A THREE-DIMENSIONAL SIMULATION AND VISUALIZATION SYSTEM FOR UAV PHOTOGRAMMETRY
Nowadays UAVs has been widely used for large-scale surveying and mapping. Compared with manned aircraft, UAVs are more cost-effective and responsive. However, UAVs are usually more sensitive to wind condition, which greatly influences their positions and orientations. The flight height of a UAV is relative low, and the relief of the terrain may result in serious occlusions. Moreover, the observations acquired by the Position and Orientation System (POS) are usually less accurate than those acquired in manned aerial photogrammetry. All of these factors bring in uncertainties to UAV photogrammetry. To investigate these uncertainties, a three-dimensional simulation and visualization system has been developed. The system is demonstrated with flight plan evaluation, image matching, POS-supported direct georeferencing, and ortho-mosaicing. Experimental results show that the presented system is effective for flight plan evaluation. The generated image pairs are accurate and false matches can be effectively filtered. The presented system dynamically visualizes the results of direct georeferencing in three-dimensions, which is informative and effective for real-time target tracking and positioning. The dynamically generated orthomosaic can be used in emergency applications. The presented system has also been used for teaching theories and applications of UAV photogrammetry.