How to create maps using drones? Here’s your go-to guide

51TE0B2K6wLLooking to use your drone for something other than spying on your neighbors taking cool pictures?

One of the key value propositions of a drone is photogrammetry. Drones have turned the process of gathering aerial images needed to create 3D maps into something inexpensive and for a wide range of applications — precision agriculture, natural disaster assessment, pollution monitoring and facility inspections. But it’s also daunting; how do you start this with something simple like a DJI Phantom?

Journalist Kike Calvo,  known specifically in the drone world for his National Geographic Blog series “Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” created “So You Want To Create Maps Using Drones,” ($32.39) a 72-page field guide and introductory primer to getting into aerial mapping and photogrammetry.

The book covers the basics of mapping, workflow, camera basics, processing information, a guide to the best drones for mapping (spoiler: even a Phantom you picked up off of Amazon will do!)

A sample page from "So you want to create maps using drones?"
A sample page from “So you want to create maps using drones?”

It’s not necessarily a complete how-to — for that, you’ll have to read your own system’s instruction manual — but rather a set of guildeines for those getting into photogrammetry.

It’s free of jargon and full of graphics, making it an ideal introduction into a world that seems intimidating. It’s already proven that aerial data has helped improve numerous business. This is the place to start.

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