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Mapping Software

Andy T

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Hello

I have been getting into mapping properties (around 200 Images) but am having trouble finding software to stitch them together. I’ve tried agisoft which works great but is very expensive. I’ve been using DJI groundstation to plan the missions which works great also, but it’s map stitching doesn’t always line up the images correctly. What do you use?
 

dougcjohn

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Have you tried Maps Made Easy? That is pretty good for the Ortho 2D, the 3D model that is viewable on site is low resolution but still worth the process. I purchase a sum of credits, but will select a lower scale on the batch to see the result... if good, use the finer scale with credit cost.
As mentioned, the 2D is normally great and for no cost you can process several sets to evaluate your image captures. If I capture 400 of so images, I’ll select every other or every 3rd to check results. You can also easily share your work with clients via simple URL links and create a time stack of site if desired. Based on credits, so cost not large initial investment.

Another option is local processing, very powerful software without investment, similar to credits... the PPI option allows you to examine & process full workflow. If you want to use it for production, you purchase a license for each image (PPI Credits) that remain with image if resused in another project or image... you pay only once per image.

I’m still learning Reality Capture, I think it’s better than Metashape in some ways, but it’s workflow isn’t close to the ease of Metashape.

Metashape is probably a great choice when ready for the investment. I find out of the 4-5 products I’ve tried, it’s the most accurate out of the gate... it just works!

Many products... Pix4D, SimActive are both strong products.
Google mapping software or drone mapping software and you’ll find several lengthy posts and comparison of products.
 
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Empire Drone

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ODM Lightning is the paid cloud processing version of ODM (UAV and Drone Mapping Software - WebODM Lightning) It’s super inexpensive but does require a little more user input and getting used to compared to the competitors.

Depending on the project we’ve used DroneDeploy or Pix4DCapture to obtain the data and then ODM to process. A lot of the time we will also use Pix4D to process. Again, depends on the project.
 

dougcjohn

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ODM Lightning is the paid cloud processing version of ODM (UAV and Drone Mapping Software - WebODM Lightning) It’s super inexpensive but does require a little more user input and getting used to compared to the competitors.

Depending on the project we’ve used DroneDeploy or Pix4DCapture to obtain the data and then ODM to process. A lot of the time we will also use Pix4D to process. Again, depends on the project.
Good info!
Does this site display the ortho and 3D model?
Can clients access the images & 3D model on our Acct... shared or guest acct?

If you download them, do they have a good 3D model viewer?
 

R Martin

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Hello

I have been getting into mapping properties (around 200 Images) but am having trouble finding software to stitch them together. I’ve tried agisoft which works great but is very expensive. I’ve been using DJI groundstation to plan the missions which works great also, but it’s map stitching doesn’t always line up the images correctly. What do you use?
We use Pix4D exclusively. If cost is an option then you might look at the cloud-based services that charge per job.
 

dougcjohn

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ODM Lightning is the paid cloud processing version of ODM (UAV and Drone Mapping Software - WebODM Lightning) It’s super inexpensive but does require a little more user input and getting used to compared to the competitors.

Depending on the project we’ve used DroneDeploy or Pix4DCapture to obtain the data and then ODM to process. A lot of the time we will also use Pix4D to process. Again, depends on the project.
Can ODM Lightening provide Client with a viewer / player that allows them to examine the 3D model & rotate and perform measurements with the 2D Ortho? Does Client have "Guest" access to view Online?

The Metashape program so far has provided the best product, using same file set of photos with Pix4D, RealityCapture, MapsMadeEasy, DroneMapper, and a few quick experiments with others. Metashape without much interaction consistently produces quality results. I think RealityCapture may be a super product, but it has more learning and interaction to even obtain a result on 300 plus photos, and their PPI credits are a super idea.

The biggest issue with Metashape is Client Access. Their included "Viewer" is not standalone and requires anyone that wants to use their Viewer to install Metashape in Demo mode. Kind of excessive for a Client. I've tried various OBJ viewers to show the Metashape files; but none approach the quality displayed in Metashape.

Getting the simplistic install method the ODM program requires a purchase... again, not an ideal path for a Client, nor is providing the GitHub Manual Install of ODM for free install.

That is the one major plus for MapsMadeEasy... quick & easy build & view in MapsMadeEasy... provide Clients with URL to 2D Ortho, online tools to measure, and setup a Location and stack multiple dates into an easy view of progression. The sharable Web view of the 3D is entertaining only... but still fun for the Client to rotate and examine.

I'll look into ODM program and ODMLightening Cloud Services. Hopefully they have a method to allow Client access and view.
 

dougcjohn

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I tried ODM Lighting, purchased credits and compared. Uploaded a photo set (320) of a construction site that is currently foundation walls and concrete forms that was previously used in Metashape. The 1st upload I accepted the ODM "Defaults", and results were middle quality for the Ortho and poor for the 3D model. On the 2nd upload, I compared the option settings and selected "3D Model". Results had minimal improvement and much lower quality than Metashape's default.

