Creating 3D models and maps from aerial footage isn’t a new idea.  Sophisticated, survey grade models from satellite and aircraft images have been used for large scale environmental surveys, construction projects, and other applications.  That functionality is incredibly valuable – and until recently, reserved for government and large industry due to the expense.

Drones, however, have brought that functionality down a bit closer to earth – allowing more industries and applications the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of accurate modeling without the price tag of satellite or manned aircraft data gathering.  The tools available for the drone market aren’t always exactly the same, however: many platforms specific to the UAV market don’t offer the speed and precision that large industry has come to expect.  Canadian company SimActive, a leading provider of mapping and photogrammetry software for manned aircraft and satellite data, is bridging the gap by expanding their mature processing platform to include the drone market.  SimActive’s Correlator 3D software takes data from any sensor and uses one software interface for processing.

Enterprise and government programs can now choose the most effective and least expensive sensor option for their projects – and drone service providers can now offer a more sophisticated deliverable to their clients.  The price is tailored for the UAV market and the different industries that drones serve, but the software maintains the speed, quality and flexibility developed for sophisticated customers.

SimActive’s processing time is a major differentiator: the 45 minute processing time offers a sharp contrast to the hours or days required by most drone data platforms.  The flexibility of the software is another advantage, one that brings enterprise grade functionality to the drone market.  As customers get more sophisticated, so do their security requirements.  In addition to the option to install on the cloud, SimActive offers a desktop license option.  Users can control the workflow, parameters, and deliverables, and can choose to automate the processing to create output overnight with scripts.

And that output offers enterprise level sophistication and accuracy.  The software offers Aerial Triangulation, DSM & Point Cloud Generation, DTM Extraction and Orthorectification processing modules. Editing tools include GCP creation, Tie Point Editing, DEM Editing, Mosaic Editing, and 3D Feature Extraction.  A wide variety of additional tools –  including NDVI Map Creation, Volume Calculations, and Point Cloud Colorization – expand applications across verticals like agriculture, surveying, construction, and emergency response.

Bringing the same functionality available for manned aircraft and satellite data to the drone market is another major step forward for the industry, expanding the potential of drone technology for serving enterprise and giving drone service providers the tools to deliver what high end customers expect.

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