What can be achieved with drones and image processing technology when traditional scanning methods cannot be applied? Is it possible to reconstruct both an object and its surroundings (for example, the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro and Corcovado peak) and combine everything into one model? The answer is yes: We can create accurate 3D reconstructions that have never been done before…until now.

Pix4D, in collaboration with PUC University of Rio de Janeiro and Canadian UAV manufacturer Aeryon labs, took on the challenge of creating the first ever, accurate high-resolution, 3D reconstruction of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. Pix4D supplied both the image processing software for the reconstruction and knowledge on how to best acquire the necessary data, Aeryon labs supplied a highly reliable UAV with enduring quad rotor aerial platform, and the university organized project logistics (which included gaining special permission to fly the UAV near a heritage site).

Despite strong wind, fickle weather conditions, restricted hours for data acquisition, and inconsistent lighting, the project team acquired over 3,500 images. 2,090 of those images, 82 manual tie points and a linear measurement were used in Pix4Dmapper Pro to create an impressive 3D model of Christ the Redeemer and the surrounding area in high resolution. Results are in the format of a point cloud with 134.4 million points and a full textured 3D mesh with 2.5 million triangles.

For more information, check out https://pix4d.com/