Is there a configuration to use that increases the quality or is the computational matrix used in ODM that much different. On the plus side, it was able to process faster than my local system; the ODM Lighting took about 3 hrs and Metashape on my system took 6 hrs, with a fast GPU. A previous Hm system took 16 hrs, so 6 Hrs is still nice.
 

HawkView

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Another “cloud” option is from Measure, who uses the Pix4Dengine. They are now making their flight planning app and processing of two maps per month free. I just used it for a simple smaller site and it worked well.
 
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dougcjohn

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Another “cloud” option is from Measure, who uses the Pix4Dengine. They are now making their flight planning app and processing of two maps per month free. I just used it for a simple smaller site and it worked well.
Hadn't heard or found this one, great to check out!
Just hopped over to their site, even the next step up isn't prohibitive @ $70 per month for unlimited if a shop was doing a lot of maps.
I personally like the "pre-paid credits" method, so you can have a heavy month and a few empty months over a monthly program.
 

HAWK-i.us

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I tried ODM Lighting, purchased credits and compared. Uploaded a photo set (320) of a construction site that is currently foundation walls and concrete forms that was previously used in Metashape. The 1st upload I accepted the ODM "Defaults", and results were middle quality for the Ortho and poor for the 3D model. On the 2nd upload, I compared the option settings and selected "3D Model". Results had minimal improvement and much lower quality than Metashape's default.

Is there a configuration to use that increases the quality or is the computational matrix used in ODM that much different. On the plus side, it was able to process faster than my local system; the ODM Lighting took about 3 hrs and Metashape on my system took 6 hrs, with a fast GPU. A previous Hm system took 16 hrs, so 6 Hrs is still nice.
Use the "Hi Res" option in ODM Lightning. Produces resolution and quality every bit as good as I can get from Pix4D and DD. WebODM is free version of LIghtning but has a steep learning curve and requires a strong PC with lots of memory. Well Pix4D also has a steep learning curve if you want to understand what's going on. If you just want to upload and go, DD is the ticket, but it is super costly. One attraction for Pix4D is the month-at-a-time subscription. Let's me buy only when I have a customer, AND it doesn't a-la-carte you to death like DD. Seems like the features I actually need on DD are always the next level subscription.

Good Luck and stay safe............. bob r
 

dougcjohn

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Use the "Hi Res" option in ODM Lightning. Produces resolution and quality every bit as good as I can get from Pix4D and DD. WebODM is free version of LIghtning but has a steep learning curve and requires a strong PC with lots of memory. Well Pix4D also has a steep learning curve if you want to understand what's going on. If you just want to upload and go, DD is the ticket, but it is super costly. One attraction for Pix4D is the month-at-a-time subscription. Let's me buy only when I have a customer, AND it doesn't a-la-carte you to death like DD. Seems like the features I actually need on DD are always the next level subscription.

Good Luck and stay safe............. bob r
Thanks for the suggesting, I have tried default, 3D Model and Hi Resolution presets. Results on a whole, aren't a lot better between 3D & Hi Res.

I am with you on the DD subscription... I so dislike a monthly fee structure. I'd rather Own and take the Tax benefit on Software Asset to paying a subscription that when I stop, I have no product I can continue to use as older version. I don't mind the Pre-credit fees... you can purchase a high number to lower the per-credit price and use when you need if low volume on modeling or mapping. The Maps Made Easy or RealityCapture are 2 examples.

I've experimented with Pix4D, SImActive, and a few more... for the money, I haven't been overly impressed. Pix4D Capture app is a bit limited compared to others... but that's independent of the Image processing. I do think Pix4D can provide better results with tweaking of the variables, the same for RealityCapture and SimActive. Based on the 3 products, I think RealityCapture by CapturingReality is probably the most feature rich & capable. It too is intensive in learning curve to obtain high results. Pix4D defiantly has multiple markets covered in various products, but I question if best. The Pix4D Ag product is not as nice as Sentera's Field Agent for example.

I'll collect a few examples... static JPG's on a following post.
 

dougcjohn

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I've enjoyed looking at the few new suggestions on this thread... New to me.
@Andy T , apologies if thread was slightly detoured but several posts have been useful.

My viewpoint on Mapping / Modeling software products: the product should attempt to perform it's best without a lot of intervention. The tweaking is to "enhance" or use included tools: measuring, volume, filler, etc., but not to obtain a presentable product. The product's strength is being able to evaluate the images in a way to perform it's own enhancements based on the data points within the matrix of the Dense Cloud or Mesh produced.

