We have previously mentioned the great potential we see in using photogrammetry as a tool to capture real-life environments and to digitalize them to be used for touristic purposes. Now, another possibility to use this technology to capture the scene has entered the market. Much debated for possible safety hazards, but undoubtedly very important in the future, drones play an important part for this technique. But, as a matter of fact, neither the technology nor the concept are very new. But as we reported in our overview, this application, just like so many others, was initially intended for completely different industries, in this case agriculture or insurance company site inspections. More specifically, we are talking about the DroneDeploy application for smartphones that hooks up to a commercial drone and controls it to fly along a predetermined path. During the flight the drone will continually take photos which are then uploaded to the DroneDeploy cloud (either manually or via a direct uplink) and stitched together into one 3D image, or better yet, a map. This is a great use of photogrammetry to recreate actual environments.A 3D map captured by a drone
The brilliance of this lies mostly in the capacity to create amazing 3D maps. There are countless applications for this in tourism, the first one that comes to mind is the 3D mapping of holiday resorts. Resorts could deploy drones to survey their often-times large grounds to provide interactive 3D maps for their clients to browse through. They could even combine it with a booking engine, enabling consumers to directly book the unit that they are inspecting in 3D. Along the same lines, theme parks could add 3D maps of their offers for their consumers, so they can actually get a feeling of how high those roller-coasters really are. It could also be used to map large scale heritage sites (such as Mayan ruins etc.). This would enable tourism boards to easily create a VE according to the 3D map that can be navigated by clients at fairs or similar sales events. Also for sports tourism, contestants in competitions involving long distances could be supplied with a 3D map including the terrain so they can better prepare for the respective race.
All in all, the possibilities are endless, and another great benefit of particularly this service provider is the economic offer they have. The app in its most basic, yet usable function, is available for free. This is great news for DMOs or other touristic stakeholders that want to experiment with it while keeping risks at a minimum, as the only real cost is a drone, but these can also be rented. We are amazed how quickly the use of photogrammetry to recreate actual environments has become more of a mainstream activity, because just recently a popular YouTube photography channel reviewed exactly this setup. Check out the fascinating video here.