An easy-to-use, automated quality assurance tool to ensure fit-for-purpose imagery and photogrammetric products captured by UAV or Aircraft.
The acquisition of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery and photogrammetric products has proliferated in recent years, with many novice suppliers entering the market. There are a growing number of organisations across multiple sectors (government, mining, environmental management, utilities) actively using UAVs as a cost effective, rapid option, to acquire this data. For these organisations there is a high risk that the supplied data will not be fit-for-purpose due to the proliferation of suppliers, and lack of data capture and processing transparency available to end users to mitigate the risks of poor capture. There is currently no software available for end users to easily manage their UAV capture workflow. This project addresses the need for end users to easily define the required specifications and check the quality of data captured from UAV platforms or Aircraft.
The project partners are the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), ThinkSpatial, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) and Australian UAV.
The aim of the project was to develop a simple online workflow, for both technical and non-technical users, to manage UAV or Aircraft capture projects to ensure the supplied data is fit-for-purpose.
The research components of the project were focused on two main aspects:
- User needs analysis
- Understand the needs of UAV imagery end users across different sectors.
- Interpret these needs to develop a standard workflow for end users, including a set of standard technical acquisition specifications which can be used to procure UAV services.
- Software development
- Identify and design key metrics (quality measures) and create the supporting automated algorithms and processes to assess the quality of UAV or Aircraft imagery, point cloud and derived products.
- Develop a cloud-based automated workflow for end users to acquire, check and report on the quality of their UAV or Aircraft imagery products.
For the development aspect of the project, the aim was to leverage previously developed modules from QA4LiDAR and QA4MOBiLE to build a third tool in the “QA4” suite. The software modules developed reflected the design of previous QA4 software.
The outputs of this project streamlined the acquisition and QA process for end users of UAV or Aircraft data to ensure products are fit-for-purpose and meet a minimum quality standard. It raised the quality of UAV or Aircraft imagery data so that “users get what they pay for.” This ensures suppliers adopt a best practice process, and with greater user acceptance, raises the overall quality of data delivered by UAVs or Aircraft. Given the critical role of data collected by UAVs or Aircraft for many organisations and applications, the potential impact of a standard workflow is widespread. Not only do end users of the product benefit from confidence in using data that is fit-for-purpose, suppliers also benefit from operational efficiencies, product quality differentiation, and certainty related to product development and supply.
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