3D survey of apple fields

Is it possible to create a 3D survey of a field of apple trees? I know this is pretty straightforward for constructions sites and other non-organic subject matter, but can the same approach be used for trees with all of the moving detail that they have? What my client is looking for is a way to look at all sides of a tree, instead of the usual top down only view.

This is a good question, not sure if you already use Pix4D, but we both have the same need!

I take advantage of phase one (step one) processing extensively to do what you are asking for but in my case it’s on cell towers.

Phase one organizes all the image data via VSM technique, each point in the sparse model is associated back to the corresponding images that created that point, from here it’s possible to view any issues from multiple angles to better understand an issue.

In your case this is not so easy because of obstacle clearances, so getting a nice semi-symmetrical characterization is less on each tree. However phase is completed in short order an analyst of each tree can begin.

This would be another good feature that Pix4D cloud could serve out data to your client.

I’ve asked other third party software people for something like this but not found a “nice” solution, and scents phase one must be completed in Pix4D in order for phase two and/or three outputs, that we have already created the files need to upload to Pix4D cloud.

In any case this is data heavy and my not suit your needs. Sorry, I offer no “nice” solutions but to some degree there are options out there but not nice ones in my opinion.


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Hi Gary,

Yes, I am using Pix4D, but am definitely on the novice end of understanding all it can do. I have a feeling that the processing required to create a 3D map of a large orchard would be huge. I’ll keep poking around in case I find another option.




If there is not much movement in the leaves due to wind, you can get a 3D map. It won’t be very accurate though. There must be at least 2 flights, one oblique, and one nadir. It is good to have two oblique flights and 1 nadir so that both the sides of the trees are captured. The projects can then be merged. There will still be holes below the trees as the canopy will hide the leaves, branches, and soil below.

I was thinking it would need two oblique flights, rotated 90 degrees of each other, but I didn’t realize a nadir one would be required as well. Since the MicaSense Atlas site can’t work with 3D models, I’ll need to research how to deliver these 3D surveys. Thanks!

Thanks Mark, keep us in mind if something interesting, comes up!


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Thank you Momtanu!

There is more to data collection than many believe. Experience with data collection techniques is the only way to mitigate down stream data problems. In the movie business we always worked hard to get the clearest negatives as possible. From there a director has the foundation to build his story on, same is true in data collection.

Hope you day is great!


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@Gary I totally agree! Data collection is the first and most important step to creating a proper model. Also very true, 'From there a director has the foundation to build his story on, same is true in data collection"