Surveying Applications with PhotoModeler

PhotoModeler is the ultimate survey tool when bringing bulky equipment into rugged field conditions isn’t an option. When you need higher accuracy in your point clouds than your laser scanner can provide, PhotoModeler Scanner is your solution.

PhotoModeler is the most versatile tool available for a surveyor’s toolbox, capable of generating results as a standalone application, or for combining with data sets from other devices for control and alignment of your critical survey projects.

  • Land surveys, slope/grade and property lines
  • Document as-built conditions of structures large and small
  • Stockpile shape and volume measurement
  • Site damage inspection
  • Compare site or structure conditions over time
  • Collect data from a safe distance in hazardous environments
  • Works with ground, aerial, underwater photos

PhotoModeler can be used to create accurate line drawings, DEMs, and orthophotos. Input coordinates are accepted from other surveying equipment and outputs can be georeferenced.


Industrial Surveying

This project was created by Sitag S.L. in Spain. The project displays the industrial modeling and measurement capabilities of PhotoModeler. The subject is an electrical station. PhotoModeler is used to model the station structure as well as electrical towers and lines.

The Cylinder tool was used to model various poles and pipes. Results were viewed and measured in PhotoModeler. The project coordinate data was studied in PhotoModeler's Point Table and then exported to CAD for further examination. The project used a total of 11 photos and 734 3D points. 


Stockpile Surveying 1

Mine model screen capture


These quarry and stockpile shots were done with a Canon EOS 1DS mark II and 50mm Leica lens from a Cesna 172 aeroplane at approx. 300 meters.


Mine model screen capture


The screen shot shows the stockpile's contours (on top of both shaded and textured models), as well as the volume above the ground plane in the software's Measure window.




Stockpile Surveying 2

Approx. size of scene 2000 feet (610m) Photos of Keystone WV
Number of photos: 189
Camera: Aeryon Labs Scout
Number of SmartMatch points: 89,000
Number of triangles in mesh: 5.4 million

This project was carried out by Geo-Rhea, a firm in Charleston, West Virginia that specializes in UAS / UAV remote sensing, mapping and measurement. The primary purpose is to determine the volume of coal piles without resorting to expensive, time-consuming and often less-accurate traditional methods. The area shown is Keystone, WV. The project was made possible by the 64 bit version of PhotoModeler Scanner.

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3D Shaded View of Keystone Area with Camera Positions:

Coal area shaded, showing stations

3D Shaded View Close Up:

Coal area shaded, showing stations

Contours of Area:

Coal area shaded, showing stations

Close-up Contours of Area:

Coal area shaded, showing stations

Animated RGB Point Cloud:

A big thank you to Geo-Rhea for allowing us to show this great example of using PhotoModeler Scanner 64, SmartMatch and DSM.

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Compost and Wood Chip Stockpile with MVS

This project of a large compost and wood chip operation was completed by a customer using 28 photos taken by a Canon IXUS 220HS carried by a UAS / UAV / drone. This project was processed by PhotoModeler Scanner 2014's MVS feature - producing great detail with little user input or work. On the associated Stockpile MVS page you can see these PhotoModeler outputs: an Animation video, an interactive SketchFab model, and some screen shots.



Architectural Surveying

This 3D model of Lucerne's historic town center was created for use on a website to enable potential visitors to experience a realistic on-line tour. The tour provides a much better perspective of the area than can be obtained with a simple map. The revenue for the site is provided by merchants who pay to have their stores featured as part of the model.

The 50 buildings included in the model meant this would have been a time consuming and very expensive process using traditional surveying methods. PhotoModeler provided a more efficient means of creating an accurate and visually realistic model from about 500 photos, at a fraction of the cost.

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The client was so pleased with the results that Architect Olivier Hess of Archiscan in Belgium has been asked to model another 1000 buildings. He can be reached at

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Accident Scene SurveyingSetting up for photography post incident

This incident between a GMC pickup and a Saturn at a rural intersection was documented with photographs from a police-owned camera and evidence markers. Not only was a scene diagram created, but an orthophoto was used to check tire mark shape, and some crush measurement was done at the scene (again using PhotoModeler). The photograph shows the scene with the pickup truck in the foreground with skid marks, and the Saturn sedan in the far background on the field.

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Setting up for photography post incident A 2D diagram (Courtesy of DCM Technical Services) was created in CrashZone from the data exported from PhotoModeler. PhotoModeler is a full 3D package but can easily export data projected on a plane for 2D mapping.
2D scene diagram in CrashZone An orthophoto of part of the road surface was generated showing the skid marks. One cannot get the true shape of the skid mark in a photograph taken at ground level due to perspective distortion. The rectification and orthophoto function of PhotoModeler creates an output image that removes the perspective distortion - as if the photograph was taken from in the air over the road. The true shape of the skids can be studied in such an image.
3D diagram in CrashZone with data from PhotoModeler as input The 3D view of the 2D diagram in CrashZone is suitable for court and jury presentation, as some may find it easier to understand.


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Some Customers

  • Astele Architectural Services, Canada
  • BC Institute of Technology, Canada
  • Cascades Volcano Observatory/USGS
  • CBC Geospatial Consulting
  • Close Range Surveys
  • Cooper Aerial Surveys
  • Cornerstone Surveying & Engineering
  • exp Services Inc., Canada
  • Exponent Engineering and Scientific Consulting
  • EZ Survey Solutions, Canada
  • GeoCounsel Heritage Survey Consultants, New Zealand
  • Howard County Maryland, Survey Division
  • Johnson Mapping & Surveying
  • Lemke Land Surveying
  • Photarc Surveys, UK
  • Sea Island Land Survey
  • Sky Survey System, Italy
  • SMITH Marine Survey
  • Spatial Data Surveys
  • Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, Hong Kong
  • Survey Crew Inc.
  • US Geological Survey
  • Willis Engineering

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