NC Ignite

This application provides capabilities to rapidly update high resolution city digital elevation models (DEMs) using small unmanned aerial systems. The acquired imagery is processed using structure from motion to derive a 3D model of the mapped site, which is then fused with the existing 3D city DEM to support interactive 3D city applications.

Our team is developing a framework for generating high resolution 3D data needed to update 3D city base maps using low cost unmanned aerial systems. The application applies structure from motion to hundreds or thousands of overlapping images to generate a high resolution digital elevation model (DEM) of a city site that has undergone significant change due to construction, flooding or other impacts. This new DEM is then fused with the existing city DEM to create a seamless, up-to-date DEM. The framework is developed using open source software, specifically OpenDroneMap ( for the imagery processing, OSGeo ( for software stacks, and GRASS GIS ( for post-processing and transformation to appropriate GIS formats.

The proposed solution would make the creation of on-demand, high resolution geospatial data practical and affordable, which supports rapid updates of 3D city base maps. There are several applications that will take advantage of the 3D web-based city model and GENI services. These will provide professionals and communities with spatial modeling tools to aid in the process of solving city problems such as stormwater management, post storm damage assessment and cleanup, planning and management of new construction, and many others. The DEM can also be used to update the 3D city WebGIS application InVision.

Acknowledgments: NCNGN, City of Raleigh, NGAT

Team Information: A team from the Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University (CGA-NCSU), City of Raleigh (City), and the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), Helena Mitasova,
[email protected]

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