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match FPV in Goggle Earth w/aircraft camera?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Ryan Bidinger, May 12, 2016.

  1. Ryan Bidinger

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    Hello. Has anyone thought of trying to match FPV in Google Earth with FPV of the camera onboard the aircraft? I assume there's pilot's our there who have—and hopefully have succeeded. Perhaps you can share how you did it? I'm just having trouble locating anything in the forums... perhaps it's too difficult or not really feasible. Would be so cool if it worked though! Here's what I tried...

    Using a 3Dconnexion Space navigator (a 3-axis, joystick/controller), I thought I could fly-around and record waypoints (noting location & altitude) and import into Autopilot. To do this, I knew I'd need to change Google Earth's Field of View to match the Field of View of the camera onboard the aircraft (94 degrees). Additionally, when recording altitude, I'd need to adjust based on the aircraft's take-off altitude. Unfortunately, the FPV I see in Autopilot still does not match the FPV I see in Google Earth. It's typically off anywhere from 13-35ft forward/backward.

    I'm hoping there's an easier way to do this. The ability to match the Field of View would prevent me from having to fly to each waypoint (and consequently battery power) to determine my desired altitudes before engaging my flight plans.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
    #1 Ryan Bidinger, May 12, 2016
    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  2. DirtyHarry

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    This stuff is way over my head, but many of the Google Earth Maps are anywhere from fairly new to years old, not sure how accurate that type of stuff would be.....
     
  3. Ryan Bidinger

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    True... but if my subject is a building and that building can be viewed in 3D in Google Earth—unless the structure itself was destroyed or modified since the imagery was last updated... I don't see how using older imagery would matter... ?
     
  4. Not A Speck Of Cereal

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    ... and the view-width difference between a near-to-ground UAV and a space-orbiting satellite is going to be (ahem) astronomically huge.

    Also, if you spend time studying Google Earth, you'll see lots of maps stitched together that come from different angles. It's not so simple as a satellite circling the globe always pointing down and that's the only kind of imagery you get from them.

    Eh?
     
  5. Ryan Bidinger

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    Yuck. Guess it really isn't feasible then. Disappointing. Would've been awesome. What do you guys/gals do instead?
     
  6. Not A Speck Of Cereal

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    I got me own satellite.
     
    Stoo1701 likes this.
  7. Shammyh

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    Google Earth uses a wide variety of imaging techniques.

    Ranging from satellite imagery (for remote areas) to low altitude aircraft imagery (metro areas) to mil-spec lidar/radar scans (select metro areas with high-def 3D models).

    They also make *extensive* use of photogrammetry. And using such techniques, it's totally possible to recreate 3D objects, even their sides, using only downward facing photos. I do it frequently myself using either DroneDeploy (SaaS) or on my own with Photoscan (assisted by AWS EC2 servers).

    But back to topic and OP... I think you could totally do this. I've even toyed with it a bit myself, given that I live just outside Boston, and Google Earth Pro images and 3D for my area are stellar. 3D models are spot on... Down to the bushes and trees, and probably accurate to within a foot.

    There's also the new "ground mode" or whatever it's called, where you can literally walk along the ground of the 3D model itself. Truly incredible technology...

    But point is, yes, if you lined it up right, you could probably do a flight following the same virtual path you took in Google Earth. If you screen captured the Google Earth one too, and cleverly edited in the real footage as well, you might have a pretty unique final product...
     
  8. Not A Speck Of Cereal

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  9. Shammyh

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    Hahaha... Excellent collection there!

    Though, to be fair, most, if not all of those abnormalities have been updated since 2013...

    And that's also why they also now use lidar/radar info in addition to traditional visible wavelength photograph for generating their flagship models (think, major US and world cities).

    Seriously, pop open Google Earth Pro on reasonably powerful desktop. Make sure all the images are set to max res (don't think it is by default) with all the models turned on and look at Manhattan or Boston or San Francisco.

    Give it another 5-10 years and their ground modeling will be pretty close to indistinguishable from a real photo. Few years beyond that, and it might be indistinguishable from real life... At least in a purely visual sense. Remember, Google has already imaged with Street View almost every major road in the Western Hemisphere. They aren't messing around when it comes to aerial imaging either...
     
  10. Ryan Bidinger

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    Thank-you very much. Thinking about it some more I realized I could simply fine-tune Google Earth's FOV to match the FOV or the camera. Comparing screen captures (in Autopilot) I took of the aircraft directly above my waypoints, I was able to find the sweet spot after some trial & error. 94 was obviously too wide. 75 degrees seems to be the right number. Time to confirm w/actual flight! :cool:

    Note... adjusting the FOV in Google Earth only adjusts the horizontal, not diagonal! Took me awhile to figure this out until I tried resizing the program window... :rolleyes:
     
  11. Ryan Bidinger

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    Agreed. Google Earth is a phenomenal tool. And using a controller such as a Space Navigator really shows you what more you can do with it. Really neat.