DroneMapper: Using Global Mapper for UAV Data Processing

Once the GRID generation is completed you have a bare earth DTM which can be exported as a GeoTIFF or any other elevation format via Global Mapper.

DroneMapper is one of the success stories in the fledgling field of UAV data collection and processing. After several decades of experience working in the aerospace industry, CEO Pierre Stoermer was quick to recognize the potential for drones as a viable low-cost alternative to manned aircraft for this purpose. Serving customers in a wide variety of industries and business sectors, including agriculture and mining, Stoermer recognized the importance of efficient data management and processing, both for their internal processes and for the value added products that the company delivers to their customers. This lead Stoermer to Global Mapper for UAV data processing.

CHALLENGES

Like most small businesses, one of the main challenges faced by DroneMapper was finding tools that provide the right level of functionality but that fit within the company’s inevitable budgetary constraints. As with any business expenditure, investing in technology must bring some degree of assurance that there will be a return on this investment. Traditional GIS applications are notoriously complex and cumbersome, requiring an inordinate amount of time and a high degree of training and expertise to effectively operate, which significantly impacts the overall cost of any project.

Without a dedicated GIS technician at DroneMapper, the operation and maintenance of the GIS data processing workflow is the responsibility of the current staff. The selected software must therefore be easy to learn and easy to apply.

DroneMapper has an expanding client and customer base, whose needs and requirements necessitate an efficient data processing platform that can generate deliverables in a wide variety of formats and with varying specifications.

A 3D view of piles in Global Mapper that were measured to give the viewer perception of their relative sizes.

SOLUTIONS

Unlike most companies who, when faced with a technology decision, evaluate multiple software alternatives, DroneMapper found Global Mapper first and has stuck with it. The range of functionality in tandem with the unparalleled format support were enough to convince them that Global Mapper was an ideal solution for their needs.

A visualization of what has been filtered from an initial point cloud and digital elevation model.

This versatile, fully functional GIS application has been steadily gaining an eager and dedicated worldwide following among geospatial professionals. Recent development work has focused on the visualization and analysis of 3D data, especially LiDAR and other point cloud formats. According to Stoermer, “Global Mapper provides an outstanding set of tools for efficiently assisting us and our client base in an affordable manner”.

GLOBAL MAPPER FOR DATA PROCESSING

Global Mapper is at the core of most of DroneMapper’s data processing workflows. The company employs the software’s intuitive 2D and 3D visualization tools to provide initial quality control of ortho-rectified imagery and DEMs.

Further along the production line, Global Mapper is the go-to application for filtering point cloud data to create accurate, bare-earth Digital Terrain Models. These DTMs allow the company to generate customized contour lines that can be exported in shapefile or virtually any other vector format. Global Mapper’s powerful cut and fill analysis capability and volumetric calculation tools are used to precisely measure volumes, providing DroneMapper’s clients in a variety of industries with site-specific intelligence that is essential for efficient project management.

Employing Global Mapper’s powerful raster calculation functionality, DroneMapper is able to quickly and accurately analyze vegetation patterns by generating NDVI grids. This provides an invaluable service to clients in the agriculture and forestry industries.

BENEFITS

DroneMapper’s decision to settle on Global Mapper for its spatial data management allows the company to perform both internal data processing as well as customer services on one powerful and easy-to-use platform. The application’s SDK will also provide an opportunity for future custom development projects and will allow DroneMapper to adapt Global Mapper to more specifically meet their needs.

ABOUT GLOBAL MAPPER

Global Mapper is an affordable and easy-to-use GIS application that offers access to an unparalleled variety of spatial datasets and provides just the right level of functionality to satisfy both experienced GIS professionals and beginning users. Equally well suited as a standalone spatial data management tool and as an integral component of an enterprise-wide GIS, Global Mapper is a must-have for anyone who deals with maps or spatial data. The supplementary LiDAR Module provides a powerful set of tools for managing point cloud datasets, including automatic point classification and feature extraction.

ABOUT BLUE MARBLE GEOGRAPHICS

Trusted by thousands of GIS professionals around the world, Blue Marble Geographics is a leading developer of software products and services for geospatial data conversion and GIS.  Pioneering work in geomatics and spatial data conversion quickly established this Maine-based company as a key player in the GIS software field.  Today’s professionals turn to Blue Marble for Global Mapper, a low-cost, easy-to-use yet powerful GIS software tool. Blue Marble is known for coordinate conversion and file format expertise and is the developer of The Geographic Calculator, GeoCalc SDK, Global Mapper, LiDAR Module for Global Mapper, and the Global Mapper SDK.

