Alabama Patent of the Month – February 2021
Drones can be used to collect images from aerial vantage points which can be assessed and mapped afterwards. An onboard camera takes a continuous stream of photos with overlapping imagery. These are then processed for a 3-D representation of the topography. A system solves for position in space and orientation of the camera. The camera’s position must be tied to a geodetic coordinate system. Typically, markers are placed or identified throughout the area to be photographed, and their exact coordinates identified. Then these markers are used to determine coordinates for the image processing. GeoCue Group, LLC has designed an innovative aerial photography method using drones which will obtain geopositioning automatically.
GeoCue’s design would utilize a drone with mounted camera and DPS antenna for direct geopositioning. The camera will be directed when to take photos at a set interval (e.g. every 20 meters). As the camera takes photos, it communicates with an onboard SD card. This SD card will be equipped with an additional programmable logic device. When the SD card receives a signal from the camera that an image has been captured, the programmable logic intercepts this signal. The signal is redirected to the DPS antenna housing. At this instance, the antenna determines the exact time and location of the camera. This time and location data is then matched with photographs in post processing.
With this method, there is no need to place or identify markers in the area to be photographed. Post-processing will also have the data already stored rather than identifying GPS data afterwards. GeoCue believes this will improve the accuracy and capability of aerial imaging.
About GeoCue Group
GeoCue Group offers software, hardware, training, support and consulting services for LIDAR mapping, including production and exploitation, and drone mapping, including data collection, processing and management. GeoCue is the largest supplier of kinematic LIDAR mapping processing tools in North America and LP360 is one of the world’s most widely used tools for exploiting point cloud data.
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