UAV Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing by Luvitec

2. February 2015

UAV photogrammetry is a market with rapid growth potential. For surveying and inspection tiny unmanned aerial vehicles (Micro-UAV) provide high-definition images and accurate position data. The start-up company Luvitec has recognized the potential. For its aerial imaging technology service Luvitec relies on the AscTec Falcon 8.

Photogrammetry is a method of making measurements from two-dimensional HD pictures to recover exact positions of surface points. UAV photogrammetry feeds the measurements from aerial supported remote sensing and the results of imagery analysis into computer based and 3D printed models. For instance to estimate with accuracy actual positions within the researched field. By analysis and processing you get relevant information of surveyed and inspected areas and objects. This method is used to survey, analyze and compare structures: Detailed 3D point clouds and 3D meshes of structures, buildings and areas thereby help in the structure and motion assessment.

„UAV photogrammetry is not a complete new measuring system, but essential progress comes with improved aerial imaging systems, due to professional high-tech drones like the AscTec Falcon 8. It provides high accuracy and easy navigation and operation abilities.” Says David Hablützel, together with Katja Hablützel and Clemens Stoll Co-founder of Luvitec.

Improved sensors produce better imagery and improved hardware as well as software enable high-performance processing for photogrammetric post-production. From flight to data calculation and analysis: Today’s UAV photogrammetry provides reliable information about structures and surfaces, so that objects and areas can be assessed more quickly.

Project: Swiss farming property in 3D

Luvitec Luftbild- und Luftvideotechnik (aerial imaging technology) received an order to collect data for restructuring architects and restorers. For the survey a ground sampling distance down to 5 millimeter was mandatory to gather the required information from the 3D models. Quite challenging was the UAV surveying of the construction because of 2 meter roof overhang and many shaded parts. However the UAV operation was very successful. Technical details of the surveying flight:

  • UAV type: AscTec Falcon 8 with digital HD camera Sony Alpha NEX-7, Sigma 19mm-lense & f/2.8.
  • Flights: 90 min. mission incl. 7 single flights in 45 minutes (total flight time).
  • Imagery and flight data: 248 georeferenced pictures with 93 MB each (≈ 23 GB image data)
  • Surveying fundamentals: 9 control points, 2 georeferenced points
  • Post-processing tool: Agisoft PhotoScan

„A surveying flight by survey plane or traditional terrestrial surveying methods would not be able to provide such high accuracy in the same financial frame”, assures Stoll. “High efficiency while offering optimum convenience is our main issue for UAV based photogrammetry with multicopters. We already witness how micro drones replace helicopters in many fields of industrial inspection. In the field of area measurement and structure survey multi-rotor sensors will reasonably complement other devices.“

Practical UAV photogrammetry applications?

  • Engineering and construction documentation
  • Progress documentation incl. survey and photo documentation based on exactly reproducible waypoint flights.
  • Bridge inspection – surveying, monitoring and damage analysis.
  • Surveying for agriculture and rural development
  • Surveying of nature conservation areas
  • Damage detection and documentation on real estates (e.g. building facades)
  • Road construction – Surveying and documentation of dynamic cumulation
  • 3D-assessment of structures, structural parts and damaged sections
  • Stream and water level monitoring
  • Monitoring geological changes (e.g. mud- and landslides)
  • Remote sensing and investigation flights in case of natural disaster
  • Urban development and planning
  • Visual inspection of structures like churches, monuments, buildings and installations
  • Surveying areas up to ca. 100 hectares

Luvitec Luftbild- und Luftvideotechnik: The company was founded in Konstanz, Germany in 2013. For the UAV survey and documentation service the founders Clemens Still, Katja and David Hablützel combine their expertise from different fields. Stoll is specialist in photography and videography. Hablützel is experienced multicopter pilot and IT professional.

Meet Luvitec at the Technical University Munich on February 23rd and 24th. Read more [GERMAN]:

Find here a papers [GERMAN] of a Luvitec presentation at the GEC Geotechnik expo & congress about “Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing – Recent GSD Improvements”.

Please note: Ascending Technologies develop and produce UAV, multirotor and autopilot technology, but provide no service. For further information please directly contact Luvitec: Tel.: +41 (0)79 3464543 /// E-Mail: ///