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The image acquisition plan depends on the:
- Type of terrain / object to be reconstructed.
- Ground Sampling Distance (GSD): The GSD required by the project specifications will define the distance (flight height) at which the images have to be taken. For example a GSD of 5 cm means that one pixel in the image represents linearly 5 cm on the ground (5*5 = 25 square centimeters).
- Overlap: The overlap depends on the type of terrain that is mapped and will determine the rate at which the images have to be taken.
A bad image acquisition plan will lead to inaccurate results or processing failure and will require to acquire images again.
All flight plans described below can be flown automatically with the flight planning app Pix4Dcapture available on Android and iOS.
For most cases it is recommended to acquire the images with a regular grid pattern. The recommended overlap is at least 75% frontal overlap (with respect to the flight direction) and at least 60% side overlap (between flying tracks). The camera should be maintained as much possible at a constant height over the terrain / object to ensure the desired GSD.
The overlap and flight height have to be adapted depending on the terrain.
For flat agriculture fields, at least 80% frontal and side overlap is recommended. For forest, dense vegetation areas it is recommended to increase the overlap to at least 85% frontal and side overlap and fly higher so that it is easier to detect similarities between overlapping images. Projects with thermal images require at least 90% frontal and side overlap.
For projects with multiple flights there should be overlap between the different flights and the conditions (sun direction, weather conditions, no new buildings, etc.) should be similar.
For the reconstruction of a building a circular flight plan is recommended.
- Fly around the building a first time with a 45° camera angle.
- Fly a second and third time around the building increasing the flight height and decreasing the camera angle with each round.
- It is recommended to take one image every 5 to 10 degrees to ensure enough overlap, depending on the size of the object and distance to it. More images should be taken for shorter distances and larger objects.
Note: The flight height should not be increased more than twice between all flights, as different heights lead to different GSD.
City reconstruction - visible facades
The 3D reconstruction of urban areas requires a double grid image acquisition plan, so that all the facades of buildings (north, west, south, east) are visible on the images. The overlap should be the same as in section General Case.
For the facades to be visible, the images should be taken with an angle between 10º and 35º (0° - the camera is looking down).
Article feedback (for troubleshooting, post here instead)
Hi to all,
in advance,sorry for my poor english.
My question : how can I modify camera angle (amanualy) in circular fly?
I've tryed different altitude flight but I'm not able to find any reference to "change camera angle".
Thank's to all for any suggested idea
At the moment there is no option to change the camera angle and the camera angle is set automatically based on the flight height and Point of Interest. The drone translates to always face the Point of Interest (POI) which is the center of the flight. The camera angle is set to focus on the ground. In other words, the camera angle is closer to vertical when the flight altitude is higher. For more information, I would recommend you to go through our support article on (Android) Circular Mission Settings.
Do you have any recommendation for City roof reconstruction? Not the facades, only the roof.
Is a mix of two flights(double grid), one with the camera is looking down 0°, and one with the camera is 35º the best choice?
The roof isn't flat.
You don't need to have two flights with a different camera angle. You can have a double grid mission with the camera angle between 10º and 35º (0° - the camera is looking down).
Thanks for your answer! But in double grid you don't have the option to tilt the camera som "low", only between 45° to 80°?
And in the Capture app 90° is he camera is looking down??
There is the option to change the angle from 45° to 80° on the Pix4Dcapture app. The zero degree on the app means the camera is pointed in the horizontal direction. So, 80° would refer to be 10° from the vertical (the camera is looking down). So, if you wish to point the camera at 35°, you have to set the camera at 55°(90°-35°).
Hi again Kapil!
What is the guidelines about height? The roof I'm going to measure isn't so big, so time is no factor. Is 10 meter above better then 20 meter above(higher quality)?
I would still recommend you to fly 20 meters above the roof. If you fly closer to the roof, you might not have proper overlap and might have issue while processing the data.
I am flying a large area of water recharge basins which will be at 300 ft (91 m). The basins have levees in between them with culverts and gated structures. I plan on flying the entire area with a regular grid pattern with the camera angle set to 0 deg. and then then getting more details of the structures by flying smaller double grids with the camera tilted at 30 deg. in order to get the vertical faces. I plan on processing all flights together. Do I need to adjust the flight height of the double grids to fly lower based on the 30 deg camera angle?
Thanks for your question and interest in Pix4D. Projects that include water add an extra challenge. You'll want to maintain a minimum of 30% land in each photo so that the software has a better chance to find sufficient keypoints for a successful image calibration. Flying higher will facilitate this as it will increase the field of view for each image.
The distance between the Camera/Drone and the object it is photographing will determine the project Ground Sampling Distance. When capturing data we suggest that you avoid a doubling (or halving) of the image GSD. This means avoid halving or doubling your distance from the Levees compared to your aerial grid images of the area. Some variance in distance is workable, but when the GSD between images doubles/halves the keypoint matching starts to reduce which leads to problems with calibration.
