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Create an ortho mapping workspace for drone imagery

Available with Advanced license.

To create an ortho mapping workspace for processing your drone images, you will need two types of information about your drone imagery: the geolocation information and the camera information. This information is commonly stored as metadata in the image files, typically in the EXIF header, and includes latitude, longitude, altitude, and camera type. The camera type is used to compute a camera model based on the specifications of the camera.

The New Ortho Mapping Workspace wizard allows you to load a collection of imagery containing EXIF header information. This information is used to derive the geolocation and camera model for each image in the collection, assign the spatial reference, and set up the workspace.

To create a workspace for drone imagery, click on the Imagery tab on the main ribbon and select New Workspace in the Ortho Mapping group. A wizard appears for you to define your workspace. Add a name and description for your workspace, and choose Drone from the Type drop-down list. Use the Basemap drop-down list to choose the kind of basemap you want to use as a backdrop for your image collection. You can also import and use an existing image collection for your workspace, and optionally import Control Points, Solution Points, Solutions Table, and Solution DSM (digital surface model).

If your imagery includes proper EXIF image header information, the workspace will be automatically generated by the wizard when you input the directory containing the imagery.

Create a drone ortho mapping workspace dialog box

The Spatial Reference for the workspace is automatically mapped to a UTM zone and vertical coordinate system based on the GPS data in the EXIF header. Click the Coordinate System button to optionally select a different map reference system and vertical coordinate system. The coordinates system of the workspace will be used in the map, and the result of orthomosaic and DEM.

In some cases, the Z in the EXIF header is really the flying height that does not include the DEM. You can edit the altitude reference of your image collection by clicking on the Edit Description button next to the Geolocation information. For the Z Value Type, you can select Flight Height for flying height above mean sea level, or you can choose Altitude, and optionally you can Define a constant flight height. Click OK to save the settings on the Edit Geolocation Reference page.

Click Set elevation source on the dialog box to use an Average Elevation from DEM from the default elevation service, or navigate to your own elevation source dataset. Optionally, you can choose to use a Constant Elevation. You can choose to Calculate Statistics or Build Pyramids for your image collection before you create the workspace, and you can choose a Band Combination if you want to reorder the band combination for your image collection.

If the images in your collection do not contain an EXIF header, you will need to provide a Geolocation GPS text file, such as a comma-separated value (CSV) file, which includes values for the fields: Image Name, Latitude, Longitude, and Altitude, and optionally Omega, Phi, and Kappa. Click the import button Import to browse to the GPS text file.

If the camera type is missing from the EXIF header information, click Properties to open the Edit Camera Parameters page and select your Camera Maker and Camera Model. Once you select the camera make and model, the wizard will complete the form based on the extensive database of supported cameras, and compute the camera model, also known as the interior orientation. If your camera is not supported, you can enter the camera information on the Edit Camera Parameters page and save it. The camera parameters setting will be used to compute the camera model.

Create an ortho mapping workspace from drone imagery

  1. On the Imagery tab, click New Workspace.
  2. On the Workspace Configuration page, type a name for your workspace.
  3. Use the Workspace Type drop-down arrow to choose Drone.
  4. Click Next.
  5. On the Image Collection page, click the Add button to browse and load all the drone imagery for this project.

    If your imagery has the proper metadata in its EXIF headers, the Geolocation and Camera Model parameters are automatically populated.

  6. If the Geolocation information was not automatically populated by the EXIF header information, browse to the geolocation file that your vendor should have provided with the drone imagery.
  7. Spatial Reference should be automatically populated with the GPS location of your data. Click the spatial reference button spatial reference if you want to change the spatial reference.
  8. If the Camera Model information was not automatically populated by the EXIF header information, click the Browse button for the Camera Model parameter. This opens the Edit Camera Parameters options page.
    1. Choose the correct Camera File with the camera model information. This can be a .cam file or a .csv file. If neither is available, you can manually enter the camera parameters on this page.
    2. Click the Back button to return to the Image Collection page.
  9. Optionally, click the Data Loader tab to further refine your output drone workspace.
    1. Choose your Elevation Source.
      • If you have access to the Internet, use the default elevation service for the DEM parameter, and Average Elevation from DEM for the Elevation Source option.
      • If you do not have access to the Internet, provide a DEM file covering the project area, and choose Average Elevation for the Elevation Source option.
    2. Check the Estimate Statistics check box to estimate the statistics for your output drone workspace.
    3. Edit the Band Combination parameters if you want to reorder the band combination from the default order.
    4. Choose either of the Pre-processing options to Calculate Statistics or Build Pyramids on your data before you create your workspace.
  10. Click Finish to create the workspace.

When the ortho mapping workspace is created, the image collection will be loaded in the workspace and displayed on the map. You are now ready to perform adjustments and generate ortho products.

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