UAV Systems for Photogrammetric Data Acquisition of Archaeological Sites

International Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era 01/2012; 1(1):7-14. DOI: 10.1260/2047-4970.1.0.7


The use of UAV systems for surveying archaeological sites is becoming progressively more common due to the considerable potential in terms of rapidity of survey, costs and accuracy. The paper presents the first results of the photogrammetric survey of the archaeological site of Himera in Sicily (Italy) using by UAV systems. A complete documentation of the site through the production of a DSM and an ortho image were carried out. The research further evaluated two different image processing workflows: a typical photogrammetric approach and a computer vision approach. An ortho image of the archaeological site with a very high resolution was obtained.

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Available from: Mauro Lo Brutto,
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    • "Several experiments were carried out for the latter aspect, comparing software arising from photogrammetry and from Computer Vision (CV) (Irschara et al., 2010; Neitzel & Klonowski 2011; Verhoeven et al., 2011; Haala & Rothermel, 2012; Lo Brutto et al., 2012; Rosnell & Honkavaara, 2012; Mancini et al., 2013; Sona et al., 2013), but few examples were reported concerning the quality of metric accuracy in relation to the use of CV techniques and, in particular, to the use of Structure from Motion (SfM) approach against different image network configurations (Nocerino et al., 2013). At present it is unclear if the use of more stable block configuration could improve the accuracy and the reliability of results for UAV images processed by CV approach. "
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    ABSTRACT: The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is becoming very common for photogrammetric survey especially due to numerous advantages compared to "traditional" aerial photogrammetry. The work carried out describes the first results obtained using different UAV systems for Cultural Heritage surveys. The study was performed acquiring two different datasets on an archaeological site and a "land art" site respectively. These datasets have different characteristics in relation to the extension of the surveyed areas, the used platform, the flight parameters. A Computer Vision approach has been used to produce 3D models and ortho-images with a very high level of detail. Some tests were also carried out to evaluate the metric accuracy of the images orientations and 3D models.
    06/2014; II-5. DOI:10.5194/isprsannals-II-5-227-2014
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    • "Il processamento delle immagini è fortemente influenzato dalla notevole irregolarità dei blocchi fotogrammetrici e dall'elevato numero di immagini necessarie per una completa copertura delle aree di studio. Diverse sperimentazioni sono state effettuate per quest'ultimo aspetto, mettendo a confronto software derivanti dalla Computer Vision e classici programmi fotogrammetrici (Neitzel 2011; Verhoeven et al., 2011; Lo Brutto et al., 2012). L'attività svolta nel presente lavoro ha lo scopo di effettuare una prima valutazione sulle potenzialità delle piattaforme UAV nel campo del rilievo dei beni culturali attraverso l'analisi di diversi dataset che si differenziano per la tipologia dei velivoli utilizzati, per le caratteristiche dei voli e per l'estensione delle zone riprese. "
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    ABSTRACT: The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is becoming very common for photogrammetric survey especially due to numerous advantages that present compared to classic aerial photogrammetry. The work carried out describes the first results obtained using different UAV systems for surveys in Cultural Heritage study. The work was carried out by acquiring some datasets relating to archaeological sites; these datasets have different characteristics in relation to the type of used vehicle, flight characteristics and extension of the surveyed areas. Some evaluations were also carried out about the metric precision of the images orientations and the level of detail obtained from 3D models and orthophotos.
    17° Conferenza Nazionale A.S.I.T.A., Riva del Garda (Italy); 11/2013
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    ABSTRACT: Microtopographic mapping has a long history in archaeology and has gained prominence recently owing to the proliferation of digital technologies. With such proliferation, it becomes necessary to compare and contrast different approaches based on a common set of criteria. This article compares the implementation and efficiency of two methods of mapping microtopography – ground-based Real-Time Kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System (RTK GNSS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photogrammetry (UAVP) survey – assessing the pros and cons of each, including those related to data quality. ‘Off-the-shelf’ solutions for methods were used to create the comparative dataset of microtopographic maps of six Middle and Late Bronze Age sites over the course of four seasons between 2007 and 2013 in the study area of the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey in western Turkey. Comparison of results demonstrate that the methods are similar with respect to ease of implementation, cost efficiency, and the (in)significance of data defects, while, unsurprisingly, UAVP survey can be greater than one order of magnitude more labor efficient than RTK GNSS survey and over two orders of magnitude more detailed as measured by data density. The accuracy of both methods is high, within typical error budgets for site-level mapping, and comparable to other recent digital mapping approaches. Accordingly, the results suggest that, given site suitability, UAVP is the more labor and cost-efficient method in the long run, with significant data quality benefits.
    01/2014; 1(1). DOI:10.2478/opar-2014-0003