September 13, 2016


3-D MAPPING is a technology that creates objects in three-dimensional views on computer screens. It provides a life-like view of a place or thing on a map. The 3-D mapping is applied in building schematics used for construction of homes. It can also be used in GPS to provide automated directions. Medical professionals use 3-D mapping to study human anatomy, astrologers utilize it to map out the universe, and engineers exploit it for building cars and canoes. 3-D mapping is an expanding field as many engineers and entrepreneurs are increasingly demanding for detailed maps and 3-D models.

Using drones for 3D mapping is a common phenomenon among professionals. Drones are deployed to conduct surveys and produce 3D models, culminating in live interactive maps of the sites being mapped. This is to ensure that professionals and clients can do things like impose overlays of plans onto what is actually been built, calculate volumetric measurements, and make annotations for themselves or to share with co-workers. In using drone technology for 3D mapping, an operator helps the drone to make an explanatory flight around the new environment. The software for this flying robot can build a 3-D map by comparing data from its motion and orientation sensors with images from its cameras.

In previous years, using drone technology to produce 3-D maps took more than 7 hours to complete after the drone has landed. It took hours for the devices to put together a properly stitched map based on images taken by a drone. To solve this hardship, a technology was developed by a San Francisco startup DroneDeploy for drone-based mapping and 3D technology. The DroneDeploy technology ensures consumer and enterprise-grade drones are controlled autonomously with few taps on the mobile app (available on android and IOS platforms). The technology also manages imagery taken by the flying devices. This allows the images to appear on the mobile phone that is already stitched into a map within 15 minutes, even before the drone lands. Thus, 3D mapping on drone is made simpler, easier, and faster. The DroneDeploy's software is integrated with DJI's Phone 2 vision plus drones as well as with those from 3D Robotics and AgEagle. Recently, it was announced that this software has become compatible with any drone.

The DroneDeploy software undergoes a systematic step-by-step step processes. They are as follows:

  • The app, upon launching, displays the aerial image of their current location.
  • The screen, which is customizable, is tapped to define the area to be surveyed for mapping purposes.
  • The app carries out a few safety checks in the background.
  • Once it is ready, a button pops up to start flying.
  • The button is then tapped for the drone to take off and begin the survey, with no manual control required by the user.

This app, which is available for $99 on both android and iOS platforms, solves the issue of difficulty in controlling the devices in flight, especially in rough weather conditions. It is strictly advisable to fly the drone when there is good lighting in order to get the best results. Some of the top benefits of the DroneDeploy software in 3D mapping include the following: 

  • Its ability to create high-resolution 3D maps with survey-level accuracy.
  • The ease of its use. Thus allowing anyone to fly drones for 3D mapping.
  • Its one-touch simplicity, which automates the flight and captures all the aerial data needed.
  • Its free map processing for any drone.

Professionals in the construction companies that use drone technology have been found to utilize their equipment and resources more efficiently, communicate better through accurate maps and data, and have quantitative means of measuring their progress against their schedules. In sum, 3-D mapping has helped the world to overcome many seemingly unsurmountable challenges.

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