Aerial photography project to create 3D map of Dubai

Specialised survey aircraft is being used for the Dubai Municipality's advanced aerial photography project. — Wam
Specialised survey aircraft is being used for the Dubai Municipality's advanced aerial photography project. — Wam

Dubai - The aerial photography survey has a high accuracy of 10 centimetres

By Wam

Published: Mon 16 Aug 2021, 9:55 PM

The Dubai Municipality has set new standards of technological excellence with its advanced aerial photography project currently being implemented using specialised survey aircraft. The project, which covers all regions of Dubai, including Hatta, is aligned with the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council, to transform Dubai into one of the world’s leading smart cities.

The aerial photography survey that has a high accuracy of 10 centimetres is one of the most important strategic projects being implemented by Dubai Municipality’s GIS Center as part of its GeoDubai initiative. The project, which will generate a twin 3D geospatial model to update the base map and inventory of the assets of government agencies in Dubai, is part of the broader mandate of the municipality’s GIS Center to collect aerial photographs and geographic data of the entire emirate.

Dawoud Al Hajri, Director-General of the Dubai Municipality, said: "The aerial photographs taken by the GeoDubai aircraft provide key inputs for decision-making and development plans and solutions. The implementation of this technologically advanced project enhances Dubai’s and the GIS Center’s position as a leading centre for the analysis and presentation of geospatial data and images. The project maintains the highest standards of accuracy and technical distinction in line with the needs of strategic partners."

Maryam Obaid Al Muhairi, Director of the GIS Center, said the process of photographing and aerial surveying goes through many stages. The first stage involves preparing the ground control points and linking them to the emirate’s coordinate system through the Global Positioning System (GPS). The second stage involves determining the aircraft lines for the survey and carrying out aerial photography. During this stage, the flight plan for the survey and the method for capturing 150 mega pixel images are determined. All required permits are also obtained from the concerned authorities, which include the Department of Civil Aviation and relevant security authorities. During the implementation period, which began on July 6, flight operations were carried out on a daily basis for a month to capture high-resolution images.

The third stage includes image processing and the preparation of digital models and corrected images. The process of simulating the flight situation in the office will be carried out and a 3D model will be produced exactly similar to the flight mode through a process known as air triangulation, using the data captured by the aircraft during flight, and the reference of ground control points associated with the coordinate system for Dubai. This will be followed by the final production of corrected aerial photographs as well as the comprehensive digital model of the altitudes.

The fourth stage is image analysis and data extraction. Geospatial data extraction and updating operations are carried out using advanced technologies like automatic detection of changes in the available geospatial data and geospatial Artificial Intelligence. The data elicited include basemap data, as well as the updated data of government assets in Dubai.

"The project provides modern and high-resolution aerial images for all parts of the emirate, in addition to updated data for the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), which includes the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and the Digital Surface Model (DSM). DEM is one of the important tools used in GIS applications and systems, which allows the beneficiaries to see a 3D terrain, helping engineers and specialists in surveying land and studying its uses. It will also facilitate the design of road networks and infrastructure, environmental and geological studies in the emirate, as well as generate data that can be used in Virtual Reality (VR) applications throughout the emirate. The project enables the GIS Center in Dubai Municipality to forecast future developments and develop response plans proactively," added Al Muhairi.

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