Demystifying the Differences between Structure-from-Motion Software Packages for Pre-Processing Drone Data

Pell, Taleatha, Li, Joan Y.Q., and Joyce, Karen E. (2022) Demystifying the Differences between Structure-from-Motion Software Packages for Pre-Processing Drone Data. Drones, 6 (1). 24.

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Abstract

With the increased availability of low-cost, off-the-shelf drone platforms, drone data become easy to capture and are now a key component of environmental assessments and monitoring. Once the data are collected, there are many structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry software options available to pre-process the data into digital elevation models (DEMs) and orthomosaics for further environmental analysis. However, not all software packages are created equal, nor are their outputs. Here, we evaluated the workflows and output products of four desktop SfM packages (AgiSoft Metashape, Correlator3D, Pix4Dmapper, WebODM), across five input datasets representing various ecosystems. We considered the processing times, output file characteristics, colour representation of orthomosaics, geographic shift, visual artefacts, and digital surface model (DSM) elevation values. No single software package was determined the “winner” across all metrics, but we hope our results help others demystify the differences between the options, allowing users to make an informed decision about which software and parameters to select for their specific application. Our comparisons highlight some of the challenges that may arise when comparing datasets that have been processed using different parameters and different software packages, thus demonstrating a need to provide metadata associated with processing workflows.

Item ID: 74768
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2504-446X
Keywords: Digital elevation model (DEM), Digital surface model (DSM), Earth observation, Environmental monitoring, Orthomosaic, Photogrammetry, Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
Copyright Information: Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Research Data: https://data.geonadir.com/
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2022 02:15
FoR Codes: 40 ENGINEERING > 4013 Geomatic engineering > 401304 Photogrammetry and remote sensing @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1899 Other environmental management > 189999 Other environmental management not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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