SERVICES

Our core business: Digital aerial acquisition and mapping

The core business of the company is mapping. We are experts in digital photogrammetry and use robust software such as Inpho photogrammetric suite. From large scale vector mapping to high resolution orthophotos and accurate DTMs, we provide our clients with top quality geospatial data.

AEROmetrex has two state-of-the-art large format digital mapping cameras Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam-D and UltraCam-X with IMU, GNSS and gyro-stabilised mount on board high performance twin engine turbo prop and twin engine piston aircraft that can be mobilised anywhere in the world.

The company has a full digital workflow environment with a strict quality control and risk management system. As our industry is evolving rapidly, we adapt and constantly innovate in terms of data capture processing, methodology and interoperability.

Digital Aerial Acquisition

Full Digital Aerial Acquisition Services

AEROmetrex has 2 state-of-the-art large format digital mapping cameras Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam-D and UltraCam-X with IMU, GNSS and gyro-stabilised mount on board high performance turboprop or jet aircraft that can be mobilised anywhere in Australia.We also operate customised medium formatdigital camera systems for our UAV operations and aero3Dpro services.

The company has a full digital workflow environment with a strict quality control and risk management system. As our industry is evolving rapidly, we adapt and constantly innovate in terms of data capture processing, methodology and interoperability.

Flight Planning

Once the survey area has been determined, the photo flight is prepared using a flight planning software that automatically generates the flight lines according to the required resolution and overlap. If available, the digital terrain model of the area is also inserted in order to maintain the resolution and avoid gaps in the overlap.

The flight planning is important for selecting the appropriate location of ground control points and their quantity depending on the methodology and the accuracy required by the project.Quantity of photographs, digital storage space and time to complete the project is computed.The photo flight parameters are carefully verified before handing the data to the flight crew. These parameters can be sent electronically via internet.

The number of GPS base stations are estimated depending on the methodology and the required accuracy of the project: we can use classic or more advanced techniques such as Precise Point Positioning or Omnistar real-time GPS differential corrections.

These latest techniques allow the use of near zero ground control points in areas where access is impossible.

 

 

 

Aircrafts

The company has 2 state-of-the-art large format digital mapping cameras Microsoft Vexcel UCD and UCX with IMU, GNSS and gyro-stabilised mount on board high performance turboprop or jet aircraft that can be mobilised anywhere in the world.

We also operate small and medium format digital camera systems for specific mapping projects.

UAV AreoHawk RQ-84Z

  • Cruise speed:55-60 km/h
  • Total weight:4.2 kg (Payload 1.2 kg)
  • Wingspan: 2.8 m
  • Recovery system:Parachute
  • Photo flight endurance:90 min

 

Cessna Titan 404

  • Maximum speed: 430 km/h (238kt)
  • Economical cruising speed: 300 km/h (160kt)
  • Range with maximum fuel and reserves: 2,200 km (1,187nm)
  • Service ceiling: 5,490 m (18,000 ft)
  • Photo flight endurance: approx. 6 hours

 

Cessna 421B Golden Eagle

  • Maximum speed: 474 km/h (256kt)
  • Economical cruising speed: 444 km/h (240kt)
  • Range with maximum fuel and reserves: 2,755 km (1,712nm)
  • Service ceiling: 9,205 m (30,200 ft)
  • Photo flight endurance: approx. 6 hours

 

PAC 750 XL

  • Maximum speed: 315 km/h
  • Economical cruising speed: 313 km/h
  • Range with maximum fuel and reserves: 2,183 km (1,179nm)
  • Service ceiling: 6,098 m (20,000 ft)
  • Photo flight endurance: approx. 8 hours

 

Cessna Conquest 441

  • Maximum speed: 528 km/h (285 kt)
  • Economic cruising speed: 465 km/h (251 kt)
  • Range with maximum payload and reserves: 1,370 km (740 nm)
  • Service ceiling: 9,450 m (31,000 ft)
  • Photo flight endurance: approx. 3 hours

 

 

Airborne sensors

AEROmetrex operates 2 state-of-the-art digital large format mapping cameras Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam X and UltraCam D. With more than 750,000 large-format images captured over several continents, our digital cameras have proven to be very reliable and convinced many of our customers of its exceptional geometric and radiometric quality. We have developed our own calibration procedures and photo quality assurance for optimum results.

Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam camera control

The photo flight parameters from the flight planning are loaded in the flight management system of the UltraCam digital camera.

There are 2 terminals: one is for the pilot and the second is for the camera operator.

The camera operator is managing the navigation by selecting the flight lines from his terminal.

It also ensures that the photography is exposed correctly thanks to the real-time viewing.

GPS and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

In order to trigger the camera at the planned position, our cameras are linked to the IGI’s CCNS - AEROcontrol flight management system. AEROcontrol is a GPS/IMU system for the precise determination of position and attitude of an airborne sensor.

The AEROcontrol system consists of a fibre-optic gyro based Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU-IId) and a computer with an integrated 12-channel L1/L2 GPS receiver. Once post-processed, the recorded data is used for setting up the stereo-models in a photogrammetric digital workstation.

 

 

Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam X

This 21st century state-of-the-art digital large format frame camera with 14,430 pixels across track and 9,420 pixels along track (216 Megapixel). It has the best stereo base of all digital aerial cameras. It has some added features and benefits compared to the UCD model.

The new lens system delivers superior sharpness, a 1:3 pan-to-colour ratio for stunning colour and colour-infrared (CIR) image quality and negligible image vignetting.

It has the “best in class” data generation at 3 Gigabit per second. The removable data storage units allow for unlimited storage capacity for longer missions and minimal ground time. The distributed parallel sensing is achieved with a set of 8 optical cones to assemble a large format digital image in natural colour with false colour infrared.

There are 13 CCDs arrays (9 pan, 4 colour) with 7.2 μm pixel size. Each CCD array feeds signals into its own compact and proprietary electronics set-up and data path. The “Master Cone” provides a single image coordinate system and the control of geometric accuracy. The camera is installed on a gyro-stabilised mount SOMAG GSM 3000 that provides near vertical photography. The gyro mount compensates for the roll, pitch, and yaw movements of the aircraft.

 

 

 

Microsoft UltraCam X computing and storage unit

There are 14 CPUs for computation of interim data products for in-the-air image quality assessment.

The system processes raw images onboard and in real-time to compute quick views and histograms.

The Data Units (DX) are exchangeable data units and can store 4,700 images. It also allows as many low-cost data units to be brought on board if needed.

Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam D

The first generation Vexcel digital camera has 11,500 pixels across track and 7,500 pixels along track with a physical pixel size of 9 µm. Colour capture in 4 channels multi-spectral with RGB and NIR.

This camera (Serial 47) has shown in many projects its incredible geometric performance. The camera is installed on its Somag GSM 3000 gyro-stabilised mount and controlled via IGI AEROcontrol and CNSS navigation system.

 

 

Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam D storage unit

The Data Storage and Processing Unit (SCU) of the UCD camera has an in-flight storage capacity up to 1 terabyte allowing to collect about 1,850 uncompressed images.

The storage and computing configuration is in a parallel arrangement with multiple CPUs and disks.

The redundancy is possible with dual disks containing mirror images of the data.

UltraCam CCD sensor head and lenses

The UltraCam sensor head consists of 8 independent camera cones, 4 of them contributing to the large format panchromatic image. These 4 cones are equipped with 9 CCD sensors in their 4 focal planes.

The focal plane of the so called “Master Cone” carries 4 CCDs. In the UltraCam X, the 7.2 µm CCD sensors caused a redesign of the optical system which is able to resolve 70 lp/mm of the CCD pixel grid.

The LINOS/Rodenstock high performance optical lenses with a focal length of 100 mm for the panchromatic cones and 33 mm for the multi-spectral cones supports a pan sharpening ratio of 1:3.