I think after experimenting with 12-14 products, I'm concluding that Metashape performs "out of the box" the best. Which for a new person, that's a great way to get quality product without weeks/months of learning product. It has a vast depth of variables and features to improve the image or to help some difficult to align image points. It has a vast learning curve to gain appreciation of the full product's potential.

Based on "out of box" using predefined presets or templates... basically minimal knowledge of the product, or just a "Load & Go", Click to process. The advantage and disadvantage of Metashape is the local system, it does require some GPU horsepower and ample RAM. The nice thing about Metashape is that it uses the GPU more demanding than the CPU... so installing a PCIe based GPU with ample CUDA or OpenCL units will perform nicely on a i7quad, 32GB unit. If you run it on a 12 Core / 24 thread Xeon... all the better.

As a Quick & Informal comparison... Using 2 Cloud Services and 1 Local - Metashape. I attempted to align the 2D Ortho and 3D Model into the same aspect for a comparison. The MapsMadeEasy does a super job on 2D Ortho, it's "public" 3D URL link is often more entertainment than useful. The Best thing about MapsMadeEasy is it's simplicity to share your Ortho & 3D Models to Clients and use of measuring tools. If they'd offer a better 3D Model option, that would be even better.

MapsMadeEasy was a free lower resolution quick run so the max zoom-in on 2D Orthor is lower and the 3D model quality is not great...the 3D model is better when using high resolution and pre-paid credits.

Taking a capture of the image in similar views:
All made from the exact same Photos.

Maps Made Easy - LOW "Free" Quick Processing
MapMadeEasy 3D Model.jpg


Lighting 3D Hi-Res Processing
Lighting 3D Model.jpg


MetaShape 3D Model
No Holes in Walls, Vertical columns present, Wall & Concrete Forms visible and the Materials Building solid
Metashape 3D Model.jpg


Lighting 3D - zoomed out to capture the full model
Lighting 3D Wide1.jpg

Metashape 3D - zoomed out to capture full model
Walls complete, looks close to a photo instead of a 340 photo Model.
Metashape 3D wide1.jpg


Lighting 3D Model - Wide view 2
Lighting 3D Wide2.jpg

Metashape 3D model wide view 2
Metashape 3D wide2.jpg

For comparison... a different Date, to display MapsMadeEasy does make better 3D Models.
A MapsMadeEasy 3D model in Higher Resolution - On Public Share URL. You can download higher quality 3D model.
MapsMadeEasy 3D Model HiRes.jpg
 
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dougcjohn

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The 2D Orthos...

MapMadeEasy
MapsMadeEasy Ortho2D.jpg

Lighting 2D zoomed in on Walls, Forms, dirt, tractor as examples
Lighting Ortho2D.jpg

Metashape 2D Ortho Zoomed in on Walls, Forms, dirt, tractor as examples
Metashape Ortho2D.jpg


Lighting 2D Ortho Wide
Lighting Ortho2D wide.jpg


Metashape 2D Ortho Wide
Metashape Ortho2D Wide.jpg


MapsMadeEasy 2D Ortho Wide
MapsMadeEasy Ortho2D wide.jpg
 
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jjdun770

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Do me a favor sir and shoot me an email tomorrow ([email protected]) I've got some questions about the groundstation I'm hoping you can answer for me. I'd definitely appreciate it if you could.
Thanks
Jody
 

dougcjohn

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Do me a favor sir and shoot me an email tomorrow ([email protected]) I've got some questions about the groundstation I'm hoping you can answer for me. I'd definitely appreciate it if you could.
Thanks
Jody
You directing that to Op of Thread @Andy T or me.. Dougcjohn
Questions on GSPro2 or GPS Groundstation & Rover? These weren’t shot with Groundstation Base.
 

HAWK-i.us

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DougJohn -- VERY nice work with the comparisons. That's a lot of work. Thanks for sharing. Regards.......... bob r.
 
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GStuart

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dougcjohn, Thank you for taking the time to share those comparison images. That is very useful.

Gary
 

dougcjohn

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A few have asked on the side, about costs.
Each web site has their associated costs.

For those wanting to explore Metashape. They offer a fully functional demo in MacOS and Win10 that can make a 3D model, not a 2D Ortho... and can't save in Demo. They also provide a 30 day fully functional trial. I played with the Demo for sometime to evaluate my hardware builds and quality of images. If ya get a good 3D, the Ortho will look great... and accurate.

I am now on the trial mode... deciding if I want to purchase. I'll probably shift over to RealityCapture and learn it prior to purchase.

The Metashape samples are just a load-up and click to process... no tweaks or adjustments. No photo work prior to enhance photos, I will probably try that to see how it effects image quality on model & ortho.
 

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