How to process images of a spherical camera


Pix4Dmapper can process images captured with spherical, full 360 degree cameras. These cameras have many advantages because it is easy to achieve high overlap with less images, it is faster to capture a complete dataset and it is efficient to process, since the calibration of the camera is done by the manufacturer and calibrating the model takes less time. 

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that should be taken into account: the quality of the calibration of the manufacturer affects a lot the reconstruction since remaining distortions are not taken into account while processing, large parts of the images can be covered by sky, or undesired objects due to the wide field of view adding noise in the reconstruction and the images may need pre-processing to be converted to the required format (equirectangular).

Some spherical cameras are already included in the camera database of Pix4Dmapper and they will be automatically detected for processing: 

  • Ladybug 5: All versions of the Ladybug camera can export in the equirectangular image format.
  • NCTech iStar
  • Ricoh Theta
  • Ricoh Theta S
Important: Any spherical camera that supports the equirectangular format is also supported. For more information about the equirectangular format: What is the equirectangular Image format?.

To process a spherical project in Pix4Dmapper:

1. Create a project: Step 2. Creating a Project.
2. Import the equirectangular spherical images or video and click Next
3. (optional) If a video is imported, select the frames to be extracted in the Video Extraction Options pop-up.
4. In the Selected Camera Model section of the Image Properties window, click Edit....
5. In the Edit Camera Model window that appears, in the Camera Model Parameters section, make sure that Spherical Camera is selected and click OK.
6. Click Next
7. In the Select Output Coordinate System window, select the output coordinate system: Select Image / GCP / Output Coordinate System  and click Next.
8. In the Processing Options Template window, select 3D Models
9. Click Finish
10. Process the project.  

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  • Holden (Pix4D)

    Hi Oliver. That is an interesting use case. Unfortunately it is not something we have tested so we cannot provide much guidance on the workflow. It is theoretically possible but would require advanced knowledge of photogrammetry and Pix4Dmapper aswell. It would certainly not be an out of the box solution.

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