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20 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 AIR ADVANCED IMAGING Throughout the project, Dedik said, Studio 727 remained in close touch with Leica and Aibotix representatives in Slovakia. "Our Aibot X6 V2 UAVs, with the Nikon D810 camera, were used to digitize big buildings and wider areas, and especially hard-to-reach places like church steeples and roofs and dif- ficult architectural elements like all the nooks and crannies in ancient facades," said Benjamin Federmann, Aibotix's marketing and commu- nications director. Linked Technology Using Leica's ground-based ScanStation P20 for TLS, high accuracy digital representations of objects and buildings could be captured in a short amount of time, Federmann said. "But a real challenge of producing 3-D models us- ing only TLS data is that, in spite of the high point density, small architectural details can- not be captured when the distance is too great between the laser scanner and the subject." Relying only on digital photogrammetry, however, has shortcomings as well. "The advantages with photogrammetry are the degree of detail and the realistic reproduc- tion of colors," Federmann said, "while a disad- vantage is that the model can be distorted or deformed during reconstruction." The team knew that, to get the level of accu- racy and detail they wanted, they would really need to combine the best elements of TLS and DP data. Studio 727 managed to do that using a new software package called RealityCapture, created during the project by another Slovak partner CapturingReality. RealityCapture software enabled the han- dling of an enormous volume of data, merging thousands of pictures with laser scanning data to create unified, georeferenced models in a pro- cess referred to as 'TLS-DP linking.' Further data processing was carried out in JTSK, the default coordinate system in the Slovak Republic. Point clouds were processed into highly detailed ortho- photos, polygonal models and 3-D models. Photo courtesy of Aibotix project itself was the brainchild of Slovakia's EU-funded Operational Programme Informa- tion Society (OPIS) initiative. Funding mecha- nisms aside, Dedik said the immediate client was essentially the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic (MBSR). "The specific aim of the project," he said, "was to digitize a selected number of the coun- try's national cultural monuments and histori- cal objects, to allow, later, detailed restoration work to preserve these monuments for future generations." To collect the information necessary for site preservation, the consortium needed to im- prove the way data was acquired and processed. Their starting point was data collection with a ground-based Leica terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) system in combination with georeferenced digital photogrammetry (DP) using helicopters and the GNSS-equipped Aibot unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). AIBOTIX AIBOT X6 SIZE: 3.4 ft diameter, 1.5 ft height FLIGHT TIME: 20 minutes TAKE-OFF WEIGHT: 4.6 kg – 6.6 kg TAKE-OFF/LANDING: Automatic CONTROL SYSTEM: Preprogrammed fl ights with Aibotix AiProFlight or manual remote control ADDITIONAL FEATURES: • High level of artifi cial intelligence • Fully integrated geo-reference • As part of Leica Geosystems, Aibotix works closely with other Hexagon brands to fully integrate systems and workfl ows for data generation and processing. "WITH THE OBTAINED DATA, any required documentation can be created for any purpose, for example to carry out a faithful restoration or even a complete rebuilding of the monument." Benjamin Federmann, Aibotix, marketing and communications director G E A R G E A R