This project explored the feasibility of using video images acquired with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to obtain three-dimensional (3D) point clouds using structure from motion (SfM) software. Missions were flown using an Aeryon Scout: a lightweight, vertical take-off and landing quadrotor micro UAV with a miniature video camera. The initial mission captured urban scene images that were used to assess system performance while the main mission focused on rock walls where 3D images were used to successfully measure fracture orientations. Point clouds generated from this combination of technologies were sparse, but in the future, improvements in the resolution of original video images would cascade through the processing and improve the overall results. Such a system could have a multitude of applications in the mining industry, contributing to both safety and financial considerations.

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Journal Geomatica
McLeod, T. (Tara), Samson, C, Labrie, M. (Martin), Shehata, K. (Kareem), Mah, J. (Jason), Lai, P. (Po), … Elder, J.H. (James H.). (2013). Using video acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to measure fracture orientation in an open-PIT mine. Geomatica, 67(3), 173–180. doi:10.5623/cig2013-036