abstract. A fundamental step of UAV photogrammetric processes is to collect Ground Control Points (GCPs) by means of geodetic-quality GNSS receivers or total stations, thus obtaining an absolutely oriented model with a centimetric accuracy. This procedure is usually time-consuming, expensive and potentially dangerous for operators who sometimes need to reach inaccessible areas. UAVs equipped with low-cost GNSS/IMU sensors can provide information about position and attitude of the images. This telemetry information is not enough for a photogrammetric restitution with a centimetric accuracy, but it can be usefully exploited when a lower accuracy is required. The algorithm proposed in this paper aims at improving the quality of this information, in order to introduce it into a direct-photogrammetric process, without collecting GCPs. In particular, the estimation of an optimal trajectory is obtained by combining the camera positions derived from UAV telemetry and from the relative orientation of the acquired images, by means of a least squares adjustment. Then, the resulting trajectory is used as a direct observation of the camera positions into a commercial software, thus replacing the information of GCPs. The algorithm has been tested on different datasets, comparing the classical photogrammetric solution (with GCPs) with the proposed one. These case-studies showed that using the improved trajectory as input to the commercial software (without GCPs) the reconstruction of the three-dimensional model can be improved with respect to the solution computed by using the UAV raw telemetry only.