Drone Mapper Deploys New Features, 3D Model Processing, NDVI, 150 Images for DJI, and more.

Drone Mapper Deploys New Features, 3D Model Processing, NDVI, 150 Images for DJI, and more.
JP Stoermer, CTO - DroneMapper.com


You can now process up to 150 images from DJI sensors for free on your Windows 10 desktop. We've also added NDVI calculations and a load of other new features to the software. Drone Mapping made easy.

Download the latest version at the following link: https://dronemapper.com/software_downloads/
Changelog: https://dronemapper.freshdesk.com/solution/articles/2100019927-dronemapper-changelog
Example data here: https://dronemapper.com/sample_data

Pix4D example data (used for processing tests): https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/sections/200591139-Example-Datasets-Available-for-Download#gsc.tab=0

April 13th, 2017 - v0.7 b20170413-735
  • Added functionality to export .txt file(s) containing Omega, Phi, Kappa, X, Y, Z orientation (relative and world positions)
  • Overnight mode, run all processing steps automatically
  • Various UI tweaks and bug fixes
  • Increased free DJI processing limit to a maximum of 150 images

February 12th, 2017 - v0.7 b20170212-712

  • Add NDVI generation option, creates ENDVI and NDVI from NIR orthomosaic (REMOTE, EXPERT only)
  • Add image EXIF pre-processor, metadata generator
  • Additional, improved blending for orthomosaic (REMOTE, EXPERT only)
  • Improved UI feedback from backend API, display dm3d current task count/status
  • Improved logging
  • Processing speed improvements
  • Fixed bug with DEM scaling and certain AGL EXIF tagged data collections
  • Add DSM/hillshade generation option, creates gray scale DSM render from DEM (EXPERT only)
  • Add support for FLIR Vue Pro thermal cameras (JPGs)
  • Preserve ortho preview / geo-reference results, no need to re-run once completed

Thank you, The DroneMapper Team

Build an Enhanced and Traditional NDVI with DroneMapper and Global Mapper

Use this workflow to process aerial UAV imagery with DroneMapper and Global Mapper to create an Enhanced and Traditional NDVI. These steps assume you are working in a licensed version of REMOTE or REMOTE EXPERT. We recommend using Map Pilot or DJI GS Pro for initial data/imagery collection and flight planning.

Global Mapper: http://www.bluemarblegeo.com/index.php

MaxMax Camera: http://maxmax.com

DroneMapper: https://dronemapper.com/software_downloads


  • Open DroneMapper and navigate to a NIR imagery collection

  • Navigate to the "DroneMapper Processing" tab and click the settings icon, enable NDVI creation, start the processing

  • Once processing has completed for the DEM and Orthomosaic, the Enhanced and Traditional NDVI files will be created.

    For more information on NDVI formula's please visit the following: http://www.maxmax.com/endvi.htm

    The traditional NDVI formula uses the blue channel for the NIR because the Kodak had created a special kind of color infrared film where the blue crystals could respond to blue or infrared light while the red and green crystals only responded to visible light.  By using a visible blue light blocking filter, the user could capture an image where Blue = NIR, Green = Visible Green, and Red = Visible Red.  The red channel was used instead of the green since the green channel would also reflect light while the red channel absorbed light when taking pictures of plants.   The key is that you need a NIR plant reflective channel and a visible plant absorption channel.


    Digital cameras respond different than film.  The main thing to understand is that you want the camera to have near infrared and visible bands in separate channels.  Once you have the NIR isolated in a color channel, you can perform NDVI type measurements.   With our NDVI cameras, the blue and green channels see visible light while the red sees the NIR.  Thus, the NDVI formula can be re-written for these cameras as:

    The blue channel for our NDVI can be used equally as well for the visible absorption channel as the Kodak film used the red as the visible absorption channel.


    We have found that you can get even better results if you use the red and green as the reflective channels while using the blue as the absorption channel.  Remember that a normal healthy plant will reflect both visible green light and NIR light.  We can improve on the NDVI formula for these cameras by changing the formula:


    This ENDVI formula sums the NIR and Green channels together for the reflective channel.  The Blue channel is multiplied by two to compensate for the NIR and Green channels being summed together.

  • You can new view the ENDVI or NDVI in Global Mapper to perform zonal statistics/pixel calculations/etc

Build a bare earth DTM from UAV imagery with DroneMapper, LAStools and Global Mapper

Use this workflow to process aerial UAV imagery with DroneMapper, LAStools and Global Mapper to create a bare earth DTM (Digital Terrain Model). These steps assume you are working in a licensed version of REMOTE or REMOTE EXPERT. This is an advanced tutorial and requires software installation, post processing and command line work. We recommend using Map Pilot or DJI GS Pro for initial data/imagery collection and flight planning.

