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What Are Orthomosaic Photos?

First things first, what is an orthomosaic photo? An orthomosaic photo is an aerial or drone photograph that has been altered for topographic relief, lens distortion, and camera tilt. Essentially these photos have been altered to remove any distortions from them so that they are accurately sized images of the ground just like a map.

These photos are so accurate that they are actually used to create orthomosaic maps. An orthomosaic map is a collection of multiple orthomosaic photographs edited and layered to create an accurate map of a specified area.

Why Use an Orthomosaic Photo Map

Police and Fire

Police and fire departments use orthomosaic maps in a multitude of ways. Police stations and fire stations use these images for mapping highly frequented locations in cities such as malls, schools, and stadiums. In the event of violent crime, fire, or other unforeseen event, first responders can view these maps and have a better understanding of the scenario and the best way to combat the emergency. 

Real Estate Development 

Orthomosaic maps are being used in real estate to provide detailed, overhead maps of properties so that a realtor can show a property, neighborhood, or house that is for sale. Typically, they are used to showcase large estates or developments since walking/driving around them can be difficult, especially if the buildings are spread out. 

Conservation and Agriculture

In conservation, an orthomosaic map can be used to detail the conditions of a certain area. Mapping forests and their growth or shrinkage, how sand dunes move, or levels of water in a wetland are all practical uses for an orthomosaic map in conservation.

In agriculture, an orthomosaic map can show a farmer or property owner how crops are doing, how irrigation is working on a crop, or any other instances unobservable from the ground. Additionally, it can be used to give a year over year comparison of how a crop has done compared to years prior.

Creating an Orthomosaic Photo Map

The first step in creating an orthomosaic map is the acquisition of vertical photographs. A drone is usually the medium for capturing these photos because of how automated and precise they have become. The drone goes up in the air and has it’s sensor and camera pointed straight down. It then follows a flight path over and around the specified location as it takes vertical photos of the area. 

Once the drone has completed its flight path it returns to the pilot where all the overlapping vertical images are processed. These images are geometrically corrected so that they possess the same accuracy as a map. A variety of metrics are considered when editing these photos; sensor positions, altitude of the drone, and a geometric model of the land being mapped. The images are then stitched together to produce the orthomosaic map of an area with accurate dimensions. Additionally, some companies will take it a step further and use these photos to conjure 3D interactive maps or virtual tours for clients who need these types of visual aides.

Aerial Innovations’ Orthomosaic Photos

At Aerial Innovations Southeast we are on the cutting edge of drone photography. We were early adopters of the drone and have been using them as a part of our professional photography services since their arrival. We use drones for our vertical photography services and use a significant amount of these vertical photos to create orthomosaic maps for our clients. 

If your company is in need of professional aerial, drone, or ground photography we are your go-to photography service in the Southeast. Don’t be afraid to get in contact with us or request a free quote for a project.

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