Photogrammetry is “the art and science of extracting 3D information from photographs. The process involves taking overlapping photographs of an object, structure, or space, and converting them into 2D or 3D digital models.”

This can be done with something small, like a statue or a shoe, or, using a drone, something big like a whole building. And as I have a couple of drones this is something I have long wanted to try! So yesterday I put a little of my day off aside to do the research and see if I could find out what was involved. I recently flew my drone around the church to take some pictures of the roof work that we have been doing (a lot easier than climbing a ladder!), and though this set of pictures where not taken with photogrammetry in mind they do cover most of the church building.

I found a wonderful, free and open-source software package called Meshroom, and though the learning curve was pretty steep I finally managed to make it work 🙂 It took a few hours to process the 144 pictures I fed into it (even on my 12-core Xeon machine with 128 GB of RAM and a recent Nvidia graphics card) , and then a few more to tweak the settings to get something useable, but the result (hosted on the awesome Sketchfab) is below 🙂

You can click and drag to look around (and use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out, and right click to drag). Bearing in mind that these pictures were not taken specifically to do this, so this is just a proof of concept, I’m blown away by how well this works! You can bet I’ll be flying the drone again to take a much better set of pictures very soon- and then perhaps we’ll do the inside of the church too…?

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