Acquisition of Data for Building Photogrammetric Virtual  Outcrop Models for the Geosciences using Remotely Piloted  Vehicles (RPVs)

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John Howell, Magda Chmielewska, Conor Lewis, Simon Buckley, Nicole Naumann, Jessica Pugsley


Over the past five years the use of 3D models in the Earth Sciences has become ubiquitous. These models, termed Virtual outcrops, are most commonly generated using Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry, an image-based modelling method that has achieved widespread uptake and utilization. Data for these models is commonly acquired using remotely piloted aerial vehicles (RPVs), commonly called drones. The purpose of this document is to present a basic acquisition methodology, which is based on the workflows used by the authors for the acquisition of over 500 virtual outcrops over the last decade.

This article is part of a series from the editors of V3Geo, which is an online forum for sharing high quality virtual 3D geoscience models. Virtual outcrops submitted to V3Geo are subject to a technical quality control to ensure that data can be reliably utilized by the wider professional and scientific community. This document provides guidelines for the robust acquisition of data which are required to build high quality models suitable for sharing in V3Geo. The document focuses on outcrop selection, mission planning, RPV setup, data acquisition and management. Related documents in this series cover data processing and model building.



Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences


Digital Outcrop Model, Remote piloted vehicle, RPV,, Virtual Geology, Virtual Fieldtrip


Published: 2021-09-14 10:41

Last Updated: 2021-09-14 17:41


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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