Overview of VRMapper Process

VRMapper provides an inexpensive, fast and simple to use photographic surveying and mapping system that delivers accurate and quantifiable results. The system can be used to simply document a project space by quickly capturing 360 degree birds-eye view aerial panorama’s, directly measure objects in the field or map visible objects back in the office using the panorama's. The ability to quickly capture complete details of a project space and create a map at any time thereafter is a powerful tool for a myriad of applications. This section provides an overview on the basic steps - panorama image capture, photo survey network adjustment and object mapping. See "Unleashing the Panorama - Part II" for a good overview as well.

Step 1- Photo Survey Network Capture and Image Processing
Imagine being able to capture Birds-Eye panorama’s up to 25 feet above ground level in just minutes – Now you can! A simple to use telescoping monopod and panorama camera mount allow you to capture fabulous 360 degree panorama’s and oblique still views and create a photo survey network to visually document and map an image scene. The photo imaging system captures truly cost effective high quality elevated image worlds up to 25 feet above ground level.  The panorama mount is simple to use and flexible by providing a universal mount for both digital and still cameras. The ease, speed of use and portability offers a myriad of applications and the unique birds-eye aerial perspective enables you to view objects in detail. The tripod allows for hands free operation.


Outline of Photo Survey Network Capture
* Perform site reconnaissance and set photo traverse points and targets
* Set up stabilizing tripod on traverse point and insert monopod through the top of the tripod (optional)
* Quick level the monopod with the bulls eye bubble
* Attach camera platform to top of monopod
* Attach camera to camera platform and set camera exposure controls
* Raise monopod to desired height
* Point VRPhotopod to desired direction using compass mount
* Take photograph using remote shutter control
* Point monopod in next direction and use compass to ensure sufficient sidelap
* Complete 360 degree panorama round
* Lower monopod and check images are OK
* Move to next photo traverse point and repeat steps above for your whole photographic survey network
* Use handheld GPS to derive approximate coordinates for two or more of the photo survey network points
* Use laser ranger to measure one or more distances between the photo controlpoints to control scale.  Validation of Laser Ranger indicates the average measurement accuracy is one centimetre.
* Once you capture the overlapping birds-eye aerial photographs for each photo traverse point, you can then create seamless 360 degree panorama's using your favourite image stitching program.


Step 2- Quickstep Overview of VRMapper Photo Survey Network Adjustment
Many users will want to go beyond just creating birds-eye aerial panorama's for documentation and presentation purposes. VRMapper enables you to make measurements and map visible objects if you observe two or more intervisible panorama's. If you observe three or more intervisible panorama's, VRMapper enables you to perform a survey network adjustment to derive coordinates and elevations for each photo traverse point with accurate and quantifiable results. The VRPhotopod and the VRMapper software combine to deliver a fast, portable, affordable and powerful photographic surveying and mapping system.


Outline of Photo Survey Network Adjustment
Manual Method

* Open birds-eye panorama in image processor
* Mouse click on the visible photo survey network point targets and record X, Y values
* Repeat for each photo survey point
* Use XML file builder to input X & Y values to derive relative directions
* Use sample template to create the XML input file for the least square adjustment, input known coordinates for any constrained points (minimum two constrained points for orientation), input observed distances between traverse points (minimum one distance for scale) and the derived directions
* Modify adjustment controls if necessary
* Run GNU gama horizontal least square adjustment and analyse the results
* You can similarly create and run vertical adjustment for the network

Step 3- Map/Measure Visible Objects From Two or More Panorama's

Phase one tools use an XML input file builder and run GNU gama least square adjustment program directly.  Phase two will enhance the operation with a web interface. Phase three is a plan to migrate and enhance the phase two photo survey tools to a plug-in using the uDig framework to make the tools to be a full featured visual photo survey adjustment and object mapping program including all the Geographic Information System features.


Basic Workflow to Map/Measure Objects Using a Simple Web Interface (mock-up image on right)

  • Knowing distance between intervisible panorama 1 and 2, determine coordinates of each and input values to form (could have form tool to calculate this)
  • Browse to open the two panorama’s
  • Click “orient 1” then mouse click on the location of panorama 2 within panorama 1
  • Click “orient 2” then mouse click on the location of panorama 1 within panorama 2
  • If desired, fill in object Pt# & comment and then click “Measure Object” and navigate and click on the object within each panorama. Object coordinates are displayed in CSV format in results window
This image shows a possible mock-up of an interface for the uDig framework


Visually Map/Measure Objects

This view highlights how you could visually map/measure objects from the photo survey network by simply picking the points in two or more panorama's and solving for the position.  If you use three or more panorama's, you add redundancy to the positioning solution and you will be able to quantify the result. You could also model the process to determine elevation differences, although I have found this to be very challenging. The positioning solution can be done in a tedious manual process or greatly enhanced by using a simple web interface or creating a plug-in tool using an open source framework like uDig.

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