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Can the drone imagery be used to create 3 dimensional topography? Preferably relative to chosen datum or control elevation. Is there additional equipment or software that accomplish this?


Official comment


Our system outputs KMZ and 3D OBJ files in addition to the lower quality 3D previews that you can embed on web pages as seen on

To get a georeferenced 3D model, the input images must be georeferenced using one of our georeferenced mapping workflows (geotagged, basemap, or manual). Models are still generated without the need to be georeferenced, but the units are arbitrary and it will not be aligned to the real world.

The KMZ is georeferenced and can be used to make measurements. Limitations with the KMZ and Google Earth/SketchUp make it so we only provide that file type with roughly 250,000 faces on the 3D model.

The OBJ file is in degrees on the X and Y axis and meters in the Z axis. They can be uploaded to various online viewer apps such at SketchFab, into fully GIS capable viewers, or into 3D model viewers such as MeshLab.

"Is there additional equipment or software that accomplish this?"

There is no additional software needed other than to create the map imagery and associated models. Maps Made Easy is web-based that handles all of the processing and lets you download the results. Most people's personal computers can't handle the processing these jobs take.

To take the images that are required, it is assumed that you have some kind of flight platform capable of flying a pattern and equipment to record periodic images. Drones Made Easy can help get you set up if you still have questions about the equipment that is needed.

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