Queensland Drones generates 3D virtual aerial models of many of our projects as part of the processing workflow. Here we present some examples of the 3D models we’ve created recently. These models are stored in SketchFab, an online platform dedicated to presenting 3D models.

You can rotate the models with your mouse, zoom in and fly through them. These are large models and may take a little while to load. When first loaded they may appear a little blurry, but improve as more data is loaded into the model. To see the full model, click on the Play button in the centre of a model, then click FullScreen in the lower right corner.

If you have any questions about 3D aerial models for your business, please contact us.

Construction site excavation for volumetric calculation

Industrial site for volumetric and linear measurement calculation

Resort development site for calculating bare earth contours and break lines

Macadamia orchard for referencing drainage lines and water flows

How we create 3D virtual aerial models

Queensland Drones captures high definition aerial imagery of a site, usually from an altitude of 90-120m above the ground depending on the terrain. We typically capture 300-500 images looking straight down, with the images overlapping by 80% or more in each direction, so the same point on the ground will appear in many images.

Our advanced photogrammetric software systems look for the common points across many images (tie points) and use these, plus the reference data about the position of the drone when each photo was taken, to stitch all of the photos together. At this point there is little structure or substance to the model, just a set of tie points.

For high accuracy models (e.g. when using them to generate contour lines and break lines), we identify precision ground control points in each photo (survey marks, monuments or points we have laid using our own survey tools) to improve the overall positional accuracy of the model.

We then undertake a series of alignment optimisations, eliminating tie points that have lower levels of accuracy or may be based on erroneous matching. This may be done 5-6 times to minimise the mean error level before we move forward.

Once we are happy with the tie points, we generate a dense point cloud, a representation of the tie points in three dimensional space. For some applications, this is the end of our processing and we supply the point cloud to the client as a dataset – e.g. an LAS file – for their team to process further.

Where a 3D virtual model is required, the next step is to generate a 3D Mesh, which is a collection of the edges, faces an vertices that describe the shape of the 3D virtual model. We then build a texture which is a process of applying the photographic images onto the 3D mesh.

Once this is done, we have a basic 3D virtual model.

If you have any questions about 3D aerial models for your business, please contact us.