AirGon Sensor Package Software Suite, Redux

The AirGon Sensor Package (ASP) software suite is part of the AirGon software workflow and is used to process Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) information from the AV-900 ASP hardware for Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) direct geopositioning (wow, that is truly a mouthful!!).

Last year we introduced the Bring Your Own Drone (BYOD) Mapping Kit to our AirGon solutions.  The BYOD bundles Mission Planning software, PhotoScan Pro, LP360 for sUAS and, most importantly, full workflow training to enable serious site mapping using DJI Phantom 4 Pros and Inspire 2s.

Over the course of the last year, using data from literally hundreds of site mapping operations, we have learned a great deal about mapping with these low cost drones.  As with most technology workflows, there are a lot of moving parts.  Get just one or two wrong and you are delivering bad data.

As all of you in the business know, deliver good data a dozen times and you probably don’t even get an attaboy (after all, good data are expected!); deliver bad data just one time and your reputation is damaged.  No one wants this to happen!

You can do respectable mapping with the Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 (but not with prior versions of these drones) but there are certain things that are relatively unforgiving.  Some are standard workflow items and others are to overcome defects in the DJI flows.  For example, DJI encodes the wrong elevation in the image Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) data.  This elevation (if you are not using direct geopositioning) is used to seed the downstream Structure from Motion (SfM) software such as PhotoScan.  If this elevation is not correct, things go bad (even if you are using ground control).

Camera calibration turns out to be a critical factor in an accurate photogrammetric workflow.  While SfM packages such as PhotoScan and Pix4D do include “self-calibration”, you have to do more than this if you expect to have accuracy sufficient to support operations such as generating 1 foot contours.

Fixing the above issues and keeping track of calibration files is a real pain.  To ease this pain, we are upgrading our ASP Software Suite to include items such as:

  • Project File creation
  • DJI Elevation correction process
  • Camera Manager
  • Calibration tracking (e.g. jobs processed since the last calibration)
  • Creation of PhotoScan Pro External Orientation Given values file and camera calibration file

The new version of ASP Suite will be implemented as a paged “wizard”, making it extremely easy to use.  Of course, it also continues to supply the algorithms needed to process PPK from AirGon ASP GNSS boards.

We are anticipating a June release for this new version.  Owners of any version of an AirGon Mapping Kit will receive this upgrade.  It will begin shipping in all new BYOD Mapping Kits upon release.

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Lewis Graham has written 54 articles

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