November 15, 2012; The Pinery Project

In a collaboration between DroneMapper, Falcon UAV, CompassData, Inc. and The Pinery Country Club we collectively demonstrated accurate geo-spatial mapping (in 3 dimensions) of a reasonably large area using affordable technology - UAV, consumer camera and ground control. First, a little bit about our partners:

  • Falcon UAV  is a small unmanned aircraft designed to provide live aerial reconnaisance and airborne sensor capabilities to those who require a military grade system at a fraction of the cost. Capable of providing over an hour of endurance, day or night, the system provides public safety communites, research organizations, academia, and industry a professional hand launched UAV solution at an affordable price. For more information please visit -


  • CompassData, Inc. provides the world's largest commercially available ground control data set - complete global coverage with 18,000 ground control points available for download. For more information please visit -


  • The Pinery Country Club offers as one of its amenities a private 27 hole golf course in Parker, Colorado. Management at the Pinery was very gracious in allowing us to collect imagery over their property. In addition, the property contained 15 precision (5 or 30 cm absolute position) ground control points that were used for data processing and accuracy quality verifications. For more information please visit -

This ortho shows the Pinery CC area of interest and the ground control that was mapped by Falcon in a 1 hour flyover. The area covered was approximately 3.4 Km^2 @ 13 cm GSD. (6.7cm GSD available as full result)

Falcon being hand launched.

Typical ground control point being surveyed.

Pinery ortho detail.

3 digital elevation models (example shown above) were constructed using 1) only camera GPS tags, 2) only Falcon flight log GPS tags and 3) 6 ground control points. For cases 1) and 2) all 15 GCPs were used for accuracy evaluation. In case 3) 9 GCPs were used for QA evaluation. The table below shows the Root Mean Square Error in meters and the Circular Error at a probability of 90% for each of the 3 cases.

Test Case

RMSE X (m)

RMSE Y (m)

RMSE Z (m)

CE90 (m)

1 - Camera Tags





2 - Falcon Tags





3 - 6 GCP





The full accuracy reports from CompassData, Inc. are downloadable below:

Camera Tags - CompassDataInc_FalconUAV_DroneMapper_PineryCanonGPS13cmUTM13N.pdf
Falcon Tags - CompassDataInc_FalconUAV_DroneMapper_PineryFalconGPS13cmUTM13N.pdf
GCP - CompassDataInc_FalconUAV_DroneMapper-PineryGCP13cmUTM13N.pdf

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  • Super, really amazing results. Especially the DEM is nice. 

  • Beautiful!

  • Thanks all.. Jeff: yes, no geotags at all.. just 6 GCP matched to 2D location in imagery. :)

  • Wow great results! So for processing the 3rd trial, you didn't use any sensor data from the plane, just raw .jpg files matched with GCPs?

  • Wow, I live about 15 minutes from there and have flown FPV in that vicinity a number of times. Wish I could have gone out and flown with them!

  • Moderator

    Nicely done JP 

  • Very interesting and awesome partnerships!

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