UK: Aerial mapping company Bluesky has completed a research project backed by the UK government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to develop the use of mobile phones for capturing accurate 3D spatial information.
The nine-month research project focused on the use of standard smartphone technology to capture and calibrate video footage, and then convert it to 3D information. Designed for electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNO) and other organizations with a distributed asset base, the low-cost measurement tool can provide an accurate record of the feature’s location and its environment. Accurate measurements of essential infrastructures, such as overhead power lines and other utility facilities, could then be extracted using specially developed algorithms and workflows.
According to company materials, during the project, Bluesky tested a number of hardware, software and deployment options. These included the use of aerial photography to add control points to the video footage. As the project progressed, it was established that in remote areas there were insufficient features, for example road markings, lamp posts or buildings, to establish the required control. Bluesky, therefore, developed alternative innovative methodologies including the use of a calibration object or the measurement of a feature within the imagery.
Working alongside project partner ADAS, Bluesky also undertook rigorous testing of the solution establishing and documenting the field data capture process, identifying minimum hardware requirements, such as camera pixel capacity, and additional developments to the data delivery mechanism. Following minor enhancements and additional trials, Bluesky hopes to launch the mobile phone mapping tool, complete with data processing and hosting services, in Q2 2018.