SenseFly map the Mat­ter­horn


Ateam of senseFly en­gi­neers marked a new mile­stone in sur­vey­ing tech­niques’ his­tory by demon­strat­ing that mini-drone map­ping tech­nol­ogy is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing a 20-cm res­o­lu­tion 3D model of the epic Mat­ter­horn, known as “the most beau­ti­ful moun­tain” world­wide.

For the first time a team of en­gi­neers from senseFly was able to cre­ate a dig­i­tal model of the Mat­ter­horn with a 20-cm res­o­lu­tion in three dimensions.

The data was aquired dur­ing a to­tal of 11 flights by sev­eral eBee mini-drones fly­ing con­cur­rently and col­lect­ing over 2,200 im­ages within just a few hours. In co­op­er­a­tion with our part­ner Pix4D and through eBee’s image pro­cess­ing soft­ware Post­flight Terra 3D-EB a high­def­i­ni­tion 3D point-cloud was cre­ated made of 300 mil­lion points and cov­er­ing an area of over 2,800 hectares with an av­er­age res­o­lu­tion of 20 cm. 3D mis­sion plan­ning based on el­e­va­tion data and multi-drone op­er­a­tion, two fea­tures re­cently re­leased in senseFly’s ground con­trol soft­ware eMo­tion 2, were in­stru­men­tal in the suc­cess of this mis­sion and the un­prece­dented qual­ity of the dataset.

The pro­ject was re­alised in co­op­er­a­tion with Drone Ad­ven­tures (plan­ning and lo­gis­tics), Pix4D (data post-pro­cess­ing) and Map­box (on­line vi­su­al­i­sa­tion).

The small weight and trans­porta­bil­ity of these ul­tra­light drones en­abled the team to carry and launch them from three dif­fer­ent re­mote lo­ca­tion and al­ti­tudes, thus full­fill Swiss re­quire­ments of in-line-of-sight op­er­a­tions.

One drone was car­ried by Team 1 in a back­pack up to the sum­mit of the Mat­ter­horn. The chal­lenge was to test take-off be­hav­iour at high al­ti­tude and in moun­tain typ­i­cal tur­bu­lances. The ebee was launched at the sum­mit of the Mat­ter­horn (4,478 me­tres), climb­ing up to an max­i­mum al­ti­tude of 4,707 me­tres, fly­ing over the top of this epic moun­tain and map­ping the west face.

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