The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-1-2024
10 May 2024
 | 10 May 2024

Experiments with Combining LiDAR and Camera Data Acquired by UAS and Smartphone to Support Mapping

Rami Tamimi and Charles Toth

Keywords: UAS Mapping, Smartphone Mapping, LiDAR, RTK/PPK, Data Integration, Surveying

Abstract. Aerial mapping using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), such as the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise, has revolutionized photogrammetry, enabling efficient data capture for small-scale projects. The typical nadir perspective of UAS mapping, however, imposes limitations on capturing critical details of features due to its predominantly vertical viewpoint. Overcoming this challenge often requires manual, low-altitude flights by experienced UAS pilots to achieve high-angle oblique perspectives, unless gimbled camera mount is used. This study explores the integration of high oblique angle perspectives using the iPhone 15 Pro, which boasts advanced camera capabilities and an integrated LiDAR sensor, to complement UAS imagery. The iPhone 15 Pro's camera sensors provide a Ground Sampled Distance (GSD) comparable to UAS cameras, while its LiDAR sensor, with about five meters of range, enhances mapping capabilities by delivering accurate depth measurements in close range. By utilizing various georeferencing options for the imagery and LiDAR data from the iPhone 15 Pro with UAS nadir imagery, we can achieve a more comprehensive object space reconstruction, significantly improving the accuracy of geospatial mapping. Both the Mavic 3 Enterprise and the iPhone 15 Pro, though operating independently on their respective platforms, support Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections, facilitating precise positioning for the entire system trajectory. Strategic placement and utilization of Ground Control Points (GCPs) aid in the georeferencing of the complete dataset, enhancing its overall accuracy. To validate the accuracy of the acquired data, checkpoints are established on-site. The positions derived from the integrated UAS and iPhone 15 Pro data are compared against these checkpoints to quantify the accuracy and reliability of the data. Additionally, Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) techniques are employed to validate the trajectories of all data collection systems, ensuring the reliability of the acquired data, especially in instances where RTK corrections may be lacking. In summary, this research showcases comprehensive, multi-dimensional geospatial datasets by conducting validation studies that assess the accuracy and reliability of georeferenced datasets against known ground truth checkpoints. Such validation studies are crucial for identifying gaps in current methodologies and suggesting areas for improvement, thereby aiming to enhance the quality and accuracy of geospatial mapping applications. Through the integration of UAS and smartphone mapping, complemented by rigorous validation efforts, we aspire to achieve improved geospatial mapping accuracy.