The release of version 19 of the LiDAR Module saw the introduction of the groundbreaking Pixels-to-Points tool. This powerful addition to the Module allows anyone collecting aerial images with embedded geotags, such as drone or UAV operators, to create a high-density point cloud, similar to LiDAR data. Using the additional functionality of the Module, this point cloud can subsequently be processed to identify and reclassify ground, buildings, and other common classification types and to filter and edit the data as required.
Employing the principles of photogrammetry in which measurements are derived from photographs, the Pixels-to-Points tool, which is currently in beta release, analyzes the relationship between recognizable objects in adjacent images to determine the three-dimensional coordinates of the corresponding surface. As a by-product of the point cloud generation capability, the Pixels-to-Points tool also offers the option of creating an orthorectified image, which effectively stitches the images together and adjusts them to reflect the inherent three-dimensional coordinates.
The processing of creating the point cloud begins with a simple loading of the images into the Pixels-to-Points dialog box. For optimal results, at least 60% overlap and evenly distributed photos taken from varying angles are recommended. Individual images can be previewed and those not needed for the final point cloud can be removed. Various settings can then be applied to determine the output quality, analysis method, etc. Finally, ground control points may optionally be added to adjust the horizontal and vertical positioning of the point cloud. After processing is complete, the point cloud will be automatically added to the current workspace. It can be further processed or edited before exporting to any of the supported point cloud formats including LAS and LAZ.
The Pixels-to-Points process is memory intensive and may take several hours to process depending on the input data and quality setting. It is recommended that this process is performed on a dedicated computer with at least 16GB of RAM. The Pixels-to-Points tool also requires a 64-bit operating system.