HEA BLO GEO mapping-suburban-italy

Drone mapping for new bicycle tourism routes in Italy

Urban surveying can be a challenge when planning new infrastructure. Discover how Studio Dryos surveyed a suburban area in Italy.

Now that international travel is restricted, more and more people are looking to explore their own countries. Municipalities are investing in how to offer people fun and exciting ways to explore their local area.

Zogno, a town in Italy, is on a new cycle route between Bergamo and Piazza Brembana. The track mostly follows paths next to a river that used to have a railway alongside, so the foundations for the cycle path are already fairly flat. Drone surveying is ideal for long corridor maps like this, as the drone can capture the bigger picture without being obstructed by the river. However, the route also crosses parts of the town on busy roads, where traffic can pose a risk to cyclists. This requires careful planning for the layout and directions of the cycle route.

Suburban Italy in PIX4Dmapper
The project was modeled with 3D photogrammetry software

Studio Dryos, based in Bergamo, work in design, terrestrial land use planning, landscape surveys, analysis, and ground reports. The company was hired by the Studio di Architettura Capitanio of Bergamo, who designed the route, to survey a 2km stretch of the bike path. Studio Dryos was asked to check on design plans as well as current construction progress and share their findings with the architects.

Project details

UserStudio Dryos
LocationBergamo, Italy
SoftwarePIX4Dmapper, eMotion
HardwaresenseFly eBee, Ricevitore GNSS STONEX s900A
Processing hardwareWindows 10 Pro 64 bit, Intel® Core™ i7-3770 CPU, 32 GB RAM, NVIDIA Quadro K620 GPU
Area surveyed1.1 km2
Total images captured432
GSD3 cm
Processing time2h 19m for point cloud, 1h 22m for textured mesh, 1h 28m for DSM, orthomosaic 2h00

Drone mapping urban areas

Drone surveying in an urban area is difficult for several reasons. Firstly, there can be aerial obstacles that include important infrastructure such as high voltage pylons or cables. The electricity pylons caused disruption with the signal connection to the base station for the drone, which was an added challenge for Studio Dryos. Additionally, the team needs to follow European drone flight regulations, ensuring they did not distract traffic or fly in urban areas without the necessary permission. Drone flight height restrictions are important for enforcing air traffic control safety but can be difficult for aerial surveying.

The river in a 3D model in PIX4Dmapper
The bicycle tourism route is being carefully planned to ensure it is safe for use

The Studio Dryos team carefully planned for two days of data collection and chose a period when the weather was good and wind speeds were low. The first day was spent completing a GCP survey, and the second was spent flying the drone. They gathered around 200 images across two flights, aiming to gather high-quality orthophotos. The following day was spent processing the data and analyzing the images. The PIX4Dmapper rayCloud gave Studio Dryos control over their data as they generated their results.

The first photogrammetry output they provided to the client was orthophotos of the site. Studio Dryos had to be careful to check for distortion on the light due to the mountainous terrain of the area and northern exposure of some of the routes, which can lower orthophoto quality. They also provided a 3D model that was highly accurate, partly thanks to the high GSD. As a result of the accuracy of the orthophotos and the model, the architects could identify details about the track route that were obstructing construction or needed to be maintained.

The PIX4Dmapper rayCloud
PIX4Dmapper's rayCloud gave Studio Dryos control over their dataset

Working with photogrammetry software

PIX4Dmapper is a powerful product with a huge range of tools that can suit a variety of projects. Studio Dryos provided the appropriate outputs for their clients. The orthophotos and 3D model can be used as a record of the progress of construction, as well as information useful for creating accurate maps and guides of the cycle route.

“This was a very large survey in a mixed urban and rural area with several challenges, including avoiding the river. The speed of the software helped us deliver results in time to our client.” - Angelo Ghirelli, Studio Dryos

As more people take part in domestic holidays and cities try to make themselves more attractive vacation destinations, projects like these can help work be completed more efficiently. The accurate outputs from PIX4Dmapper have been used by surveyors and constructors around the world who recognize the benefits of photogrammetry. Working with drones and a specialized photogrammetry solution saved time and money whilst providing replicas of reality that are precise to within a few centimeters.

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