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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2018-53
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Jul 2018

Research article | 06 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).

A Structure from Motion photogrammetry-based method to generate sub-millimetre resolution Digital Elevation Models for investigating rock breakdown features

Ankit K. Verma and Mary C. Bourke Ankit K. Verma and Mary C. Bourke
  • Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Abstract. We have generated sub-millimetre resolution DEMs of weathered rock surfaces using SfM photogrammetry techniques. We apply a close-range Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry-based method in the field and use it to generate high-resolution topographic data for weathered boulders and bedrock. The method was pilot tested on extensively weathered Triassic Moenkopi Sandstone outcrops near Meteor Crater in Arizona. Images were taken in the field using a consumer grade DSLR camera and were processed in commercially available software Agisoft Photoscan to build dense point cloud. Dense point clouds were registered to a local 3D coordinate system (x, y, z) which was developed using a specially designed triangle coded control target and then exported as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The accuracy of the DEMs was validated under controlled experimental conditions. A number of checkpoints were used to calculate errors. We also evaluated the effects of image and camera parameters on the accuracy of our DEMs. We report a horizontal error of 0.5mm and vertical error of 0.3mm in our experiments. Our approach provides a low-cost method, for obtaining very high-resolution topographic data on weathered rock surfaces (area <10m2). The results from our case study confirm the efficacy of the method at this scale and show that the data acquisition equipment is sufficiently robust and portable. This is particularly important for field conditions in remote locations or steep terrain where portable and efficient methods are required.

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Ankit K. Verma and Mary C. Bourke
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Latest update: 18 Aug 2018
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