Aerotas and Carlson Software


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I own a land surveying company in California and am interested in using drones for topographic mapping (ending with AutoCad data and linework).  I know that the processing of the photographic information is a major part of the job, and I am looking at ‘Precision 3d Topo’ by Carlson Software and the processing services of Aerotas.  I like these two since they target surveying applications specifically.  Does anyone have experience with either of them?  Any comments about them?

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I was not aware that Aerotas did processing? What do they charge? how many photos? What kind of reports and deliverables? Can you do Nadir and Oblique in the same run? To me, that last is critical.

Do yourself a favor and get a trial of P3dT and try it out. We are total Carlson, but even they told me probably not for what I wanted. I do have Carlson Point Cloud on top of Survey. I also do scanning and so use that for registering different clouds, but mainly so I can draft on the cloud and send it straight into my drawing. In the end, I went with Pix4D desktop. I will just go monthly ($350) as I need it, and work it into the cost of a job. You get all the tools you need to process and can draw nodes and polylines right on a tiff quality mesh. It is the only one that I found that works that way. If you have ever tried to pick around on all but the most dense point cloud, you know how troubling that can be.

Also, download a copy of CloudCompare (freeware). It is an indispensable tool.

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 GA, Thanks for the information.  Regarding Aerotas: They charge by the job and based on their reports regarding jobs that they have done for other surveyors, they seem reasonable.  I guess the number of photos will vary by job.  They have a upload system that they use for the photos.  I think that they have different deliverables, including ortho-images and digital surface models.  Most important for me is that they claim to be able to deliver AutoCad drawings with contours and various linework for survey maps.  Also, they brag about having experts involved in the processing, and not just having a 100 percent automated process.  Regarding your question about Nadir and Oblique, I don’t know.  Here is the link to Aerotas:  https://www.aerotas.com/   Trey Swann over there has been very helpful.

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  • 5 months later...

AgiSoft (PhotoScan), Pix4D, and Skyline (TerraExplorer) are packages that I am basically familiar with - from testing and comparing.  All three are good.  However, be aware of the Structure-from-Motion systematic doming/dishing (elevation) error that can occur when using traditional (linear/parallel) flight lines.  Add some overview oblique photos to help out the process.  I have found that even some of the service bureaus who process the images don't  know about this type of elevation error - which occurs frequently.  Be careful.  I'm trying to switch to gently curved, convergent, non-traditional (non-linear/non-parallel) flight lines with oblique images to try and mitigate the SfM doming error.

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