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Digitizing Landscapes: OpenDroneMap/WebODM

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more accessible to the public as companies like DJI continue to produce high quality drones with easy to use software for a reasonable price. Due to the cost feasibility, researchers who use remote sensing in their work are slowly turning towards consumer grade drones equipped with high resolution sensors for data acquisition. Software companies like DroneDeploy and Pix4D are even creating tools that make it easy to collect and convert imagery data for digital elevation models (DEMs), land use analysis, and geometric measuring. One use for UAV imagery is the construction of orthorectified photogrammetric models that utilize the GPS data stored with each corresponding picture. OpenDroneMap is a tool-chain that connects multiple open-source programs specifically for drone mapping.


For this project, I have been using a DJI Mavic Pro (12MP camera and 4K video resolution) to collect imagery of a few locations in Georgetown, Texas. To collect the data I created flight-plans using DroneDeploy. To process the data I used both WebODM and the DroneDeploy web application (30-day free trial) to compare the interface and resulting output. Below are some of the completed models. 

The first model is of a cliff side adjacent to Lake Georgetown (Cedar Breaks entrance). The flight plan (11.1 acres ) was preprogrammed using the DroneDeploy application  and had a flight time of approximately 10 minutes. The photos were then processed using the WebODM application (Docker & VirtualBox) which took approximately 3.5 hours on a standard computer with 4GB of RAM and 2 CPUs allocated to the machine.

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