Low aerial imagery – an assessment of georeferencing errors and the potential for use in environmental inventory

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Unmanned aerial vehicles are increasingly being used in close range photogrammetry. Real-time observation of the Earth’s surface and the photogrammetric images obtained are used as material for surveying and environmental inventory. The following study was conducted on a small area (approximately 1 ha). In such cases, the classical method of topographic mapping is not accurate enough. The geodetic method of topographic surveying, on the other hand, is an overly precise measurement technique for the purpose of inventorying the natural environment components. The author of the following study has proposed using the unmanned aerial vehicle technology and tying in the obtained images to the control point network established with the aid of GNSS technology. Georeferencing the acquired images and using them to create a photogrammetric model of the studied area enabled the researcher to perform calculations, which yielded a total root mean square error below 9 cm. The performed comparison of the real lengths of the vectors connecting the control points and their lengths calculated on the basis of the photogrammetric model made it possible to fully confirm the RMSE calculated and prove the usefulness of the UAV technology in observing terrain components for the purpose of environmental inventory. Such environmental components include, among others, elements of road infrastructure, green areas, but also changes in the location of moving pedestrians and vehicles, as well as other changes in the natural environment that are not registered on classical base maps or topographic maps.

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