Forum : Real World & Events

Geotags, aerial synths, street synths… capturing events as they happen. If you can mark it on a map, then this is the place to talk about it.

Topic: Aerial Synths

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TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
Ive seen quite a few great synths made from the air.  Figured I'd start this discussion to list them all in one place. 

Hawaii Lava field from a kite

Near space from a high altidue balloon.

Cool house from a helicopter

Can anyone find any more out there?
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Heh!  Now THAT is weird.  I saw this thread and thought, "Hey, I could probably add mine to the list!"  As it turns out, mine's the first one on the list...

I've posted two other synths from a kite.  One's a smaller sub-set of the one you already posted, and probably wouldn't be of much interest.  Here's the other one:

I expect I'll add more over time.  These are preliminary tests, just to see how Photosynth dealt with aerial data.  I have to say, I'm STOKED.  Photosynth does a good job with the rough terrain, and seems to do a really nice job of fitting the points.

TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
One more from a kite - An abandoned truck:

(But I GOTTA build one of those near space balloon packages!!  That's COOL!)

TriState360 (Over 1 year ago)
These are my Aerial Photosynths thus far - Be sure to check out the Point Clouds
dariusmonsef (Over 1 year ago)
Collected several of these in a blog post:

I probably missed some good ones, feel free to add synth links and details in the comments.
dboschung (Over 1 year ago)

To represent Switzerland on the world exposition 2010 in Shanghai we are planning to photosynth the mountain Panaroma around the Matterhorn in Zermatt. ( )

Because there is a lot of costly airtime with helicopters involved we would like to make some testing.

I have two major question.

Can you manualy manipulate the position of the pictures if photosynth does not find the right spot? In the alps we have a lot of snow and maybe not enough reference points or lines. Would GPS metada help?

Can we ran photosynth on local computer, because we are planing to beam the pictues on big screens.

What is the highest resolution photosynth is able to handle.
Hi Dani -- Sounds like a wonderful use of Photosynth, and you're very wise to be doing as much planning as possible before your airtime.

Max resolution? Full frame DSL (16-20 megapixels) will work great. We hit some limits above that at the moment, but will be working to get around them.

Manipulating the positions of the images isn't possible right now, but I don't think you're going to have a problem. Photosynth handles snow very well (as long as its not badly over-exposed)

We can't give out our standalone Photosynth builds unfortuantely. They aren't properly tested and could well give you as much trouble as they'd save you.  On the other hand, with careful preparation, I'm SURE you can get a standout synth. I'm going to post a longer response with detailed instructions about synthing mountains from the air. I've tried it!  Will post again tomorrow.

Best wishes, David.
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Got another aerial I just uploaded:

Waikiki Beach from above the Natatorium, near Diamondhead:

Dani, I can't say I've photographed the Matterhorn, but I've done a couple of aerial synths.  A couple of things seem to work well:

1 - Sitting in one place and rotating.  More or less the same technique that's used for making a panorama.  These make for nice patches in the synth where you can pan around and look anywhere and everywhere.  This is a minimal investment in time in a helicopter, once you are in a good position.

2 - Getting a lot of different angles on a single thing.  This tends to build really detailed point clouds of an object.  Check out flyphoto2020's aerials for what can be done with this.  For an object the size of the Matterhorn this would be a fairly costly investment in time, to circle the object.  But the resulting synths are really nice.

TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
Just created a synth from photos I took from a helicopter flying over the Franz Joseph Glacier on New Zealand's South Island:
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Tony, that seriously answers any questions about synths with snow and ice.  That's NICE.
BAlvarius (Over 1 year ago)
Just started synthing low level aerial photographs collected from a weight shift control light sport aircraft.  I have 4 linear examples as initial experiments designed to find out how movement toward the subject effects the process.  In a comparison with traditional panoramas I find this technique has a much larger range of possibilities and invites serious experimentation.
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Hey, sweet!  I won't have a chance to check these out until I get home, but I've been curious what's possible using that kind of platform.  Can't wait!

From kite aerials, one technique I've noticed works REALLY well at covering a lot of ground and getting good image matching is to point the camera off to one side, or slightly off to one side from your direction of motion.  With a good frame rate you can easily get more than the requisite three views of a given point, and get a really tight match.

Looking forward to seeing your experiments!

