When the term drone is used it often conjures up images of installations being destroyed by laser guided bombs or unmanned military surveillance aircraft being used to spy on strategic targets. However, the drone of today is more than this. They have come down in price and size. To the extent that we can now purchase a drone or as CASA prefers a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), down at your local electrical store for a reasonable price.
In September CASA is introducing new regulations around the use of RPAS that make it easier for everyone to fly a RPAS. http://bit.ly/1sNxnt4 These consumer type RPAS will become more prevalent not only in the hobbyist field but also in the commercial field.
Esri is strategically placed to take advantage of this growing market. Recently released Drone2Map for ArcGIS (http://www.esri.com/products/drone2map) takes geolocated images from RPAS and creates professional imagery products for visualisation and analysis in ArcGIS.
Drone2Map for ArcGIS will allow users to create products from the raw still imagery for inclusion in GIS related workflows. It is surprising the variety and quality of products that can be created without being an imagery expert.
Products from Drone2Map for ArcGIS are broken out into three Categories:
- 2D Mapping
- 3D Mapping
In the 2D mapping space Drone2Map for ArcGIS provides a simple method to turn the raw imagery into beautiful 2D image mosaics that will work with the ArcGIS Platform. It creates seamless photo mosaics, digital elevation models and if the bands are available NDVI vegetation health indices.
In the 3D space it can create colourised point clouds in LAS and XYZ files, photo realistic textured meshes and 3D PDF’s.
The LAS point clouds are georeferenced and colourised to provide both analytical and visualisation capabilities. The texture meshes provide a real world visualisation experience that can be used for site planning, modelling and visualisation in ArcGIS Pro and City Engine. While the PDF’s can be supplied to 3rd parties for non GIS analysis.
The possibilities are becoming amazing.