The Eden Project is 3D mapping with drones

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Eden Project 3D Recreation

Read my second piece in the January edition of Wired magazine (UK) in full below or by following the link. You can watch the video of the 3D recreation at the bottom of this post.

While you are here check out my 8 favourite features I wrote for Wired (UK)

This virtual map of the Eden Project in Cornwall is made from video filmed by drones. A team from the University of Birmingham flew commercially available DJI Inspire and Matrice quadcopters over the 2.2-hectare eco park, capturing 360° spherical panoramic footage using a RICOH THETA camera to produce an interactive aerial model.

“We are also fascinated by inaccessible places,” says Robert Stone, director of the university’s Human Interface Technologies Team.

Drones let researchers survey unreachable or dangerous landscapes. The aerial 3D model pictured above is being used by the Eden Project to plan evacuation routes for 
the increasingly large gigs played there by acts from Elton John to Motörhead.

The team is also helping Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station evaluate sight lines for 
geostationary satellites, and guiding maritime archeologists around shipwrecks.

“Some of the sites we’re investigating, such as Fox Tor Mire on Dartmoor for aircraft remains, are so dangerous that we couldn’t rescue one of our drones if it went down,” says Stone.

The drones can be programmed to fly over the sites. Once filming has been completed, the video is converted into 3D using the Unity 3D development platform.

“A single-battery flight and a few hours of processing saves weeks of work building a model manually,” says Stone. The team is also working with the Ministry of Defence to explore “sacrificial” drones, which Stone says could gather key intelligence before being shot down or losing power. That’s our kind of killer drone.

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