DroneDeploy’s New Photogrammetry Software Tracks ‘Billions’ of Points in Drone Imagery


DroneDeploy has announced the release of Map Engine, what the cloud software company calls “the industry’s first machine learning-driven photogrammetry software.”

The release comes after a successful beta period, during which it processed 30,000 maps per month for more than 4,000 clients across 180 countries, according to DroneDeploy.

DroneDeploy’s Map Engine generates high-resolution maps and 3D models from drone imagery collected in, for example, the construction, energy, agriculture and surveying sectors. The new processing engine leverages cloud infrastructure and machine learning technology to deliver high-quality results and help customers reduce on-premises hardware and maintenance costs, the company says.

“Map Engine tracks billions of points in aerial images to simultaneously reconstruct 3D scenes and the trajectory of the drone,” explains Nicholas Pilkington, DroneDeploy’s chief technology officer.

The company claims the new release includes four major improvements over earlier beta versions:

1. Improved Speed: Map Engine now generates maps and models 30%-50% faster. Scenes made up of hundreds of images can be processed in under an hour.

2. Improved Accuracy: Industry-specific accuracy improvements for agriculture, construction and solar generate higher-quality results.

3. Large-Map Support: Maps of up to 10,000 images (100 GB) can now be quickly and accurately processed (in beta).

4. Mobile Uploads: Customers can now wirelessly transfer images to the cloud with mobile uploads (in beta) for immediate processing.

The Map Engine codebase integration began two years ago with DroneDeploy’s acquisition of photogrammetry solution 3DN, which had already been in development for five years. Since launching in beta last January, Map Engine has processed 100 million gigapixels of drone imagery, according to DroneDeploy.

The next release of Map Engine is scheduled to be unveiled at DroneDeploy’s annual user conference on Oct. 11 in San Francisco. At that time, the company will announce significant updates that integrate a broad set of artificial intelligence tools into Map Engine.

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