LAStools: https://rapidlasso.com/lastools

DroneMapper: https://dronemapper.com/software_downloads
Global Mapper: http://www.bluemarblegeo.com/index.php

  • Open DroneMapper and navigate to imagery folder location:

    In the example above we've opened 157 DJI images inside of REMOTE EXPERT for Digital Elevation Model, DSM, Point Cloud and Orthomosaic generation.

  • Navigate to the "DroneMapper Processing" tab inside the application and click the "Settings" icon. Enable the "Generate ASCII PLY/XYZ Point Cloud (64bit)" option.

    Close the settings dialog and activate "PREVIEW" step processing.

  • The screenshot below shows the "PREVIEW" step running with the EXIF stage completed and the FEATURES stage in progress.

  • NOTE: The "PREVIEW" step can take a good amount of time to complete depending on the number of images, image resolution, image megapixel, etc. If you are concerned that no progress is being made, please check the task manager and/or refer to the DroneMapper API status output inside the application. If you are checking progress via task manager, you should see a number of "dm3d.exe" processes. In this example, 3 API processes are shown as I am working from my old 2011 DELL XPS15Z (4 core).


  • Once the "PREVIEW" step is completed the grey scale orthomosaic is displayed on the "Map" tab. Additionally, you will have a new folder inside the original imagery folder named "DrnMppr3D". This folder is where the output GeoTIFF and Point Cloud results are stored after each step of processing is completed.

    You can enable one of the included map base layers to quickly check the geo-referencing of the data collection and orthomosaic processing.

    For this 157 image example from a DJI Phantom 4, I was able to generate the PREVIEW results in 22 minutes.

  • Next, navigate back to the "DroneMapper Processing" tab and activate step 2 (digital elevation model) processing. In this example, I am not processing at full resolution or using the "Dense" option for digital elevation model generation.

  • Once the digital elevation model has completed processing it will be displayed on the "Map" tab. Additionally, the GeoTIFF results will be available in the "DrnMppr3D" folder.

  • Activate step 3 and Orthomosaic generation. Once completed, the Orthomosaic and Point Cloud will be available in the "DrnMppr3D" folder.

    NOTE: Much of the workflow beyond this point requires installation of LASTools and Global Mapper. It also requires use of the windows command line. Installation and operation of LAStools and Global Mapper is outside the scope of this document.

  • Navigate to the "DrnMppr3D" results folder from the recently processed data collection. Hold down the SHIFT key and click your right mouse button, choose "Open command window here".

    Now you have a DOS command window open in the correct folder where the Point Cloud is located.

  • Execute "lasground.exe" to classify DroneMapper Point Cloud results. (Please see LAStools license here: http://www.cs.unc.edu/~isenburg/lastools/LICENSE.txt)

    NOTE: You will need to research and adjust the lasground.exe command line parameters to filter points to your liking.

    C:\Users\stoermer\Desktop\test-imagery\dji-ra-157\DrnMppr3D>c:\dev\LAStools\bin\lasground.exe -i PLY-DroneMapper.ply -ultra_fine -step 15 -odix _g -olaz -spike 1
    Please note that LAStools is not "free" (see http://lastools.org/LICENSE.txt)
    contact 'martin.isenburg@rapidlasso.com' to clarify licensing terms if needed.
    processing file 'PLY-DroneMapper.ply'.
    horizontal units are meter and vertical units are meter. custom mode.
    reading 2825734 points. step is 15 m, sub is 8, bulge is 3 m, spike is 1+10 m, and offset is 0.05 m ...
    took 22.776 sec. finding initial ground points ...
    took 0.122 sec. generating initial ground estimate ...
    took 0.085 sec. refining ground ...
    took 0.577 sec. adding terrain features ...
    took 7.721 sec. integrating points 0.05 above ground ...
    took 6.144 sec. outputting ...
    WARNING: unlicensed. over 1.5 million points. output slightly distorted.
             tiny xyz noise. points permuted. intensity, gps_time, user_data & point_source_ID zeroed.
    took 8.953 sec. 2599591 points classified as ground.
    done with 'PLY-DroneMapper_g.laz'. total time 46.382 sec.


    Once "lasground.exe" has completed you will notice a newly created file located in the "DrnMpp3D" folder. The file is named "PLY-DroneMapper_g.laz".

  • Next we load "PLY-DroneMapper_g.laz" in Global Mapper 18, making sure to set the correct projection and point filtering options.

    Below is the bare earth filtered point cloud viewed in Global Mapper 18.

  • Loading the "Ortho-DrnMppr.tif" file from the "DrnMppr3D" folder is a good way to visualize what has been filtered from the initial point cloud and digital elevation model.

