Terrain/Surface Mapping


Terrain/Surface Mapping

Investigate and develop precision UAV-based surface and terrain mapping.  The goal is to produce a precise 3D CAD model of a surface/area.

Members: 339
Latest Activity: yesterday

Mission Statement

To develop a platform capable of automated survey of man-made structures, the output of which can be used to create a 3D CAD model of the structure's exterior surfaces.

Discussion Forum

Reality capture success.

Started by Justin H.. Last reply by Anderl Nov 7, 2014. 5 Replies


FOV in the 'Geo ref images' tool

Started by AndyC Sep 28, 2014. 0 Replies

I've just started using the great tool for geotagging photos with the flight log in Mission Planner's (v1.3.10). While most of the…Continue

Tags: imagery, post-processing, surveying, geotagging

Mapping Urban Environments with UAVs

Started by Oliver Volkmann. Last reply by Oliver Volkmann Aug 22, 2014. 2 Replies

Hi all,I just want to share with you some of the work we have been doing using small unmanned aerial vehicles (primarily the APM 2.6 equipped SteadiDrone QU4D) internationally. Towards the end of…Continue

Small scale LiDAR and Agriculture remote sensing

Started by Mark P. Ludwig. Last reply by Crashtested Aug 19, 2014. 17 Replies

Folks,I work for a soil conservation district in Michigan.  We could use a way to make LiDAR maps for conservation planning software.  It's pretty expensive to get those shoots done, and we would end…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by hissa alsowaidi on Wednesday

Has anyone heard about the new Blue Sky Transport Award?
The prize is £10,000!
The idea is to design an electric vehicle for private, public or commercial use.

For more info go to www.blueskyaward.com

Comment by Keith Geary on March 19, 2015 at 6:42am

Hi Aaron,

I've yet to start using a multirotor, but I've also found it very important to overshoot the area you want to map and then manually delete any image that have the slightest angles, otherwise the edges and corners of the image are "curled up" and although the central part is accurate, the map does not look as good as when the roads, paths, hedges are lined up to the base map.

Keep up the good work, it looks like we're flying similar kit, SW2013 and a multirotor, I've just got a SkyHeroSpy900Y6, fitted with a Pixhawk FC and Sony QX1 in a 2D brushless gimbal.



Comment by Aaron Serafinowicz on March 19, 2015 at 6:19am

Another aerial map of a construction site that has sat for several years without progress. This is also a good representation of how satellite images are out of date online. This was flown on March 12, 2015. In comparison to the map I posted the other day, lighting makes a big difference. Some camera adjustments may help compensate. Flown with: Multirotor, Time: 11min 41 sec, Camera: Canon S100, Coverage: 51 Acres, Altitude: 100m

Some interesting results I found. I pulled the geo-referenced tiff into Global Mapper and checked the GCPs. They were all correct. I then started looking at Google Earth Pro. When checking the outer edges the North and South are off. You can see how the roads and the houses do not match up. It turns out that because the camera is mounted on a fixed base vibration dampening mount and the flight path it flew with the top and bottom having the turns on the map North and South it gave some odd angels and threw off the top and bottom edges of the map. I flew this triggered by distance connected to the Pixhawk FC. This was a Multirotor HEX so I did not add overshoot like I would with a plane. I'm thinking with a fixed mount there will need to be overshoot of 10 - 15 meters?

Tylertown Road 20150312

Wings of Technology

Comment by Waladi on September 23, 2014 at 10:11pm

Dear All,

I just start discussion on Sony Nex 5 series for mapping purpose on below thread:


Could you please share your experinces, finding, etc?

Any contribution will be very appreciated.

Many thanks.


Comment by Keith Geary on August 3, 2014 at 6:00am

The best image processing system I have seen to date!

Having used Pix4D, PhotoScan, EnsoMOSAIC, RapidStation, APS and Drone Mapper. I can safely say that MapsMadeEasy does what its name says!

Besides producing mosaics in Geo Tiff, Geo Tiff DEM, Google Earth KMZ and 3D Object files. Their system also produces layered web tiles mosaics, which are zoomable! Check out some of their examples MapsMadeEasy on KickStarter.

Comment by Crashtested on January 6, 2014 at 12:04pm

I have started a company aimed at bringing small scal UAV based LIDAR to market.

Keep an eye on our progress at:


Comment by Tom Gates on December 12, 2013 at 6:29am

I have a 3d robotics quad and getting ready to configure with a canon sx 260 hs to do aerial mapping.

Has anyone modified the 3d robotics plane to carry the canon sx 260 hs or similar or is this airframe and motor too small.

Any recommendations, anybody?

Tom Gates

Comment by Sean Headrick on November 29, 2013 at 1:41am

I have really gotten into this over the past few weeks. I have been collecting data sets and trying out different photogrammetry tools. Based on what I have been working with you really have this down.

 This is the same rig I run with the brush less gimbal and great vibration isolation. I have gotten some great datasets but still struggling through the processing. 

  Are you using available software for processing your images, or is this something you are developing. Either way, I would like to know more.





Comment by Tim Lucas on November 28, 2013 at 11:43pm

Hi Guys I have made a video from some of the data gathered from my UAV platform, it will probably be of interest to this group, let me know what you think...

Website www.remotesense.com.au

Comment by Mike Lyons on May 20, 2013 at 11:46am

Hi all. I work closely with the Mining Industry as well as the Oil & Gas Industry and see high value in developing a small UAV with LIDAR, FLIR, and other tech. I have a MS in Aerospace with a concentration on Automatic Flight Controls and Artificial Intelligence and want to get some prototypes going. I have stayed out of the game because I found revenue in other ideas (see my LinkedIn). I have been doing a lot of software development and miss the math and fun of flight control. If I can be of use, I would love to help or collaborate on a project. On a side note, I may have access to an investor or two but need to put together a serious proposal, but since I'm no GIS/mapping expert, not an EE, and not a comm specialist, I am going to need to learn or get help from you experts. So email me at mike.lyons@9threeSolutions.com or PM if anyone is interested in designing and building a large scale (25lb+ payload capacity) quadcopter for fun and profit (and I will share that profit!), or if I can get involved with a similar type project. 


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