Two million pairs of Landsat satellite images
Monitoring remote regions from space
Consultoría - Topografía -GPS - GNSS - Batimetría - Laboratorios didácticos - Fotogrametría - Software - Suelos - Drones - Accesorios - Franquicias - Estaciones Metereológicas - Equipos láser - Equipos para Construcción - Energías renovables
Supported by the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, with funding from the UK Government Local Growth Fund, Outfield commissioned Bluesky to capture 7,000 hectares of 5cm-resolution photography. Covering farmed land, environmental focus areas and woodland on a large estate in East Anglia, the detailed record of land usage and crop types, for example, is helping with the development of machine learning algorithms to accurately identify features across different datasets and landscapes.
Outfield Technologies used a host of analysis software including off the shelf, open source and proprietary packages on its platform to derive useful data from drone images and more traditional aerial survey data, commented Jim McDougall, commercial director of the company. By combining neural networks for image recognition with the Bluesky data they are developing an automated classification process to help improve decision making for a range of applications.
Bluesky also supplied Outfield with a photogrammetrically derived 3D model of the estate, a Digital Surface Model or DEM, which includes the earth’s surface or terrain and landscape features including buildings and vegetation.
This is a funded research project with a high profile, continued McDougall, and there were also great expectations from the estate for the deliverables derived from the Bluesky data. With little margin for error, it was important that the data collection partner fulfilled not only in terms of competitive pricing but also in quality of data and responsiveness of service.
This land assessment tool is being trialled to add to Outfield’s existing horticulture management systems. Outfield is a technology company delivering plant level image services for field vegetable growers and orchard producers. By providing these growers with useful information derived from aerial imagery, Outfield helps to improve yield forecasting and sales, maximise outputs and identify problems within a crop.
Outfield’s surveying services can offer significant savings compared to traditional foot surveys and the data can be integrated with farm management systems for recording hedgerows and field boundaries, tackling field margin encroachment, precise measurement of net farmed and cropped areas and assessment of woodland areas.
The professionals were asked what they valued most about their chosen geodata acquisition method, and the answers will undoubtedly be of interest to providers of photogrammetric solutions. At the top of the list of priorities (Figure 2) is high accuracy (more than 65%), followed by spatial resolution/point density (just over 50%) and reliable processing software (33%). Other important aspects are the rapid availability of final products and a well-established workflow.
It is hardly surprising that accuracy is regarded as essential. However, accuracy is affected by several factors. PhotoModeler Technologies (also known as Eos Systems) published a relevant blog titled ‘Factors Affecting Accuracy in Photogrammetry’ analysing the various aspects of photogrammetric accuracy. According to the blog, high accuracy is related to photo resolution, camera calibration, angles, photo orientation quality, photo redundancy and targets/marking precision.
One particularly important aspect is knowledge of how to gather the best imagery. After all, of the various factors that affect the accuracy, the quality of the input imagery is crucial. Photogrammetric mapping companies are always working on optimising their solutions, but geospatial professionals themselves can also do a lot to improve the results. It may sound obvious, but high-quality inputs lead to high-quality outcomes.