As seen in Down to Earth- The Mighty A. Click the image above to watch On-Demand
Thompson Engineering surveys, maps, and creates a digital twin of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
In Down to Earth: The Mighty A, Thompson Engineering utilizes drone Photogrammetry and LiDAR technology to survey, map, and create a digital twin of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park to help with preservation and maintenance efforts. This digital twin is now available to view in an interactive LiDAR point cloud. The drone LiDAR data was collected using the mdLiDAR1000HR flying at a speed of 3.5 meters per second and an altitude of 60 meters. Click the image below to go to the point cloud viewer. The photogrammetric data was collected using the mdMapper1000DG flying at a speed of 5 meters per second and an altitude of 100 meters.
“Down to Earth” is the surveying reality series from Microdrones that shows how real surveyors collect data and turn it into real deliverables, despite challenging conditions, rugged terrain, and possible dangers.
In this latest series, the crew journeys into Mobile, Alabama, where the USS Alabama Battleship is the anchor attraction at the Memorial Park which has welcomed generations of family members, veterans, and tourists. However, large structures, an active tourist site, and other challenges face the team at Thompson Engineering as they set out to survey the Mighty A.
In episode 1, the team from Thompson Engineering meet up with Ross Kenney, the UAS Sales and Support Lead from Navigation Electronics, Inc. (NEI), a distributor of Microdrones integrated systems, who’s excited to demonstrate the capabilities of the all new mdLiDAR1000HR to capture the drone LiDAR data.
Episode 2 introduces Cody Floyd, Surveyor PIC at Thompson, who pilots the mdMapper1000DG to perform the photogrammetry mission. This will collect the data to create an orthophoto of the entire site and provide colorization for the LiDAR point cloud.
The third episode occurs at the Mobile office of Thompson Engineering where the team works through the process and visualize portion of the workflow. Jason Gibson, PLS for Thompson Engineering reviews the trajectory processing while working towards a final orthomosaic and then Robert Chrismon PLS, the marketing manager at Microdrones, displays the digital twin of the USS Alabama in a LiDAR point cloud created in mdInfinity
The Drone LiDAR Flight Plan
Ross Kenney created the flight plan and piloted the mdLiDAR1000HR for the Drone LiDAR portion of the project. Using mdCockpit he planned 4 flights to cover the USS Alabama battleship, the park, and the surrounding memorials. Each flight was conducted at an altitude of 60 meters, at a speed of 3.5 meters per second with 70% varying overlap, depending on the portion of the mission. The duration of each flight was approximately 25 minutes.
The Orthophoto Flight Plan
Cody Floyd piloted the mdLiDARMapper1000DG and created the flight plan to capture the photogrammetric data. In mdCockpit he planned 3 flights to cover all the assets and grounds of the park. An altitude of 100 meters was selected for all 3 flights at a speed of 5 meters per second.n Engineering reviews the trajectory processing while working towards a final orthomosaic and then Robert Chrismon displays the digital twin of the USS Alabama in a LiDAR point cloud created in mdInfinity.
Process and Visualize
Jason Gibson, from Thompson Engineering, processed the data from the mdMapper1000DG. First, he entered the field data into POSPac to translate the data and orient the pictures into the correct georeferenced positions. Then, the data files were imported into Pix4D to create the orthomosaic of the park. This ortho was also used to colorize the Lidar point cloud.
To create the point cloud for this data set, Ross from NEI, processed the LiDAR data from the Mighty A with mdInfinity Trajectory Processing and mdInfinity Georeferencing modules. Then Robert further processed the data in mdInfinity which allowed for precision enhancement, removing outliers, and ground classification.
Using Global Mapper with the LiDAR module, he was also able to use the orthophoto to colorize the point cloud. Please note that the mission did not plan to capture the sides and portions of the hull of the USS Alabama, which accounts for the lack of point coverage. However, other than some dark, non-reflective areas on the deck of the ship, the mdLiDAR1000HR was able to very effectively scan the entire battleship, USS Drum submarine, planes, aircraft pavilion and other areas of interest throughout the park.
Microdrones does have the right tools for side scanning if needed. Both the mdLiDAR3000 and the mdLiDAR3000LR have the Vertical Feature Configurator, which can perform side scanning. Using these systems, you are no longer limited to flying above your area of interest and can open the scanners field of view to fully utilize the area between the skids for data collection.
To learn how you can use Drone LiDAR and Photogrammetry to create digital twins, CLICK HERE to speak with one of our representatives.