T3 Season 2, The Model


Its T3 time again but first I have started tagging people that have entered T3 in the past on their member icons its a very small recognition for their valuable contributions which have driven APM forward faster than it might have without the competition. They have not only put their equipment on the line discovering new ways of doing things but countless hours as well.

Unsung heroes in the development of low cost autopilots for all.

So lets get into this round.

I waste far too much time on the most excellent GEFS there could be more 3D buildings laid on top of the Google Earth base layer. Lets change that.

The last T3 challenge "The Cube" bought some really outstanding results and the natural progression from this is automated flight around a building or natural point of interest and the creation of a 3D model perhaps in 123D catch of the subject. Last November Alan Sanchez showed us how. Improvements in the multirotor code that came into play at the Sparkfun AVC will help with the flying.

This could be achieved with a fixed wing platform with a little thought.

We should have some ground rules (pun intended) you must seek permission to make a model of the building, or natural wonder! You should fly no higher than 130m and the flight should be hands off all the way and you should stay visual with the airframe at all times. Please do not create a model of something in class A airspace unless it's at a recognized model aircraft field.

The flight must be at very least autonomous from just after take off to just before landing. If you can do it all autonomously bonus points! FPV entries will not be permitted.

If you submit your model to Google Earth and get it placed bonus points when it appears on GEFS for me to fly around it. In this case the model might be skinned with images taken from the air.

This is no simple task so it should remain open for six months. Normally I tack time on at the end so to break with tradition lets start the competition on the 1st of August and run all the way to 1st Feb 2014! That gives folks the extension weeks in advance!

Prizes to be announced when I have finished twisting CA's arm. As we know he always comes good.
I am also putting out a call for volunteer judges from the ranks of previous T3 entrants to help me decide. This one is I think going to be very subjective and how attempts are documented is going to be a big factor. 

There is no doubt automated building inspection will be a part of the future for sUAS.

Good Luck, be safe


Now let the traditional but did you mean XYZ questions begin! Oh and if you are tooling around on GEFS as well look out for me as Gary sUAS News, often slope soaring ;-)

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  • Hi Stephen,

    First off amazing work it looks amazing. Yes I can turn the texture on and off but it is quite slow and I am on a computer with very high specs. I like to use the lidar point cloud file type (.las) to share models as it is fairly light and fast, looks good and there is a good free program called QT Reader that opens them. Photoscan can natively export las files too which is handy. I would be very interested in hearing about your work flow of over 5000 images in Photoscan.


  • T3

    Looking forward to seeing your setup Thorsten!

    Would a few of you guys mind trying to open my .ply file in meshlab, and seeing if you can turn the texture on and off?  It's a large file (400MB) with a large texture atlas, so I would like to see how many people can actually open it.  It may crash your computer, so be careful!  This is the height map, the true 3D is still processing.  Mainly I want to know if I need to produce a lower quality product so that people can inspect it in 3D.

    Here's the link.  Thanks!

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    Yes, I use two cameras - one for RGB and one for IR.

  • T3

    Ok. Does your picture are multispectrals to get enhencement  vegetation index?

  • T3

    Sylvain, the screenshot is based on an orthophoto which is draped over the Digital Surface Model and visualized in a 3D viewer. 

  • T3

    Nice Thorsten !

    What you call orthophoto is an oblic mosaic, orthophoto or orthomosaic don't get perspective, it's the point.

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    Hi all!

    This is a preview of my possible entry to the contest. It is a celtic tomb with a diameter of about 100m.

    I hope to finish it in time.






    Enhanced Vegetaion Index


    Flight path, image locations, DSM visualized in Google Earth


  • That's a really neat little damper.  I've never seen that before!  Nice and simple.  Pretty good for the application.

    I did use vibration dampers, the vibration is very very low.  Lowest we've ever measured.  I can take photos at quite low shutter speeds with a Nex5.  I also used a Contour video camera, and I think a Sony WX10 as well.  But the same machine with the S100 just didn't work.  Weird.

    I've got an SX260 now I'm going to try.  But on a Protos 500 helicopter.  Hopefully it works.  It has much less high frequency vibration, but much stronger low frequency vibration than a quadcopter.  I am doing a good anti-vibration mounting on it, so we'll see.

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    @R_lefebvre : I use this self stabilize gimbal modified for horizontals pictures :

    plus silicone dampers to completly isolate S100 from vibrations. It's the key to get  a good result with such a small hardware, it's a very good camera but it very sensitive to vibrations, if you can isolate it and set shutter speed at 1/2000 you will get 90% good pictures.

    Photos must be really goods to get nice model, with absolutly no blur or noise or rolling shutter.

    @stephen : don't share your model please, my computer will burn if i try to open that :D

    S100 GPS was set on but i don't use the EXIF or .gpx for this work, georeferencing has be done with google earth coordonnates…
  • Holy cow, that's amazing work you guys.

    It's looking like I'm probably out.  I spent way too much time bringing up the PX4 on my new mapping helicopter. I'm only starting to build the camera mount now.  Plus there's no way I could compete, you guys have this down to a science.

    Sylvain, what makes your work even more awesome, is you're doing it with such simple machinery.  Just an F450 quad!  Can you show detail of the camera mount?  I'm just curious how you tamed the vibrations.  And you're not even using targeted photos, just a simple 3s intervalometer?  Are you using the GPS in the S100?

    I can believe that you can get good photos from the S100 on an F450.  I tried one of those camera on my H8.  It has extremely low vibrations, but the majority of the photos were bad.  Maybe it was defective, I dunno.  I returned it.

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