Optimizing Application of UAV-Based SfM Photogrammetric 3D Mapping in Urban Areas


  • Fanar M. Abed Surveying Engineering Department, College of Engineering, University of Baghdad, Baghdad 10001, Iraq https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0919-5161
  • Abbas Mohammed Noori Department of Surveying Technologies Engineering, Technical Engineering College of Kirkuk, Northern Technical University, Kirkuk 36001, Iraq
  • Ali Salah J. Al-Saedi Surveying Department, Technical Institute of Amara, Southern Technical University, Misan 62001, Iraq




Remote sensing, Low-cost UAV, SfM-MVS Photogrammetry, Flight Planning, Structure from Motion, Multi-View Stereo, DEM, Quality Analysis


In recent years, the extensive need for high-quality acquisition platforms for various 3D mapping applications has rapidly increased, especially in sensor performance, portability, and low cost. Image-based UAV sensors have overwhelming merits over alternative solutions for their high timeline and resilience data acquisition systems and the high-resolution spatial data they can provide through extensive Computer Vision (CV) data processing approaches. However, applying this technique, including the appropriate selection of flight mission and image acquisition parameters, ground settings and targeting, and Structure from Motion- Multi-View Stereo (SfM-MVS) post-processing, must be optimized to the type of study site and feature characteristics. This research focuses on optimizing the application of UAV-SfM photogrammetry in an urban area on the east bank of the Tigris River in the north region of Iraq following optimized data capturing plan and SfM-MVS photogrammetric workflow. The research presented the practical application of optimized flight planning, data acquisition, image processing, accuracy analysis, and evaluation based on ground truth targets designed for the proposed optimal routine. This includes investigating the influence of the number and distribution of GCPs, flying heights, and processing parameters on the quality of the produced 3D data. The research showed the potential of low-budget and affordable UAV devices to deliver robust 3D products in a relatively short period by demonstrating the value of UAV-based image techniques when contributed to CV algorithms. The results showed powerful outcomes with validation errors reaching a centimeter-level from 100 m flying height when applying the optimized flight plan settings and the appropriate selection of the number and distribution of GCPs. The study established a streamlined UAV mapping procedure, demonstrated the viability of UAV use for 3D mapping applications, offered suggestions for enhancing future applications, and offered clues as to whether or not UAVs could serve as a viable alternative to conventional ground-based surveying techniques in accurate applications.


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Remote Sensing

How to Cite

Optimizing Application of UAV-Based SfM Photogrammetric 3D Mapping in Urban Areas. (2024). Iraqi Journal of Science, 65(5), 2958-2975. https://doi.org/10.24996/ijs.2024.65.5.46

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