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Mapping a Sand Pit

cdrjf

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Hi all,
I am a mapping rookie who's been asked to map a water-filled sand pit. The pit will be drained and I would map periodically to monitor progress.
I have two questions:
1. Is this even possible?
2. Would "Maps Made Easy" work for this task or do I need to get Pix4D products?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
 
What is the goal/scope of the project?
What deliverables are you trying to create?

On one of my bi-weekly projects there is a "Holding Pond" and it gets photographed each time. Usually that portion of the build site is "Cropped Out" to simplify processing and such because it's not within the SCOPE of my deliverables but it's clearly in the process which can be seen in this "UnCropped" version of the project:

 
My understanding is that the mapping softwares, at least MME, doesn’t like to process water images. I think they’ve said its ok if the images also contain some solid material or shoreline, etc. I’ve processed orthos of my property with small ponds and they work out just fine.

BigAl, that’s quite the large, detailed model! I’ve tried my hand at one site for practice using WebODM and it was melted garbage. I only did a crosshatch pattern flight, with no orbits or facade shots, so that could be my issue.
 
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What is the goal/scope of the project?
What deliverables are you trying to create?

On one of my bi-weekly projects there is a "Holding Pond" and it gets photographed each time. Usually that portion of the build site is "Cropped Out" to simplify processing and such because it's not within the SCOPE of my deliverables but it's clearly in the process which can be seen in this "UnCropped" version of the project:

Nice imagery...every big project that I know of has to have a way to manage rain run-off...hence your holding pond. I am pleased to see that it's not just a black hole of data...which has been my fear.

My customer is very unsophisticated in re: drone imagery (as if I am...), but his goal is to make a record of the drain out of the pit, set a baseline of the topography once drained and then assess what he removes. If this sounds foggy, it is. I think he and I will learn together. TBH, this is a learning experience for me and he is willing to be my first "client".

I mentioned I'm a newbie...I've taken several online photogrammetry classes but, obviously, haven't used what I theoretically have learned. My client is a good 'ol boy who's been doing dirt work forever; got this pit in an ugly court battle and needs to rehabilitate it in order to dig the sand.
 
My understanding is that the mapping softwares, at least MME, doesn’t like to process water images. I think they’ve said its ok if the images also contain some solid material or shoreline, etc. I’ve processed orthos of my property with small ponds and they work out just fine.

BigAl, that’s quite the large, detailed model! I’ve tried my hand at one site for practice using WebODM and it was melted garbage. I only did a crosshatch pattern flight, with no orbits or facade shots, so that could be my issue.
Thanks for your reply...I contacted the MME folks and the answer I got was "give it a try". So, I plan to.
And I agree with you...BigAl's model is stunning!
 
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My understanding is that the mapping softwares, at least MME, doesn’t like to process water images. I think they’ve said its ok if the images also contain some solid material or shoreline, etc. I’ve processed orthos of my property with small ponds and they work out just fine.
It really depends on what "features" are there besides just "plain/boring" water. A large expanse of featureless water ends up being a whole lot of nothing and the software doesn't have anything to tie images together. The Catch Basin/Holding Pond isn't that large and lots of "features" to help the software figure it all out.

BigAl, that’s quite the large, detailed model! I’ve tried my hand at one site for practice using WebODM and it was melted garbage. I only did a crosshatch pattern flight, with no orbits or facade shots, so that could be my issue.
Thank you. My "project" is really just the construction area but I acquire my DATA much larger than needed to ensure I have a LOT of DATA in the target areas.

That model isn't the detail I'm striving for but it's getting better and better each time. I've gotten some great tips from members on this forum and from a couple of associates in the industry who I collaborate with now and again. The model pictured was created with Agrisoft MetaShape Pro. I never could get a solid install of WebDOM even after I purchsed the "installer". I reached out to their Tech Support 3x and never heard a PEEP back.

I'm' using Drone Deploy as the Flight Planning software and doing an "Enhanced" flight which is crosshatch and then an orbit. Then I manually fly around the perimeter taking Oblique images to add to the collection. I only did 1x Oblique orbit for the one linked here but I'm going back this week and will do 2 or 3 Oblique orbits (manually) adding more Facade Data for the model to build upon. I'm hoping to really clean up the vertical surfaces somewhat. We shall see after I get back over there late this week.
 
Nice imagery...every big project that I know of has to have a way to manage rain run-off...hence your holding pond. I am pleased to see that it's not just a black hole of data...which has been my fear.

My customer is very unsophisticated in re: drone imagery (as if I am...), but his goal is to make a record of the drain out of the pit, set a baseline of the topography once drained and then assess what he removes. If this sounds foggy, it is. I think he and I will learn together. TBH, this is a learning experience for me and he is willing to be my first "client".

I mentioned I'm a newbie...I've taken several online photogrammetry classes but, obviously, haven't used what I theoretically have learned. My client is a good 'ol boy who's been doing dirt work forever; got this pit in an ugly court battle and needs to rehabilitate it in order to dig the sand.

