Performance Analysis of a Drone Development Kit-derived Digital Elevation Model

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Doğruluk M., Yalçın İ.

International Journal of Environment and Geoinformatics, vol.10, no.4, pp.77-89, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Surface modeling constitutes is a crucial aspect in numerous engineering inquiries and earth observation endeavors. In contemporary times, the acquisition of geospatial data essential for the digital representation of local regions is increasingly facilitated through drone-based methodologies, supplanting conventional terrestrial data gathering techniques. The market presently hosts a plethora of cost-effective, "ready-to-fly" unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), offering users the capability to generate photogrammetric outputs, including high geometric precision Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). Moreover, modularly structured drone development kits, designed for multifarious applications, are readily accessible for purchase. These drone kits offer an economically advantageous platform that users can customize to suit their specific needs. Nevertheless, the geometric precision of DEMs created using these kits hinges upon the capabilities of the imaging and navigation systems, in addition to the stabilization of the platform during autonomous flight. In this study, using a drone development kit and a commercial drone, simultaneous image acquisition was performed for the same study area and two different DEMs were produced. The efficacy of the DEM generated using the drone development kit was assessed through a comparative analysis with the DEM obtained from a commercial drone. In addition, geometric accuracy assessment was conducted for both DEMs using ground control points. The findings reveal the usability of drone development kits in precision DEM production, as well as their limitations.