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Microsoft – UltraCam digital aerial camera systems

Microsoft UltraCam Osprey digital photogrammetric camera

The Microsoft UltraCam Osprey digital photogrammetric camera system combines a high performing photogrammetric nadir camera with oblique capture capability, offering a more versatile dataset than other oblique systems in the market today.

The UltraCam Osprey incorporates several new and unique concepts with a clear emphasis on professional photogrammetry and collection productivity. First, there is the metric nadir component which has been derived from the well-known UltraCam Lp camera. This nadir camera constitutes the “geometry backbone” of the UltraCam Osprey and enables traditional photogrammetric processing from an oblique aerial camera system. For example, Osprey images are compatible with the UltraMap software supporting the full workflow from aero-triangulation to dense surface modelling and ortho image creation. The ability to perform aerotriangulation (AT) and dense matching allows for the creation of high accuracy point clouds, DSM, DTM, DSMorthos and DTMorthos (traditional orthos). Secondly, adding the six oblique camera heads makes the pixel harvest extremely productive. The wing cones are pointing in the four cardinal direction at 45 degree off-nadir. There are dual cones forwards and backwards, and single cones left and right.

Best suited for: The nadir camera collects five bands (PAN, RGB, NIR) with sub-pixel accuracy and high dynamic range equivalent to other UltraCam cameras. This dataset can be used for most photogrammetric applications, such as cadastre, infrastructure planning, and DTM or DSM ortho generation. The combined oblique and nadir imagery is appropriate for more kinds of applications than a standard oblique camera or a stand-alone photogrammetric camera. The resulting data is very useful for urban mapping and 3D city modelling.

UltraCam Osprey builds on the UltraCam Eagle technology, including advanced electronics to achieve an exceptional signal/noise ratio; solid state storage of 3.3TB; and a modular housing concept that integrates all components into one unit. To achieve high flight efficiency, the UltraCam Osprey is designed so that the full swath width of the nadir cone (11,674 pixels) can be used, and oblique wing images overlap enough to generate oblique orthos. The 60 MP backward and forward wing images and the 32 MP left and right wing images, combined with a 2.2 second frame rate, ensure adequate coverage. The camera is also compatible with the UltraNav direct georeferencing and flight management system.

Unique features

  • Weighs less than 75 kg. Reduces fuel consumption and allows for longer flight missions.
  • High-resolution lenses and state-of-the art CCD technology.
  • Advanced electronics for improved frame rate and less noise with 72 dB signal-to-noise ratio.
  • Third generation of UltraCam architecture, everything integrated into a modular sensor head.
  • Third generation filters with curved characteristics to flatten out vignetting.