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Anyone have any experience with Open Drone Map

Tim Jones

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2018
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Frisco Texas
I do mostly video work, and mapping has always fascinated me, but dang the price for some of the services is crazy
Besides I am a fan of open source.

OpenDroneMap is an open source toolkit for processing aerial drone imagery. Typical drones use simple point-and-shoot cameras, so the images from drones, while from a different perspective, are similar to any pictures taken from point-and-shoot cameras, i.e. non-metric imagery. OpenDroneMap turns those simple images into three dimensional geographic data that can be used in combination with other geographic datasets.
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Interesting question. I have been reluctant to dive into mapping because of the cost of the processing software. Might have to play with this someday.
Mapping and 3D modeling is fascinating.
Sheesh, you should try one or two of the programs. They are super easy to get up and running. Choose something nearby, the local park or some industrial something or other. I still have the local cement plant on my list of possibilities.
Hmmm. Do u you think one could use existing images shot using one of the other mapping softwates, Drone Deploy or Pix4D for example?

Yes, Open Drone Map works similarly to the paid platforms and the same image set can be processed. I have processed one set and the resulting orthoimage was decent but not quite as good and the ortho generated with the same images by Maps Made Easy.
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Might have to play with it
Since I really have not learned any system yet, learning an opensource one might be the way to go.
I often wished I had spent more time learning blender than C4D
I am new to the drone world and am trying out WebODM (Open Drone Map) on both Windows and Linux. I have been running the same date through Drone Deploy, Recap, and WebODM. Out of the box the ODM results were not as good but close enough that I have not given up on it yet.
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Hey Torrey, I have only run one set as well. I admittedly don't know what all the settings that can be specified in WebODM effect and if by changing them my results could be improved. Please do report your results going forward.
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I am having the same results as Torrey Ehrman and Dave Pitman. Using existing data sets that were previously processed with DroneDeploy, Pix4D, SkyCatch, and Maps made Easy. Needs to spend more time working with the settings, etc.

With time the project will improve. NDVI processing may be build into the project in the future.
I have used it some. My general impression was that it has quite a ways to go in the usability department.

I'm a software engineer, I write applications like ODM and to interface with products like these. I'm happy to answer questions anyone might have.
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I have used it some. My general impression was that it has quite a ways to go in the usability department.

I so wanted it to work well, but I must agree. I tried a bunch of different settings as suggested by one of the devs and still never matched a MME processed set. Setting up the VM, allocating pc resources and having the volume fill with data that isn't very friendly to deal with, etc, etc. I would like to save $$ as much as anyone but unfortunately I don't think ODM is a viable solution, for me anyway.
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ODM is free, and you know what they say about getting what you pay for... It took me 10 hours to get it installed as a virtual machine on my PC, and then gave me slow and mediocre results. The counter example to that is Drone Mapper RAPID: Easy to get, install and decent results. But since my work is paying for the software, I swear by Pix4D Mapper Pro. I do not use and upload service for processing any more. It should not matter what flight planning software you use. I've run the gantlet from DroneDeploy, Pix4DCapture etc. and now only use Drone Harmony as it is perfect for my P4P and Android devices.
WebODM in conjunction with QGIS is an open source answer. Know your local coordinate system and have a powerful enough Laptop or Desktop and your keeping your data out of the cloud.
I’m using an Asus ROG GL702vm and it’s powerful enough.
There are YouTube videos, if needed, to get you familiar with the process if you want them.
Unless WebODM has upped it's game in the last 6 months, it is indeed a workable solution but not on the same level as the paid platforms (unfortunately).
Unless WebODM has upped it's game in the last 6 months, it is indeed a workable solution but not on the same level as the paid platforms (unfortunately).

No, it doesn’t do everything for you, you need to know what you want. You can add GDAL etc. for getting closer in and manual tie points....

What good are automatic paid tools if you never know the process and all your work is in a company’s cloud?
I'm not talking theory. I used WebODM to process an image set to compare. It just isn't there yet. It's possible it was user error, but I don't think so.
Perhaps you can share something that we can objectively see is equal or better than the paid solutions?
I use in conjunction with QGIS and make changes in state plane as necessary. I don't have a problem with the results. My fight is with RTK and CORS correction. Thinking of buying Emlid Reach units as the Matrice 210 RTK is RTK of the UAV only. It's Ground Station does NOT play well with other participants and DJI are reluctant to release data necessary to make all work together. Frustrating as all get out.
Apologies in advance if this isn't interesting to anyone here. The U of MN UAV lab has been involved in a few projects surveying for invasive plant species in our state. The commercial mapping solutions work great and produce high quality overviews, but the cost scalability is a concern for us. The primary need of our project is hunting for hard to spot details, so the loss of resolution in the orthophotos was a concern to us, as is losing access to viewing all the original imagery in context. Drone deploy caused us some additional concerns due to difficulty in exporting results at full resolution.
As part of our project we have developed a map stitching pipeline that is more optimized for hunting needles in haystacks. As a research lab, we have developed the software in 'guts out' style, most of the project is written in python/opencv. One of our goals is to produce quality results, another goal is to share and show our work.
For our project which is centered around finding hard to spot details, we created a map visualization tool that runs locally on your computer (not web based) but gives you access to all the original imagery placed precisely where it should go. We use a 3d rendering system (not web based) to stretch the images precisely over the underlying surface so there are virtually no seams. Our visualization tool also gives access to all the images (in full resolution) that cover a particular spot of interest. We can also toggle between different image filtering to help draw out features by intensity or color and make them easier for a human eye to pick out. This is harder to do with traditional mapping solutions.
I'm happy to answer questions if anyone is interested in more details. Perhaps there are better places to post this? I haven't found a thriving mapping developers forum anywhere. Most people pivot commercial as soon as they get something working pretty well.
Here is a rambling video that shows the results I obtained stitching about 2400 images together:
If I haven't already bored you, you can try a live demo (windows) by downloading the release here: https://github.com/UASLab/ImageAnalysis/releases/download/v20190215/7a-explore.zip and then download a dataset from here: UASLab/ImageAnalysis
You might say, holy **** the small data set is 3Gb?!?!? But this is exactly the point, the visualizer is letting you hunt through the full original image set (placed and stretched and aligned with each other) with no lost detail.
Sorry for interrupting the flow here, but the connection is that this is another open-source tool and it might be useful for certain use cases that aren't in the mainstream of generating DEM, orthomosaic overview, etc.
Curt (UMN Uav Lab)
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Hi Curt. Welcome to the forum.

I suspect there are a lot of folks that would be interested in your work. I suggest you start your own thread as your project goes beyond and is not really related to ODM.

Thanks so much for sharing! I'm off to watch your video now.
Thanks Dave, I will do that. I would love to get some feedback at some point from a wider group. I've been pretty heads-down working on this to support a couple specific research projects, but I think (hope?) there could be wider interest. I've been poking around looking for forums/groups that would be interesting in talking about nuts and bolts of image stitching and ortho-mosaicing, this site seems to be the closest I've found so far.

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