Photogrammetry is a crucial process in creating aerial maps and models. Using strong machine learning algorithms and state of the art technology, you can create some of the best high-resolution aerial image formats. However, many industry-leading photogrammetry software come at a steep price. Therefore, making use of open-source and free software such as WebODM is a great option. In this article, let’s break down the basics of navigating your WebODM dashboard and how to use it.
What is WebODM?
WebODM is an open-source, free, extendable application, and API for drone image processing. It helps generate high-resolution Georeferenced Maps, Textured 3D Models, Elevation Models (DSM & DTM), and Point clouds.
Since WebODM is extendable, developers can use this feature to integrate it with other existing software such as AutoCAD or QGIS. Apart from creating image outputs, you can also analyze plant health, create GCPs (Ground Control Points), contours, and make accurate land measurements.
You can install WebODM as an offline desktop application, provided you have the required system configuration to do so. However, there’s also an option to install and run WebODM on a cloud server like AWS. The latter can save hardware costs and is generally cheaper.
How to use WebODM?
Once you have WebODM installed and running, understanding its interface and primary functions will not take long.
This is the standard WebODM dashboard. Here, you can add a new project, monitor the status of multiple projects, import the aerial images that you’ve captured, and run tasks.
Adding a Project
To begin image processing you will first need to create a project. Thus, begin by clicking on the ‘Add Project’ button to create a new project.
In the pop-up window, enter your project name and a description (optional). Then click on ‘Create Project’.
The created project now appears on the dashboard. To upload the aerial images for processing click on the Select Images and GCP. From the browse window, select your images and upload them. There should be a minimum of 5 images. Another important factor is image overlapping. As mentioned above, the images must at least overlap by 65%.
Once you finish uploading the images, the task will appear under your project and you can begin the image processing. Depending upon the resolution and number of images, an estimated time will be displayed in the status bar beside your task.
By default, WebODM creates several image outputs like Orthomosaics, Digital Surface Model (DSM), Plant Health, and Point Cloud. You can access the outputs as a 2D view or a 3D Mesh. In the following articles, we will look at how to access different outputs and create measurements in 2D and 3D views.