Pix4D led an effort with Aeryon Labs Inc. and PUC University of Rio de Janeiro to produce a 3D map of Christ the Redeemer, the Art Deco statue that stands high above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Corcovado mountain.
Pix4D develops image processing software that converts thousands of images into a single 2D or 3D image. I was first introduced to 3D image mapping by a local company that I met at the 2014 New England Museum Association Conference called Digital Ark. They are based on Providence, RI and one aspect of their business is to develop searchable 3D images of World War I monuments so that family members can find their relatives names on monuments. It also serves to preserve aging monuments. They are a great company whom I know personally and it is a powerful technology!
Aeryon is based in Ontario, Canada, and develops small UAS. Their UAS have been used to aid oil spill cleanup, emergency fuel delivery, drug busts, and local police departments.
Due to the unique location of the statue, an accurate 3D map had not been possible before now. The NEXT Lab at PUC University of Rio de Janeiro contacted Pix4D and coordinated with Aeryon to develop a plan that would allow them to obtain the pictures needed to input into the processing software.
Special permission was needed to fly a UAS at the heritage site and it took months of planning to put this together. From the press release:
“Data was collected for six consecutive mornings, on-site in late October. The main challenges for the data acquisition were the changing weather and wind conditions, restricted hours for data acquisition (flights could only take place before and after visiting hours) and inconsistent lighting conditions (shadows in early morning and late afternoon). A total of 3,584 images were acquired during 19 ten-minute flights.” 2,090 pictures were used to develop the 3D mapping image.
A video is below and the technical details can be found in a white paper put together by Pix4D.