Blue Marble Monthly – July 2017 GIS Newsletter

Satellite imagery

Product News, User Stories, Events, and a Chance to Win a Copy of Global Mapper Every Month

Those of us with a trailing “N” in our latitude are well into the crazy, hazy, lazy days of summer. For many companies, this is a season of idleness, downed tools, and general inertia. Not, however, at Blue Marble. In July’s newsletter we announce the roll-out of a major discount for older users of Global Mapper (sorry, bad choice of words, make that ‘users of older versions of Global Mapper’, of whatever age); we discuss the fallacy of free GIS; we remind you that, while GIS might not necessarily be free, training can be; and we once again challenge your geographic prowess in the monthly Where in the World Geo-Challenge, with a… wait for it… free copy of Global Mapper up for grabs.

 

Global Mapper Upgrade

Global Mapper Upgrade Discount

While there is no questioning the longevity of Global Mapper, the time eventually comes to put that old version out to pasture. We’d like to think that functional enhancements alone should be an adequate justification for staying up-to-date, however there is now a more compelling reason to take a closer look at the latest release. Throughout the month of July, anyone currently using version 15 or older can update to version 18.2 for just $399. Better yet, when September comes, we’ll give you version 19 at no additional cost with free support and free upgrades for a year. Click below for complete details and to request your copy.

 

The Myth of Free GIS

Blue Marble at Work

Who doesn’t like to get something for free? Free breakfast with your hotel room; free parking because the meter’s broken; free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop while sipping on a latte for an hour and a half (maybe that’s just me). What about free GIS? There are numerous open source collaborative applications readily available but does that really mean that GIS is free? A recent blog post by David McKittrick, Senior Applications Specialist at Blue Marble, unravels this apparent falsehood.

 

Self-training

Did You Know?

While we pride ourselves in developing software that is well designed, intuitive, and easy to learn, there sometimes comes a time when a helping hand is called for. Complimentary self-training resources are available for both Global Mapper and Geographic Calculator that will help you get up and running in no time. Both self-training packages contain a series of step-by-step instructions simulating real-world applications of the software along with the corresponding data files. Click below to register for the Global Mapper Self Training or to download the Geographic Calculator Getting Started Guide.

 

Global Mapper 18.2 Webinar

Webinars and Webcasts

Last month, we announced the What’s New in Global Mapper 18.2 webinar, which was conducted (and recorded) on June 22nd. Thanks to all of you who attended and for those who couldn’t make it, the video is now available on the Blue Marble YouTube Channel and on the Webinars page on the Blue Marble web site. While you are there, check out the eight-episode LiDAR Processing series in which we delve deep into Global Mapper’s LiDAR functionality.

 

Geo-challenge map

Where in the World?

Congratulations to Sylvain Neveu from InfoVista for being June’s winner in the Where in the World Geo-Challenge. By virtue of being randomly drawn from those who correctly identified all five geographic features, Sylvain wins a brand new copy of Global Mapper 18.2. Want to find out how well you fared? The answers to June’s challenge are here. This month, another five locations await your scrutiny with a copy of Global Mapper on the line.

 

See complete terms and conditions here.

 

Blue Marble Emporium

Blue Marble T-Shirt Store

Just in time for summer (for those of us with a trailing “N”… etc.), Blue Marble has solved your seasonal dilemma over what to wear to the beach. Check out the all new Blue Marble Emporium to find out what all of the cool people will be sporting while strolling along the boardwalk. Or better yet, add one to your shopping cart to ensure you’re part of the in-crowd.

 

BMUC presentation

Upcoming Events

Visit with Blue Marble at the following events:

Blue Marble User Conference | San Diego, CA | July 13

LiDAR Module Training | San Diego, CA | July 14

Introduction to Global Mapper/LiDAR Data Workshop | Presque Isle, ME | July 17

National Association of Counties Annual Conference | Columbus, OH | July 21 – 24

Geospatial PDF Working Group | Reston, VA | August 9

FOSS4G Annual International Gathering | Boston, MA | August 14 – 19