Photo stitching vs orthomosaic generation

stiching.png orthorectification.png
Photo stitching Orthomosaic

Photo stitching

The photo stitching method glues images together and requires low number of matches/keypoints (less than 100). It works well only if the terrain is perfectly flat. If the terrain is not flat, it can lead to artifacts where objects visible in several pictures do not align well. This kind of errors are accumulated over the whole dataset and therefore it is recommended to use photo stitching only for small datasets. Most distances are not preserved, which leads to inaccurate measurements.

Orthomosaic (true orthophoto) generation

The orthomosaic (true orthophoto) generation is based on orthorectification. This method removes the perspective distortions from the images using the DSM (that is generated from the 3D Model). A high number of matches/keypoints (more than 1000) is required to generate the 3D model. This method handles all types of terrain, as well as large datasets. Distances are preserved and therefore the orthomosaic can be used for measurements.


The following steps are performed to generate the orthomosaic:

  • Input: Images with perspective (for example: facades are visible, roofs do not have the correct size as the scale is not preserved).
  • Processing: 

1. Calibrate images and compute 3D and 2.5D model.
2. Project images on 2.5D model to generate the orthomosaic.

  • Output: Orthomosaic (similar to satellite imagery, facades are not visible, roofs have the correct size).

The orthomosaic corrects the:

    • Perspective of the camera.
    • Different scale based on the distance that each point of the object / ground has from the camera.


Note: Orthomosaic artifacts

The orthomosaic is generated using the DSM (2.5D model) that comes from the 3D densified point cloud. So, errors and noise of the 3D point cloud affect the orthomosaic. Such errors appear often at building edges or on small details (for example: trees, lampposts, fences). For more information about the artifacts in the orthomosaic: Distortions and Artifacts in the Orthomosaic.

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