Examples from the Boundaries of Geographic Survey: Architecture and Flood Modeling
This chapter will be more practical in nature. It will discuss two fields in which UAV-based photogrammetry proves a particularly efficient tool in geographic and architectural surveys. We will also reflect on the expectable accuracy of these relatively low-cost instruments.
The first section will present a case study about the accuracy assessment of the digital stereophotogrammetry method (5.1). We will then present examples from two fields: the first one is architecture (5.2) and the second is flood modeling (5.3).
We give some examples about UAV applications in architecture because high-detail surveys focusing on one building are very different from low-detail surveys covering an entire settlement. The former are mostly used by architects and civil engineers; the latter belong more to the field of spatial planners and urban geographers. Flood modeling is mostly used by geomorphologists and disaster management experts and is more connected to physical geography.
These examples might be very different from a purely geographical point of view, but they present some methodological similarities. They provide an excellent base for comparing the criteria of different survey and flight planning techniques. In the case of building-scale architectural survey, the camera looks horizontally, and small details – in the order of centimeters or millimeters – must be captured. The output is a point cloud which will be later imported into an architectural software.
In the case of settlement-scale survey, the camera is looking at nadir, and 10–15 cm error is still not a big problem. The output is usually more GIS-related: this means that an orthophoto, a raster, or a digital elevation model is the absolute minimum. The point cloud is also a possible output which can be used, for example, to detect low-detail building models.
If we want to use a UAV for flood modeling, the acquisition method is similar to that of a settlement-wide survey: the camera points to the nadir and the covered area is relatively large; the main – and possibly only – output, however, is the digital terrain model.
The following sections focus on survey and data processing methods – mostly in point cloud format. The reader is therefore assumed to have some basic understanding of geographic survey and remote sensing in general.
KeywordsUAV-based architectural survey UAV-based topographical survey Level of detail UAV-based landscape monitoring UAV-based risk management Flood modeling
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