Drone photogrammetry for RF planning

Options for terrain data for RF planning are increasing rapidly with the advent of drones. Gone are the days of waiting for the next release of space based Government data like the 2000 space shuttle mission whose coarse yet global SRTM data powers many RF planning tools - including CloudRF. Recently LIDAR is a growing source of data which we're pleased to support but If you don't have access to public LIDAR for your region your other option is to pay a small fortune for a simple file which is just a list of numbers from a commercial company. Commercial high resolution models have always been very expensive but this development will change that.

Enter drone photogrammetry. It's the process of converting images into digital models and with software like Pix4D you can do it all yourself. The resolutions possible exceed LIDAR in many cases and the future of the data is bright as it will evolve in line with the evolving mega-pixel capability of a digital camera.

Case study: Mapping a remote area to sub-metre accuracy

A CloudRF customer in Alaska wanted to map out a 2km2 remote area of forest which had fire-breaks, man-made clearings and buildings. Their options for terrain data were space based synthetic radar data which is sixteen years old and only accurate to 30 metres. Not much help when a fire-break is less than 30 metres wide. Alternatively they could buy a LIDAR tile from a commercial provider for the price of a hobby drone...
Using a drone and Pix4D software they flew their own mission over the area collecting imagery and were then able to process the imagery to generate an ASCII grid tile - the same format as CloudRF's LIDAR input.
The tile generated had an original accuracy of approximately 10cm which was re-sampled to 1m to produce a smaller file and re-projected with GDAL to WGS84 projection.
The CloudRF engine supports ASCII grid tiles irrespective of how the data within was generated so Drone Photogrammetry is supported if you can get your data into this format.

Pricing and options

Pricing and options for custom photogrammetry tiles are the same as LIDAR. See the Terrain data page for more information. They must be in ASCII grid format with WGS84 projection.


To create your own high resolution tiles from imagery, we recommend the Pix4D software and support forum at https://support.pix4d.com.
Your tile needs to have the following properties:

  • File format: ASCII text file
  • Projection: WGS84
  • Resolution: >=1m