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   PSM  |  Red Pages  |  Aerial Mapping  | Field Notes  |  Connect                                       February 5, 2013—No. 82

DroneMapper: A Cloud-Based Resource for Processing UAV Imagery

I confess that when it comes to the UAV world, I'm partial to platforms. I doubt if I'm alone in this; I suspect most of us are drawn to those amazing flying machines. But when it comes to getting the work done, the proof is in the processing. That's why Boulder, CO-based DroneMapper exists: to provide a professional resource for turning UAV imagery into useable geo-referenced orthomosaics and digital elevation models (DEMs). The father-son team of Pierre and Jon-Pierre (JP) Stoermer comprises the principals of the firm and offers consulting services to assist clients, not only with imagery issues but also with data management, data cleanup, and GIS services as well as providing assistance in the selection of platforms and sensors.

Projects and Platforms
DroneMapper has helped its clients process imagery from a wide range of projects using data derived from an equally wide range of UAV platforms. In the last issue of Pangaea, we featured the Falcon UAV, a partner of DroneMapper. Two recent projects completed with the Falcon UAV are a photogrammetry assignment at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater just west of Denver and a DEM of The Pinery Country Club, a private, 27-hole golf course in Parker, Colorado (shown above).

Given that the FAA is still a few years away from their rule making for civilian UAVs, it is not surprising that many of DroneMappers' projects are international in scope. Two interesting examples involve processing imagery from a Gatewing X-100 for the Easter Island Statue Project and a Conservation Drones project to help orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The Easter Island project was a study of Rano Raraku, a quarry where 95% of the island's known monolithic sculptures (moai) were carved. Check out the 3D flyby of the quarry developed with the use of DroneMappers's 30 cm orthomosaic and DEM. More about the fascinating Easter Island Statue Project can be found at that organization's website.

DroneMapper helped Conservation Drones with imagery processing designed to study orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia. Here's a 3D flyby showing orangutan habitat.

DroneMapper has also processed imagery from senseFly's swinglet CAM, Trigger Composites Pteryx, and MikroKopter and has recently partnered with Brazilian UAV manufacturer Skydrones. Imagery processing is not limited to UAVs; DroneMapper has worked with imagery taken from manned aircraft like the Cessna as well.

The team at DroneMapper is finding "new applications everyday," according to Jon-Pierre, and is on the cusp of some big projects; as they unfold we'll keep you updated here at Drone Watch.

What's next? “Drone Watch” will continue as a column within Pangaea, and, as bigger UAV stories arise, we'll print them as feature articles in this newsletter. Stay tuned next time for a report from the International Lidar Mapping Forum in Denver, CO.

Until next time,

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A Personal Micro UAV for Under $50? Sign Me Up!
San Francisco, CA based firm Always Innovating is developing a product they call the MeCam ". . . a self video nano copter to point-and-shoot yourself. 'MeCam' videos can be uploaded to Social platforms such as Youtube, Google+, Facebook, Twitter." Read all about MeCam on their website.
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Topcon Announces Direct Cloud-link Between MAGNET Enterprise and AutoCAD WS
This new capability will provide a direct path for field and office data to flow seamlessly from collection, design, review and adjustment between MAGNET Enterprise and AutoCAD WS—saving multiple steps and software conversions that have typically been required. The new capability is automatically available to all users of MAGNET Enterprise.
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Makai Voyager 3D/4D Visualization Software Released
Makai Ocean Engineering, Inc. has released a free trial version of its geospatial visualization software, Makai Voyager. This release represents a leap forward in advanced volumetric data visualization and analysis. The program enables users to import, fuse, view, and analyze large earth, ocean, and atmosphere scientific data as it is collected or simulated in a global geo-referenced GIS platform.
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