 

 

 

For more about Microsoft UltraCam digital aerial mapping systems, please visit UltraCam's website.

Digital Aerial Photography

Digital aerial photography capture

Using the best available equipment of its class, we also have developed our own techniques to capture clear and sharp imagery. It all starts with meteorology, monitoring the appropriate period of the year as well as choosing the best moment of the day.

Sun angle, tides, cloud and smoke cover risks are also factors that are taken into account. Maximising the exceptional performance of the camera with the subject to be photographed needs years of experience.

A strict quality control from on-board real-time viewing of the recorded imagery during the flight to the post-processing is paramount to obtain the best possible imagery for photogrammetric use. Digital photography has been proven to be more cost-effective than traditional film without compromising on geometric quality. In fact, the new digital airborne sensors outperform film in terms of accuracy and radiometry.

 

 

High resolution digital photography

Nowadays, the market is demanding for higher resolution, better quality and a faster delivery of the imagery.

Our company adapts constantly to the market pressure. 15 cm ground pixel size as standard resolution for urban coverage will be soon obsolete.

With the UltraCam cameras we can go down to 2.5 cm ground pixel size for specific projects.

Shallow water penetration

One of the unique advantages of the NIR band with the UltraCam camera is the capability to penetrate shallow water.

This means that we are able to map the seabed or riverbed up to 10 meters of depth depending on the sediment layer.

 

The unique radiometry advantage

The UltraCam has astonishing radiometric properties allowing seeing details in dark areas as well as in highlights. Not much less than 13 bit of radiometric information can be extracted via the 14 bit analog/digital converter.

This means better identification and interpretation and increased performance in photogrammetric data capture.

Image auto-correlation process is improved, multi-ray matching is optimised for better stereo accuracy.

 

Near Infrared digital aerial photography

One of the killer applications of the UltraCam camera system is its ability to record simultaneously the RGB and NIR bands.This opens the door to a range of possibilities such as environmental studies, agriculture analysis and even vegetation filtering in DTM creation.

Healthy vegetation is a strong reflector of near infrared radiation. Environmental stresses which affect vegetation modify the physiology resulting in a change in Near-Infrared reflectance which can be quantitatively measured.

The cause of the spatial variation in reflectance over a vegetated area can be natural or man-made. These causes include pollution, disease, weeds as well as disaster such as drought, flood or bushfires.

 

Post-Processing

GPS Base Station

Differential corrections of recorded airborne GPS signals are possible if a base station has been established in the vicinity of the project area. Usually we set up an ITRF point which provides sub-centimetre accuracy on the base station.

Typical post-processing results of the camera projection centre position in space are of the decimetre order, well sufficient for assisted aerial triangulation

Differential GPS and IMU post-processing

Before the aerial triangulation process can take place, the trajectory is computed via Novatel’s GrafNav software. A quick assessment of the quality of the measurements can be done.

This step is essential in the determination of the position of the camera projection centre for each captured image.

 

Download of flight data and image processing

The airborne GPS and IMU data is downloaded and forwarded for post-processing. The raw imagery is downloaded from the storage unit and can be converted to the appropriate level.

The UltraCam system operates with the following data levels:

  • Level-00: Raw data, each triggered images consists of 13 sub-images, stored twice.
  • Level-0: Verified data, same as level-00, but no duplicate copy exists.
  • Level-1: Internal intermediate format, maintained as 13 sub-images, but radiometrically corrected using calibration files.
  • Level-2: Deliverable format, per image only one single frame, the sub-images are stitched and geometrically corrected using the calibration files. The panchromatic data are in one file, separate from the four colour files. Colour remains at its input resolution, but is geometrically matched to the panchromatic image. Data are at 16 bits per channel (5 channels).
  • Level-3: Pan-sharpened colour images in R-G-B, in CIR or in R-G-B-NIR. Format in 8 or 16 bits, at the discretion of the user.

