Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, are increasingly being used to capture images of the earth's surface. They are an inexpensive alternative to the manned aerial vehicles traditionally used in photogrammetry, with applications ranging from precision agriculture to infrastructure monitoring to geological studies.

UAV systems can be equipped with different instruments, including optical, multispectral, and infrared cameras, which in combination with satellite localization tools with accuracy in the order of centimeters can obtain different products from a single flight such as georeferenced mosaics, digital elevation models (DEM), outlines, 3D textures, point clouds, etc.

Elecnor Deimos portrays drone flights in web browsers using two technologies: Cesium and the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift.

Starting from data collected in different flight campaigns, the interactive visualization is developed using telemetry data, digital elevation models, georeferenced images, and mosaics. These data are processed by open source software (GDAL) and loaded and served by a geographic data server (GeoServer) through OGC Web Services (WMS, WFS).

This representation allows users to virtually experience the flight and to visualize in an interactive way the images and the flight data captured by the onboard instruments. They can take advantage of the immersive visual interface offered by Oculus Rift and the orientation of the point of view through its integrated sensors.

Viewer mode - Marugan 5 campaign

Viewer mode - Marugan 2 campaign

Oculus mode (ScanEagle)

To learn more, see these GIS-related publications and presentations:

This work has been partially supported by the Spanish Government by the project ADAM with reference IPT-20111026 under program INNPRONTA 2011 and Deimos Space S.L.U (Elecnor Deimos). Elecnor Deimos is the technology arm of Elecnor Group.