When you capture images from an Oblique angle, the Drone altitude no longer dictates the image content GSD directly, but the linear distance from the camera/drone to the object being photographed.
I would also suggest capturing data the "links" any variable flight heights together (akin to Bread Crumbs) Having "an informed transition" from a Nadir to lower level/altitude Oblique mission will help the software determine how the two datasets relate. Avoid camera angle changes of 15 degrees or more, take some intermittent images as you adjust the drone altitude and oblique camera angle so as the software is matching up images, it will more easily find how the Nadir and Oblique data match.
Thank for the response Aaron (Great name, by the way :)
Based upon your feedback, what I ended up doing was flying the whole site, which was only a couple acres, in the nadir, at 300 feet (91 meters). I then calculated that tilting the camera to 30 deg and flying at 260 feet (79 m), should keep the GSD for the middle of the picture about the same and flew a smaller portion of the side, about 1/2 acre. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to fly a 15 deg tilt (I will try that in a later flight). I think it still generated pretty good results. I'm going to try processing the nadir and oblique flight separately and compare the results to see if the difference was worth the additional flight.
Your software is very intuitive for me and I enjoy using it.
I wanted to try and clarify my comment about avoiding having a camera tilt change of more than 15 deg. You needn't fly a separate mission at 15 vs 30-degree tilt, but rather capture a string of images that vary by just a few 5-10 degrees, so as to transition the drone from the 300' foot Nadir mission to the lower ~260' oblique mission. Capture a picture at 285' with a 5-degree tilt, then another at 275' with a 10-degree tilt, then 270' with 15-degrees and 265 at 25-degree tilt and then when you get to 260', then the camera is at 30 degrees without having any large tilt changes between images greater than 15 degrees.
Please report back how your project came out.
Like the grid layout.
I'm working on a desert land and i need a GSD of less than 1cm using the DJI M300, what's the best flight altitude and overlap i can use to achieve a great result
You need to do the calculation based on the camera parameter and the GSD to find the exact flight height. I would recommend you to go through our TOOLS - GSD calculator. Regarding the overlap, I would suggest you go through our below support article.
Step 1. Before Starting a Project > 1. Designing the Image Acquisition Plan > a. Selecting the Image Acquisition Plan Type
I have triede different setup but no luck with my XT2 thermal camera. I want to capture a storage tank that is 50 meter in diameter. How would you recomend that I fly and capture for processing in Pix4dmapper.
I can't go any lower than 30 meters above ground.
You can fly at 40-50m above the top of the tank. You can fly the single grid mission with 85% front and side overlap. Just for your information, you won't be able to make the 3D model with the thermal camera due to the low resolution. In that case, I would suggest you to use the RGB camera if you want to generate the 3D model.
If I'm flying early morning where the temperature is low and there is light can't i get a 3D model using thermal camera ?. How else am I to show temp differance on the side of the tank in a model?
In regards to setting up a grid for a large area. Imaging that the area is very big and you can't fly it in 1 day. If i shut down the drone and the Pix4D mapper and come back the next day can I just turn on the drone and pix4D mapper and start where I ended the day before and fly the rest of the grid?
For the record i'm again using a thermal camera.
Hi I have now tried planing flight with my old Inspire 1 and new Matrice 210 RTk. Both flights on different project using both Iphone and Ipad (with sim card). Everytime i get an error on the display telling me that - Error when downloading images.
What do I do wrong?
I have tried with thermal pictures and RGB and RGB alone but same problem.
I look forward to the replay.
Pix4Dcapture doesn't support the thermal camera, that is the reason you can't download the images from the app. The best workflow would be copying the images from the SD card of the camera.
I won't recommend you to do the multiple day flight, especially with the thermal camera due to the external factor that might affect your results. I would suggest you complete it in a single day if possible.
I flew over a building once in daylight and once at night and braided them together and it worked perfectly.
I have now tried to make a 3D PDF but it turns black and if I try to upload some of my thermal imagery projects it will turn black on the PIX4D cloud.
1. My question is how can I send a thermal 3D pointcloud and mesh file with the colors.
2. Is it posible to make this file into a georeferance so I can add it onto a map?
Hi, You will need to open the 3D pdf with Adobe Reader. Is it still black? Can you send us the pdf? When you export mesh and point cloud, the color/texture is also exported along with it: https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/articles/202557799-Menu-Process-Processing-Options-2-Point-Cloud-and-Mesh-Point-Cloud. The point could will be georeferenced. For the mesh, have a look here: https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/articles/204606535-How-to-visualize-the-3D-textured-mesh-with-georeference