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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324753

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Comparison of mosaicking techniques for airborne images from consumer-grade cameras

Author
item SONG, HUAIBO - Northwest Agricultural & Forestry University
item Yang, Chenghai
item ZHANG, JIAN - Huazhong Agricultural University
item Hoffmann, Wesley
item HE, DONGJIAN - Northwest Agricultural & Forestry University
item THOMASSON, ALEX - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/7/2016
Publication Date: 3/29/2016
Citation: Song, H., Yang, C., Zhang, J., Hoffmann, W.C., He, D., Thomasson, A. 2016. Comparison of mosaicking techniques for airborne images from consumer-grade cameras. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing (JARS). 10:016030.

Interpretive Summary: Airborne images taken from a large area could be stitched together to create a high-resolution mosaic image for diverse remote sensing applications. However, image mosaicking can be complicated and there exist various mosaicking techniques and software for different purposes. This study evaluated eight different image mosaicking techniques in three software packages for mosaicking images over a large cropping area. Accuracy assessment showed that the Pix4DMapper software can be the first choice if georeferenced imagery with high accuracy is required, while the less expensive Photoshop CC or the free Autostitch software can be good alternatives for some agricultural applications. The results from this study will provide useful information for the selection of image mosaicking software and techniques for aerial applicators and other users.

Technical Abstract: Images captured from airborne imaging systems have the advantages of relatively low cost, high spatial resolution, and real/near-real-time availability. Multiple images taken from one or more flight lines could be used to generate a high-resolution mosaic image, which could be useful for diverse remote sensing applications. However, image mosaicking can be complicated and there exist various mosaicking techniques and software for different purposes. The primary goal of this study was to identify appropriate imaging mosaicking techniques and software to generate mosaicked images for use by aerial applicators and other practitioners. For this study, three software packages including Photoshop CC, Autostitch, and Pix4DMapper were selected for image mosaicking. Eight image mosaicking techniques were applied to airborne RGB images taken from a cropping area near College Station, Texas. A total of 107 ground control points were collected for georeferencing the mosaicked images and for evaluating the accuracy of the mosaicking techniques. Analysis and accuracy assessment showed that Pix4DMapper can be the first choice if georeferenced imagery with high accuracy is required. The Spherical method in Photoshop CC can be an alternative for mosaicking images for some agricultural applications and Autostitch can be used to quickly evaluate the quality of the images immediately after image acquisition. The results also showed that the accuracy of image mosaicking techniques could be greatly affected by the size of the imaging area or the number of the images and that the accuracy would be higher for a small area than for a large area. The results from this study will provide useful information for the selection of image mosaicking software and techniques for aerial applicators and other users.