AGU 2007



Pict'Earth: A new Method of Virtual Globe Data Acquisition

  • Date: Wed, 12th Dec
  • Time: 1:40pm
  • Location: Poster Hall


Jeffrey Johnson (presenter)
Pict'Earth Imaging Systems USA, 319 S. Ditmar #1, Oceanside, CA 92054, United States

Stewart Long
Pict'Earth Imaging Systems USA, 319 S. Ditmar #1, Oceanside, CA 92054, United States

David Riallant
Pict'Earth Imaging Systems Europe, 4 mas courbier route de noves, St Remy de Provence, 13 13210, France

Valery Hronusov
Dept. of the Egineering Geology, Perm State University, Perm, Genkelya 4, Perm State University, Perm 614990, Russian Federation


Georeferenced aerial imagery facilitates and enhances Earth science investigations. The realized value of imagery as a tool is measured from the spatial, temporal and radiometric resolution of the imagery. Currently, there is an need for a system which facilitates the rapid acquisition and distribution of high-resolution aerial earth images of localized areas. The Pict'Earth group has developed an apparatus and software algorithms which facilitate such tasks. Hardware includes a small radio-controlled model airplane (RC UAV); Light smartphones with high resolution cameras (Nokia NSeries Devices); and a GPS connected to the smartphone via the bluetooth protocol, or GPS-equipped phone. Software includes python code which controls the functions of the smartphone and GPS to acquire data in-flight; Online Virtual Globe applications including Google Earth, AJAX/Web2.0 technologies and services; APIs and libraries for developers, all of which are based on open XML-based GIS data standards. This new process for acquisition and distribution of high-resolution aerial earth images includes the following stages: Perform Survey over area of interest (AOI) with the RC UAV (Mobile Liveprocessing). In real-time our software collects images from the smartphone camera and positional data (latitude, longitude, altitude and heading) from the GPS. The software then calculates the earth footprint (geoprint) of each image and creates KML files which incorporate the georeferenced images and tracks of UAV. Optionally, it is possible to send the data in-flight via SMS/MMS (text and multimedia messages), or cellular internet networks via FTP. In Post processing the images are filtered, transformed, and assembled into a orthorectified image mosaic. The final mosaic is then cut into tiles and uploaded as a user ready product to web servers in kml format for use in Virtual Globes and other GIS applications. The obtained images and resultant data have high spatial resolution, can be updated in near-real time (high temporal resolution), and provide current radiance values (which is important for seasonal work). The final mosaics can also be assembled into time-lapse sequences and presented temporally. The suggested solution is cost effective when compared to the alternative methods of acquiring similar imagery. The systems are compact, mobile, and do not require a substantial amount of auxiliary equipment. Ongoing development of the software makes it possible to adapt the technology to different platforms, smartphones, sensors, and types of data. The range of application of this technology potentially covers a large part of the spectrum of Earth sciences including the calibration and validation of high-resolution satellite-derived products. These systems are currently being used for monitoring of dynamic land and water surface processes, and can be used for reconnaissance when locating and establishing field measurement sites.

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