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Warribanno Chimney

Mapping using Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Drones

David Winters 


The use of multiple types of data capturing techniques is becoming more and more common place in the surveying field. Different methods of data capture with different precisions and accuracies are being used to survey and model structures and areas of all kinds. This project outlines the use of terrestrial laser scanning, aerial drone and photography and terrestrial photogrammetry to create 3D point clouds.

Terrestrial laser scanning focuses on the use of LIDAR to capture a point cloud based on a series of stations. By associating terrestrial scans together through a common set of targets and cloud matching, an enhanced point cloud can be constructed of an area.

UAV image mapping utilises photogrammetry principles to match shared features together to create a 3D reconstruction (point cloud) of the areas captured. Rather than directly observing distances, imagery relies on shared photo features to construct depth maps, which can lead to lower quality point cloud reconstructions in cases of poor data capture techniques.

Producing a single point cloud solution from the above data capture techniques presents a significant challenge. A seamless workflow using one software suite or package does not currently exist, although some do incorporate the ability to utilise different dataset types. While some basic solutions are available, they tend to involve the utilisation of point clouds themselves rather than independent methods.

Spherical cameras, though largely popular in the field of action videography pose a great potential in terrestrial data capture. Though primitive in their abilities, more investigations have been made into their use in confined spaces for dense point cloud construction.

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