Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Aerial Photography using a Pole

I was looking for a low cost way to create a Aerial Map of my backyard since the resolution on Google Maps was not high enough. I thought about using a balloon as outlined in this article --> HERE. Then I though maybe I could use one of my telescoping antenna supports to get a small camera in the air and use the same methods. I think I could have gotten Mapknitter to work for me but I stumbled on  Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE). I made the below image by putting my old iPhone 4 on the end of a 20 foot pole and turning it while capturing video. This software can do many other things and is worth a look. The best thing is that the application is free!

I am using a cheap wide angle lens on the iPhone (clip on type), this helps since it is not very high in the air and allows it to "see" more of the ground. I simply just twisted the pole while capturing video.

Once you bring the video into ICE, you can select the start and stop time of the video to do the processing on. The video segment I used was only about 8 seconds long. The application takes all the images in the video (e.g. >15 frames per second) and matches them up and stitches them together to form the larger composite image... magic!