Drone 3D Mapping

Drone 3D Mapping Made Easy With This Quick Guide

Drone 3D mapping is highly efficient when it comes to delivering accurate mapping results. And this commendable efficiency that makes it a great asset for several sectors including agriculture, mining, construction, real estate, and infrastructure inspection.

Having an accurate photograph or 3D model of your projects complete with in-depth data plays a vital role in making an informed decision. Not just that, drone mapping is also comparatively cost-effective and less tedious. If you have set your sight on it, here is the quick drone 3D mapping guide to getting started on the right note!

What is Drone 3D Mapping?

Drone mapping takes advantage of an innovative technique called photogrammetry to acquire essential data or gather measurements. For those unfamiliar, photogrammetry is the technique that enables you to take measurements from photographs.

Thanks to the drone’s rapid speed of data acquisition and advanced software, you can now create survey-grade (ASPRS Standard) data a lot faster and with better proficiency.

Depending on your needs, you can show the derived data as an orthomosaic, topographical map, a point cloud, a digital terrain model, or even a digital surface model. Moreover, the data can also be visualized through a 3D textured mesh.

Read – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

How much does drone mapping cost?

Gone were the times when drone mapping was considered quite an expensive proposition. Thanks to the introduction of cost-effective yet exceptionally advanced drones like Phantom 4 Advanced and Phantom 4 Advanced Plus (starting price $1350), drone mapping will no longer burn a hole in your pocket.

Drone Mapping

So, whether you are a farmer, a land surveyor, or a real-estate businessman, you can make the most of a drone to carry out the essential tasks faster. And that too without having to break the bank or sweat!

Which drone mapping app should you choose?

Unlike before, the market is flooded with a ton of drone mapping apps that allow you to transmit and process the data in the cloud. As to which one should you choose entirely comes down to your requirements and budget.

Based on functionality, there are three types of drone mapping apps in the market: Acquisition Software, Processing Software, and All-in-One Drone Mapping Software.

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Acquisition Software: It is handy for planning missions to garner aerial imagery. Pix4D Capture and Maps Made Easy are some of the notable examples of acquisition software.

Processing Software: It enables you to create maps, orthomosaics, point clouds, as well as other deliverables from imagery with the help of photogrammetric calculations. PhotoscanAgisoft, Inpho, Pix4D Mapper are some of the well-known examples of processing software. 

Sticky Note:

  • A point cloud is basically a compilation of points or coordinates on an object’s surface. You can use the compilation of points to create a 3D model of an area.

All-in-One drone Mapping Software: As the name itself suggests, it’s a powerful and high-end software that’s designed to take care of all the tasks related to drone mapping. Be it the ability to transmit the data to a cloud server or the skill to automatically process the data in the cloud to create the desired output, it’s got you fully covered.

DroneDeploy has long been a top-notch drone mapping software. What sets it apart from many other rivals is the ability to excel in several fronts including the ability to make digital terrain models, orthomosaics, garner NDVI data, and even generate 3D models. It’s aimed at three industries like farming, surveying, and construction.

Pix4D is a robust suite of photogrammetric software. It consists of several different versions like Pix4DMapper for mapping, Pix4Dbim for construction, Pix4Dag for agriculture, and Pix4Dmodel for 3D modeling.

Furthermore, Pix4D also offers a handy mobile app (PIX4DCapture) to let you automate the mapping process with both DJI drones and Parrot drones.

Read Also – Hands-On Guide to Getting Started with 360° Photography

360° Photography

Hands-On Guide to Getting Started with 360° Photography

When it comes to immersive viewing experience, nothing comes closeto a 360° photo. With the deep insight into the surrounding, it capturesthe attention right away. If you are charmed by 360° images and are looking for the pro tips to get started with 360° photography, you are at the right place!

What is 360° Photography and Why It’s So Exciting?

In an age where Facebook and Instagram dominate the sphere and smartphones like iPhones and Galaxies challenge the supremacy of DSLRs, sharing stunning images has become an order of the day. While businesses share eye-catching shots of their offerings to stay in the hunt, netizens share their memories to win attention.

Thanks to the ability to deliver vivid detail, 360° photography has become a rage today. For those uninitiated, 360° images are a series of still images snapped in a sequence, presenting a remarkable view of not just the subject but also the background.

Read – The Top 4 Predictions for the Future of Photography

What sort of gears do you need to capture 360° shots like a Pro?

The key to capturing top-notch 360° photos is to have an armory of solid gears. If you don’t want to compromise with the quality of the shots, invest in them.

DSLR or flagship smartphones like iPhone and Pixel

Though smartphones like iPhones, Pixels, and Galaxies have come a long way in terms of camera quality, they are still not in the same league as DSLRs. So, get one to deliver top-of-the-line visual appeal.

A robust tripod

You should go for a robust tripod for better control. It can let you install your DSLR or smartphone perfectly to capture desired shots from different angles.

Cayer AF2451 ($164.99 on Amazon) is one of the better professional camera

tripods.Constructed with high-grade aluminum, it sports a durable appearance. What puts it ahead of the curve is the ability to offer 360°-panning and +90/-70° tilt.

