CALIBRATION STUDY OF A TRIMBLE ACx4 SYSTEM FOR DIRECT GEOREFERENCING MAPPING APPLICATIONS
The Trimble Aerial Camera x4 (i.e., TACx4) is a photogrammetric multi-head system manufactured by Trimble Inc.© in 2010. It has four cameras mounted together in the main structure allowing the simultaneous acquisition to generate a single synthetic image with much larger ground coverage. In addition, the cameras are also integrated with a GNSS/INS to perform “Direct” or “Integrated” Sensor Orientation. The main condition to obtain photogrammetric mapping products with high accuracy using a direct sensor orientation procedure is to execute a step known as “geometric system calibration”. In general, the photogrammetric multi-head system manufacturers perform this step using laboratory methods to obtain the parameters of cameras interior and relative orientation. Accurate mounting parameters (lever arms and “boresight misalignments”) are fundamental requirements to generate the synthetic image when georeferencing of images is applied. This paper shows a “full field” calibration method to perform the geometric system calibration of the TACx4 system and its evaluation for direct sensor orientation mapping applications. The developed method involves two steps using only aerial images: (1) estimation of the cameras interior and relative orientation parameters to generate the synthetic image and (2) estimation of the synthetic image interior orientation and the mounting parameters between the synthetic image and GNSS/INS reference systems using two different methods. The obtained results in the conventional photogrammetric project show that the proposed method allows performing the geometric system calibration of the TACx4 system achieving around 50 cm (5 pixels) in horizontal and vertical accuracies. The obtained results can be used for large-scale mapping requirements using direct sensor orientation according to Brazilian accuracy standards.