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Posted by on Oct 1, 2015

Introduction to Aerial 3D Model Mapping

Introduction to Aerial 3D Model Mapping

3D-ModelI have been working all summer on new projects with drones.  Here is the one that I have worked on the longest. The technology has finally come along far enough to showcase this amazing new capture and display process.  We will start off in this post just showing a couple of 3D Model Maps that were built using the DroneDeploy, Mapping Engine option.

Using DroneDeploy with your UAV to capture and create 3D model mapping

Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove, ca. is the longest continually running lighthouse on the west coast.

by DroneDeploy
on Sketchfab

I started mapping with drones last year. The technology of both the drones and the mapping severs have grown leaps and bounds from that time.  I went back to one of the hardest places to map that I had done before. This was the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove, Ca., where there is no connectivity. The flights here must be flown more manually than what is currently available for connected mapping regions. I flew this map completely with only the DJI Go Application and captured images manually by taking a JPG every few seconds.  Here is the 2D Orthomosaic mapping results on DroneDeploy.

I took both Nadir (straight down) Imagery and Low level Oblique (images at a 45 degree angle with little to no sky in the frame) and uploaded them to the DroneDeploy mapping engine. Doing mapping using these methods you can get Orthomosaic and 3D maps. You also get what is called a DSM (Digital Surface Model) which is basically an elevation heatmap of the location.

Go over to and setup a FREE account, plus follow WhirlingTripod on Facebook for day by day posts of new drone technologies, and go out and try this stuff! For more tutorial info on this process, check out my blog about my recent models.