If the water area is large enough it could be a "Black Hole" but the software is pretty good if you give it some unique points to tie things together.

This sounds like it could be a FUN and very educational. I'm far from a PRO but if I can help in any way please don't hesitate to reach out.

By all means keep us updated how it's going.
 
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I design a lot of ponds of various sizes (e.g. less than an acre to around seven acres so far, and typically ten to twenty feet deep) for clients wanting fish ponds and generally need to do before, during and as-built flights (Phantom 4 RTK) and use photogrammetric processing to calculate cuts and fills and confirm side slopes. The ponds are generally pumped down to empty but sometimes they have a bit of water in the bottom. It's sort of crazy but, if the water is clear, not too deep (less than a couple of feet), and the bed surface has some texture, I can actually get usable underwater ground surface from the photogrammetry processing. To be sure there isn't too much distortion from light refraction through the water, I've spot checked the underwater surface elevations with a total station and they come in surprisingly close to the surface model. I can't tell you anything about MME, but I've used the 3DSurvey software for several years and found it to work extremely well for my needs (more than just the ponds). Best of luck on your project.
 
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If the water area is large enough it could be a "Black Hole" but the software is pretty good if you give it some unique points to tie things together.

This sounds like it could be a FUN and very educational. I'm far from a PRO but if I can help in any way please don't hesitate to reach out.

By all means keep us updated how it's going.
Thanks so much...as I get into this further, I will update. This pit is caught up in a legal battle which may last till the end of Q1 of 2024. I am going to try to fly it from an offsite location, because I don't think I'll get access until next year.
 
Soory I'm late to this discussion, but I've also had to map ponds and gravel quarries. I do all of my initial processing in Pix4D, but then use Virtual Surveyor (Smart Drone Surveying Software - Virtual Surveyor) for advanced editing of the Pix4D products. I especially found it useful for editing water features, calculating volumes, and rudimentary pond design.
 
Soory I'm late to this discussion, but I've also had to map ponds and gravel quarries. I do all of my initial processing in Pix4D, but then use Virtual Surveyor (Smart Drone Surveying Software - Virtual Surveyor) for advanced editing of the Pix4D products. I especially found it useful for editing water features, calculating volumes, and rudimentary pond design.
Thank you for this info. I have taken an online class using Pix4D and would use it if it weren't so expensive. I've not heard of Virtual Surveyor, so I'll check that out.
 
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It really depends on what "features" are there besides just "plain/boring" water. A large expanse of featureless water ends up being a whole lot of nothing and the software doesn't have anything to tie images together. The Catch Basin/Holding Pond isn't that large and lots of "features" to help the software figure it all out.


Thank you. My "project" is really just the construction area but I acquire my DATA much larger than needed to ensure I have a LOT of DATA in the target areas.

That model isn't the detail I'm striving for but it's getting better and better each time. I've gotten some great tips from members on this forum and from a couple of associates in the industry who I collaborate with now and again. The model pictured was created with Agrisoft MetaShape Pro. I never could get a solid install of WebDOM even after I purchsed the "installer". I reached out to their Tech Support 3x and never heard a PEEP back.

I'm' using Drone Deploy as the Flight Planning software and doing an "Enhanced" flight which is crosshatch and then an orbit. Then I manually fly around the perimeter taking Oblique images to add to the collection. I only did 1x Oblique orbit for the one linked here but I'm going back this week and will do 2 or 3 Oblique orbits (manually) adding more Facade Data for the model to build upon. I'm hoping to really clean up the vertical surfaces somewhat. We shall see after I get back over there late this week.
BigAl, I meant to ask-Was your crosshatch portion of the missions done in nadir camera orientation or was there some oblique tilt to those shots? I ask because I shot a construction site just as a crosshatch mission and maybe 70 deg tilt if I recall correctly. It didn’t seem to look any better than my previous 90 degree shots.
 
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BigAl, I meant to ask-Was your crosshatch portion of the missions done in nadir camera orientation or was there some oblique tilt to those shots? I ask because I shot a construction site just as a crosshatch mission and maybe 70 deg tilt if I recall correctly. It didn’t seem to look any better than my previous 90 degree shots.
They used to be at 90deg but recently I've been using "Enhnaced" and it's shooting the Crosshatch and the Orbit at oblique. I think it was 65 or 70deg.

I can tell some difference in the facade shots but then again I'm also going back and manually flying the facades to get even more detail. I'm heading back to this site in the next week for an update model so we shall see what happens.
 
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To toss in another two cents. Most of the terrain I fly is hilly to mountainous but I don't fly towers, buildings or other structures. When I first started with my P4 RTK a few years ago, I flew several projects using both 2D and 3D mission planning to compare the results. I found the 2D results to consistently be at least a bit better than the 3D results and have stuck with that ever since. I'm curious to hear what the experiences have been from others on this forum. If you can, run your own tests and see what you come up with. Once on a site, it often takes only a few more minutes to fly the area again. I get the best results over hilly areas when using the Terrain Awareness option. It's a bit of a pain to set up the flights, and there are a few things to watch out for, but is generally worth the extra effort.
 
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