(Pic Credit – Amazon)

Fisheye lens featuring 180° FOV

The fisheye lens with 180° FOV (field of view)is designed to deliver excellent visual distortion that plays a vital role in creating wide panoramic or hemispherical photos.

Shutter release cable or remote

We would suggest you get this one. Pressing the shutter button with the finger could cause the VR head to shift which might disarray the stitch alignment. Thus, get a remote without fail.

Pick the right software

There is no dearth of software for 360° stitching. However, the 360° photo stitching programs that are ahead of the curve are PTGui and Hugin.

Go for a neat VR head

A VR head comes in super handy when you want to set up your equipment to shoot 360° pics. And for this purpose, it’s Nodal Ninja Ultimate seems a touch better than many other counterparts.

Read – What 3D Modeling is All About and Why It’s So Important for Your Business

Best tips and tricks to shoot top-notch 360° photos

No matter how good your gears are, they can’t deliver the best, if you haven’t set them up properly. For starters, find the perfect spot for the camera and ideally set up the tripod in keeping with the theme and the sort of images you want to capture.

Another step is to fine-tune the camera settings like focus, aperture, white balance, and shutter speed in line with your needs. For instance, if you want to capture sharp and detailed images, always shoot 360 images at an aperture of f/8.

Shooting 360 photos with precision

Once you have customized the camera settings, it’s time to get started with the shooting. We are going to use the Nodal Ninja VR head powered by the Sigma 8mm fisheye lens.

To get a full-on 360° image, we will need to snap four photos at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270°. Bear in mind, rotating the VR head counterclockwise could unscrew it. Therefore, always make it a point to rotate it clockwise.

After that, you can export your stitched panoramic image and share it with your friends or followers. If you wish, you can even turn it into a 360° virtual tour by using programs like My360 and Pano2VR.

Read Also – Why Visual Marketing is the Future for Businesses

Real Estate Photography: Use the Right Visuals To Generate Buyers’ Interest

Have you thought of photos as a necessary, but not a critical piece, of a real estate business? Think again.

Firstly, 51% of people who bought a home last year found their home online. That’s a lot of people.  But it’s not just about people finding potential homes online. In this online search, photos play a key role. In fact, listings with high-quality, professional-level photos sold 32% faster than those with ordinary photos.

That’s the difference that good real estate photography can make to your business and that’s why you need to get those photos just right. Here are some of the most important tips to make that happen:

Professional property photography vs amateur photos

While you can use a camera and a tripod to take your own pictures of listings, this isn’t recommended for a number of reasons. Firstly, professional photography equipment is expensive, and it can be a big investment. If you choose sub-par equipment such as a simple 360 camera, the difference between photo quality will be very stark. And in a visual business like real estate, this could cost you heavily in terms of both the quantity and quality of leads. This rule doesn’t apply just to palatial mansions but to all kinds of homes. At the end of the day, compromising on photo quality just isn’t worth it.

Read Also – 5 Questions to Ask Your Virtual Tour Photographer Before Hiring Them

Choose the right real estate photography services

When it comes to deciding whom to hire, there are some simple metrics you can go by. The first, of course, is their portfolio. In an area like real estate photography, work samples will go a long way in showcasing someone’s skill.

You should also make it a point to check out references — the process of working with someone is as important as the end product. It’s a good idea to make sure that the team you will be spending so much time coordinating with is communicative, professional, and respectful.

Shoot 360 photos

In an era of virtual tours and panoramic photography, you should make it a point to have amazing 360 photos as part of your listing. These photos give viewers a never-seen-before insight into the listings, and will automatically set you a cut above the competition. You can even include 360 photos in a virtual tour of the property. This not only gives viewers an extremely immersive experience but also an in-depth understanding of the property so that you only show the property to genuinely interested buyers.

Decluttering and staging the home

You need to declutter the home so that the photos have a pristine quality to them. For instance, take things off your kitchen counters — from the toaster to utensils to the blender. Then scrub the kitchen floor and all other surfaces — from the stovetop to the kitchen table.

You need to apply the same process to every other room. Clear shoe racks, hide pet beds, and any other items lying here and there. In short, everything except large pieces of furniture and light fixtures should be gone.

Then there’s the task of “staging” the home. Ideally, your photography partner should be able to provide this service for you. Professional staging — from a bottle of wine and two glasses on the outdoor table to the right pillows on the couch to a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table — goes a long way in creating attractive photos.

Figure out the lighting with your photographer 

Figuring out the right kind of lighting can sometimes be tricky because there are no set rules. For instance, indoor shots are great when the sun is bright and shining, while outdoor shots come out better when during dusk. Having said that, if a home has beautiful artificial lighting, then some night-time shots can really bring that out in a lovely way. It’s best to communicate with your photographer and figure out the best way to capture all these aspects.

While every realtor knows online photos are essential to generate interest in a listing, not enough realize how much difference a professional set of photos can make. Try using professional 360 photography and you’ll immediately find yourself ahead of the competition.

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