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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  • T3

    Hey look, we've got T3 banners on our icons!

    Also: Impressive entry Thorsten!  

    Thorsten mentioned how his copter is based on the one I described here, but that copter is based on Steve Westerfeld's winning copter from last T3!  It's funny how these things come back around.

  • T3

    WebGL model works well with Chrome too

  • T3

    That's really good job Thorsten, and congratulation for the total open source workflow, i failed with this point.

  • T3

    Hi all!

    This is our entry: 

    A survey of the earliest Celtic lunar calendar


    The "building":

    The royal tomb at Magdalenenberg, near Villingen-Schwenningen, in Germany’s Black Forest, is the largest Hallstatt tumulus grave in central Europe, measuring over 320ft (100m) across and (originally) 26ft (8m) high. The royal tomb functioned as a lunar calendar and preserves a map of the sky at Midsummer 618 BC, the presumed date of the burial. The order of the secondary burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly the pattern of the constellations visible in the northern hemisphere at Midsummer in 618 BC, while timber alignments mark the position not of the sunrise and sunset but of the moon, and notably the Lunar Standstill. Lunar Standstills are marked in several ancient cultures (including sites in Colorado and Ohio), usually by standing stones that indicate the point where the moon seems to rise and set in the same place, instead of rising in one place and appearing to move across the sky to set in another.

    As such the royal tomb at Magdalenenberg is the earliest and most complete example of a Celtic calendar focused on the moon. Following Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, the Gallic culture was destroyed and these types of calendar were completely forgotten in Europe.

    See also:

    The idea:

    • Test bed for developing a workflow for
      • Precision Agriculture
        • Vegetation indices (RGB + IR)
      • Archeological surveys 
        • Digital elevation models

    The copter:

    • A Hexacopter (Mikrokopter frame, APM 2.6) based on a design concept by Stehen Gienow.


    The cameras: 

    • Canon Elph 110 HS, one converted to IR

    The open source image processing chain:

    The flight:

    • Flight altitude: 50m AGL 
    • Ground image resolution: 0.7cm
    • Flight path and camera trigger locations:


    The Results:

    • RGB orthophoto:


    • IR orthophoto:


    • Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index map:


    • Digital surface model draped over a hill shade model and the IR orthophoto:

    3689571474?profile=originalThe Model

    • Google Earth: T3_Magdalenenberg.kmz (with subfolders)
      • including:
        • Flight path
        • Camera trigger locations
        • RGB orthophoto
        • IR orthophoto
        • DSM model
      • Size: 11MB
    • WebGL 3d model 
      • it might take some time to load...
      • tested with Firefox

    The APM Log file:

    Please report if you encounter any problems with the datasets.


  • H again,

    Sorry to keep hijacking this thread, but I have started a discussion related to aerial image processing if anyone is interested in discussing.

    Stephen-I am very interested in getting in touch with anyone you may be working with who works with point clouds.

    Thorsten-I have looked at the Photoscan ground classification tool a little bit and have had limited success, see their newest manual for detailed instructions on what the different settings in it do. I am also interested in using traditional automated aerial image classifications techniques and applying it to the rgb values in photogrammetry point clouds.


  • Moderator

    Such an amount of hard work has gone into this task so far that I really don't know how I am going to judge.

    Really astounding and a glimpse of the future that's for sure, a reality now of course for you guys.

  • T3

    I did not mentionned it too but my little quad is DGAC approuved (our FAA) for urbans flights.

  • Moderator

    Blimey so many fantastic entries I am gobsmacked. Well done all so far. If you need extra time for something already started PM me. We are always flexible ;-)

  • T3

    Oh!! Forgot to mention:

    -Take off and Landing took place at the center of the field,

    -GCS had VLOS all the time.

    -We took all the necessary permitions from the local Authorities: 

      --14th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

      -- The Fortress Administration
      -- The University of Aegean dep. of Environment, Remote sensing Laboratory

      -- Local Police Departement

      -- Local Airfield.

    -There were no visitors, personel or animals during mission.

    -Landing performed in Manual because off the tight space and guide lines from the administration.

    -Mapping Mission done Hands off.

    I will Upload a short Vid made by the stills.

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