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An assessment of the accuracy of structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry for 3D terrain mapping

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with photogrammetric or remote sensing instrumentations offer numerous opportunities in mapping and data collection for topographic modelling. An example is an emerging technique known as Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry used for the collection of low-cost, high spatial resolution, three-dimensional data. This study utilised the real time kinematic-based point-to-point validation technique and two sets of randomly selected ground control points to assess the capability and geometric accuracy of SfM-technology for three-dimensional (3D) terrain mapping over a small study area to contribute to the knowledge of applicability. The data used was collected in Garscube Sports Complex, Glasgow City Council, Scotland. The study utilised fifteen (15) Ground Control Points (GCPs) coordinated by the Real Time Kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System (RTK GNSS) positioning technique, while a DJI Phantom 3 Professional unmanned aerial vehicle was used to obtain the aerial photos in a single flight to minimise cost. The processing of the photos was done using Pix4Dmapper Pro software version 4.2.27. A point-to-point validation method was used to evaluate the 3D positional accuracy of the orthophoto and DSM. The results of the validation with ten checkpoints suggest a high level of accuracy and acceptability given a Root Mean Square Error of 20.93 mm, 18.48 mm and 46.05 mm in the X, Y and Z coordinates respectively. In conclusion, the study has shown that SfM technique can be used to produce high-resolution and accurate topographic data for geospatial applications with significant advantages over the traditional methods. However, it is to be noted that the quality of the data captured is dependent on the methodology adopted and should be taken into consideration.
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Opracowanie rekordu ze środków MNiSW, umowa Nr 461252 w ramach programu "Społeczna odpowiedzialność nauki" - moduł: Popularyzacja nauki i promocja sportu (2020).
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