 

 

Digital Mapping

Aerial Triangulation

For most of our photogrammetric applications we use Inpho’s software suite. Aerotriangulatoin is performed with Inpho’s MATCH-AT.

This software is a worldwide leading product for automated digital aerial triangulation incorporating fully automated tie point selection, precise multi-ray point matching along with integrated robust bundle adjustment.

Further, there is rigorous support for GPS and IMU data, including calibration of bore-sight misalignment, as well as shift and drift corrections.

Thanks to its high throughput, unsurpassed accuracy as well as GPS/IMU support, MATCH-AT provides an efficient and highly economic geo-referencing procedure with minimum amount of ground control. Instead of using direct geo-referencing alone, it makes sense to apply MATCH-AT in all photogrammetric projects for processing the image observations together with auxiliary GPS/IMU data. This practise proven method guarantees best achievable and most reliable geo-referencing for all subsequent processing phases; much better quality is available almost without extra costs

 

Photogrammetry

All our photogrammetric data capture is done on Summit Evolution softcopy workstations. The Summit Evolution from DAT/EM Systems International is a user-friendly digital photogrammetric stereo workstation and allows a 3D feature collection directly into ArcGIS, AutoCAD or MicroStation.

Since our production workflow is fully digital, the stereo-models captured with our Microsoft Vexcel UltraCam cameras are set-up automatically and rapidly in the workstation.

Our operators are trained to follow photogrammetric capture procedures with quality control in place. While a lot of routine work has been taken over by computer power, skilled human intervention is still required to ensure that accuracy is met in accordance with the client’s project specifications.

 

Feature Capture

Vector mapping is done with great attention to detail and a rigorous implementation of data capture procedures for obtaining the highest positional accuracy of features measured in the stereo-model.

Large scale mapping is essential for engineering projects. It is also a key component in GIS where it is a source containing rich geospatial information necessary for the management of relational databases.

Most common features captured are buildings, roads, utilities, vegetation and rivers. We have a long experience in this field, providing numerous organisations with various types of quality vector digital maps.

 

3D Modelling

Using our 3D modelling service aero3Dpro, we can create photorealistic and geographically accurate 3D models of natural and urban environments. Using advanced 3D photogrammetry techniques, single buildings and up to an entire city can be modelled.

To learn more about this service, check out www.aero3Dpro.com.au

 

 

Remote-Sensing and Modelling

NDVI and Vegetation Indexes

AEROmetrex can acquire multispectral imagery using our large-format digital aerial cameras for land classification.

Normalized difference vegetation index extracted from multispectral imagery is a very useful tool in assessing field variations with the health and vigour in crops and vegetation.

The producer can then optimize the use of fertilizer and watering application and improve productivity by targeting specific areas of their crops or vineyards.

Change Detection

Detection of changes in the land use occurring over time becomes very valuable information in rapidly changing environments. High resolution digital aerial imagery can be especially useful for assets managements to identify new, modified or no longer existing objects such as swimming pools, sheds, roads. Multi-temporal Multispectral High resolution digital aerial is used to monitor environmental changes occurring over a specific period of time.

We provide custom change detection services based on our high-resolution digital aerial imagery to fit your project requirements.

Cut and Fill Volume Analysis

Accurate cut and fill volume information can be extracted using the difference between two digital elevation models (DEM). This process is commonly used to estimate stockpiles volumes. The financial cost of making wrong estimates can be substantial.

Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) generated by photogrammetric methods are highly reliable, can be demonstrated to conform to accuracy specifications, and are now being routinely produced by automated stereo-matching algorithms, with operator-assisted intervention in difficult areas. We provide cut and fill volume analysis to meet your project requirements.

Line of Sight

Line of sight analysis can be performed to determine visible regions about and from a specific target.

Based on our digital surface models derived from photogrammetric process, we can perform line of sight analysis for telecommunication coverage, aviation mission planning and simulations.