  • If you are happy with the filtered results, next generate an elevation grid inside Global Mapper from the bare earth point cloud.

  • 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:


Simple Licensing and Pricing for DroneMapper REMOTE and REMOTE EXPERT

Simple Licensing and Pricing for DroneMapper REMOTE, REMOTE EXPERT Products
Pierre Stoermer, CEO - DroneMapper.com

We hope that you have or will find RAPID for DJI useful for your personal or business use. In response to the questions that have come up for REMOTE and REMOTE EXPERT versions of the application, this post should clarify the licensing and pricing details of DroneMapper’s offering:

REMOTE licensing price is $499 USD,

REMOTE EXPERT licensing price is $1,999 USD,

• Both licenses are perpetual. You may use the licensed version of the application for your needs forever,

• DroneMapper will correct, if possible, any issues with the operation of these versions that are reported to us,

• Besides maintenance, DroneMapper will strive to improve the functionality of the applications through time at no cost to you. When significant improvements or functionality have been incorporated, new versions of the applications may be released. You can choose whether these will be beneficial to your needs and pay any additional fees associated for that update/upgrade version.

• If you have specialized needs that are not supported, we are interested in hearing from you and please feel free to contact us to discuss.

Thank you, The DroneMapper Team


DroneMapper RAPID for DJI: Free Simple Photogrammetry Software

DroneMapper RAPID for DJI: Free Simple Photogrammetry Software
Pierre Stoermer, CEO - DroneMapper.com
DroneMapper is very pleased to announce that RAPID for DJI is available for download and testing on limited imagery data sets at no cost to the user (free!). RAPID will provide scaled DEMs and orthomosaics using up to 75 images for a scene. Results are available in near real time using modest computing hardware.


The download link can be found here: DroneMapper Downloads

Three WINDOWS 10 (64bit) applications with different features and functionality are offered and are summarized below:

• RAPID for DJI (Free): Allows input of up to 75 geo-tagged JPEG images of 12 Mpixel format or greater. RAPID will produce a preview orthomosaic, a DEM scaled at X8 of imagery native resolution and an orthomosaic scaled at X4 as output products in GeoTiff format. RAPID for DJI is limited to DJI platforms and sensors.

• REMOTE (Licensed): For larger mapping areas, this module allows input of up to 400 geo-tagged JPEG images of 12 Mpixel format or greater. REMOTE will produce a preview orthomosaic, a DEM scaled at X8 or X4 of imagery native resolution and an orthomosaic scaled at X4 or X2 as output products in GeoTiff format.

• REMOTE EXPERT (Licensed): This module provides full photogrammetric functionality and allows input of up to 1000 geo-tagged JPEG images of 12 Mpixel format or greater. REMOTE EXPERT produces a preview orthomosaic, a DEM scaled at X8, X4 or X2 of imagery native resolution (user selectable) and an orthomosaic scaled at X4, X2 or native resolution (user selectable) as output products in GeoTiff format. This module also will perform processing using ground control points (GCPs). This feature requires imagery pre-processing using the included GCP Tool. The module will generate a 64-bit point cloud of the results in ASCII PLY/XYZ format should the user select that feature.

Feature/Function Benefits

• Orthomosaic preview – facilitates review of acceptable imagery collection at the site, prior to equipment pack-up, by generating the preview in near real time. In many cases the preview will help identify holes in coverage, issues with image geo-tagging and poor quality imagery (blur and other imagery artifacts that hamper proper processing) before you leave the scene.
• Linear and area measurements for overlap verification and scene coverage.
• Selectable scaling of the DEM appropriate for the project requirements. If 1-2’ contours and/or volumetrics are required, then a X8 DEM may be suitable for the quickest turn around and acceptable accuracy. If finer detail is desired, then X4 and X2 DEMs are selected at the expense of processing time.
• Selectable scaling and blending of the orthomosaic for scene feature identification and production of a visually pleasing (minimal to no seamlines) scene.
• DEM and orthomosaic sub-pixel root mean square error (RMSE) of GCPs in horizontal and vertical - facilitates accurate planimetric and 3-D measurements.
• 64-bit point cloud provided for feature classification, editing and DTM generation.
• Robust processing algorithms tolerant of minimal imagery overlap. Allows user to close the loop on operations platform, camera/lens and mission planner to minimize overlaps for high efficiency collects over larger areas, quick processing turnaround times and high quality output.

Please review the operating instructions, run the application on your data sets and provide us feedback on its operation and utility. Should you need additional functionality for larger data sets please contact us for more details on REMOTE and REMOTE EXPERT.

Happy Holidays,
the DroneMapper Team