Pix4Dmapper creates app for UAV mapping

By UAS Magazine Staff | January 12, 2015

Mapping and recording more accurate data sets and three-dimensional images just became more convenient for Android users. Pix4Dmapper released a smartphone app for the Android operating systems that allow unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators using the DJII Phantom to map areas by defining various types of flights, the company said.  “Users can select flight areas and height to create a fully automatic flight, or fly the drone using the remote control. The app automatically calculates in real time when to acquire images to cover the area optimally, as well as enhance image attributes and characteristics.”

Christoph Stretcha, CEO and founder, said the company made the app to simplify the user experience while guaranteeing the best and most accurate results achievable.

Oliver Kung, co-founder of the company, recently held a webinar walk-through on the application. The app connects to the UAV via wireless connection and allows the user to place a predetermined height (typically 165 feet) to fly the grid and capture images at predetermined times. A grid pattern of 260 feet will typically yield 50 5-megabyte images, depending on the height of the objects below the UAV, which limits the number of images the UAV will record.

The app utilizes key points situated in the grid to match photos taken from various points along the grid back to those key points to create a 3D rendering or orthomosaic. The system is better than using stitched pictures, according to Kung. Images created through the app can offer measurements as accurate as 1 centimeter depending on the settings and GPS capabilities of the UAV.

Images taken from a mapping flight need to be downloaded to a computer currently, but Kung said a cloud-based option will soon be released. Other operating systems will soon be offered as well. The system can map a 6-acre property in 20 minutes, creating a 3D map with a resolution up to 1 inch, the company also said.