BAlvarius (Over 1 year ago)
I started with traditional panoramas and developed a technique based on one of the pilot test maneuvers, the steep bank turn, to photograph a site.  I set up a 45 degree turning bank and shoot from one side of the aircraft to cover as much of the view as possible angling the camera up and down or moving in and away from the target.  It seems to me that I can use the aircraft as a paint brush and paint a site in 3D from particular vantage points not accessible to others.  It should be possible to create a bowl synth by painting (flying in circles) in a canyon or other area surrounded by hills, sort of sculpting an object (a bowl) by presenting it in aerial photographs.  Some of my other low level aerial photographs of the bootheel are on the Sky Gypsies site,
BAlvarius (Over 1 year ago)
Well, here is something not seen previously.  An aerial based photosynth that starts below ground level and climbs up.  A 400' deep volcanic crater was used as the setting for this 360 degree panormaic synth.  Flying tight circles inside the crater then climbing up and out of the crater for a view of the countryside.
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
I can't say I've done an above and below strictly from the air, but a while back I did do a synth that combines above and below ground elements.  I started in a pit in a lava field, and photographed it using a camera suspended from a pole I had lowered into the hole.  As the camera took pictures the pole was moved around and eventually retracted out of the hole.  Then it was suspended above the pit in an attempt to tie the above ground to the below-ground.  Finally the camera was put on a kite rig to do the aerials of the surrounding lava field.

There were technical issues (no up-tilted shots to let the viewer climb up out of the pit!) but all in all it worked.  Still not as cool looking as the crater synth you did, though.

tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Here's a new one: a mix of ground and aerials at the summit of Mauna Loa.  The point cloud came out better than I deserved, considering my lens was rained on early in the session, and suffered from water spots for most of it:

The deep caldera is Mokuaweoweo, the vent from which the 1984 Mauna Loa eruption came.

tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Argh!  That last link pointed to where I was editing highlights...  Here's the correct URL:

BAlvarius (Over 1 year ago)

I saw the lava field synth with the views in the lava pit and I like it.  One of the things I'm interested in is the idea of relative motion.  How to move the view relative to objects in the scene and movement around those objects to produce the maximum amount of impact on the viewer and provide the most information about the scene.  For me it is a matter of visualizing the progression of views and then figuring out how to recreate them.
TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
Made a synth of Mount Baker yesterday from photos on a flight through the North Cascades.  Im extremely pleased with the result:
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
My most recent aerial is nowhere as cool as the Mount Baker synth you did, but I'll toss it out anyway:

It's an anchialine pond complex near Anaehoomalu Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Not an on-purpose synth in this case.  I took the pictures in order to make a 2D ortho composite of the site.  But I figured I'd toss the images into Photosynth to see what came out.  What came out worked better than I thought.

clipper453 (Over 1 year ago)
Here are a couple aerial synths that I've made using my RC plane...

Sedona, Arizona:
My neighborhood (Laveen, Arizona):
BirdEye (Over 1 year ago)
i hope you dont mind if i give you my synth too!
TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
Nice one Birdeye.  Be sure to geotag and align it.
BirdEye (Over 1 year ago)
have you got a video or pdf explaining the tool to accomplish this?thank you
michaeldenis (Over 1 year ago)
These things are super cool.  Anyone who wants to work on a commercial project using these things should let me know (I am sure we can invent a use pretty easily, I have a few ideas)

A video of using these things would be awesome. As wouls videos of *everything* photosynth... I offer myself to become Photosynth's videographer of technical wonders.  Let me know. ,;)
BirdEye (Over 1 year ago)
explain ideas! im interested in testing whatever wed tink is funny..if needeed i can do other shot like this..just keep in contact....
GaryMortimer (Over 1 year ago)
I have to add one from my mate Mike

Its a great example of what might be, we are concentrating on synthing now ;-)
GaryMortimer (Over 1 year ago)
GaryMortimer (Over 1 year ago)
Exactly what I hoped to spot with my UAV happened today, change within a scene.

Still a work in progress

If you move about you will see the trees I flew over yesterday were chopped down this morning.

This is part of a goal I made myself yesterday, will be flying about 15km of river and seeing how to capture it.

I will write a little about it here

Love the curvey point cloud, of no use at the minute but I think I know how to correct that. Unless I get a camera pointing to the horizon as well though, lining the point cloud up on the map will be impossible.
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