John Wolcott: Thanks for your comments – I appreciate your informed perspective. I do understand (in broad outline) what Pix4Dmapper does in the default case. But the sophistication of that algorithm obviously requires highest quality inputs and careful attention to software parameters, otherwise it fails completely and ungracefully. So what I don’t understand is why the software doesn’t include a more robust fallback algorithm that will still successfully generate a usable (if not full-featured) product when overlap, contrast, and/or resolution are less than ideal, as they sometimes unavoidably are. As I think I mentioned elsewhere, the human eye could match up my thermal images well enough to generate a usable mosaic, given enough time and patience and knowing in advance the spatial arrangement of the images.
Like Reto, I also don’t understand why the software requires the thermal and RGB images to be processed separately rather than synergistically. If I were writing the algorithm (and I may have to at some level; see below), I would use the camera positions/orientations and elevation model derived from the RGB images to inform the mapping of the corresponding thermal images, presumably reducing the need for feature matching in the thermal image set. Even minor time synchronization issues mentioned elsewhere shouldn’t necessarily be complete showstoppers.
At the moment, I’m stuck with 360+ images per flight from a $7500 camera, taken from a several-day trip to another state, that look “good enough” when viewed individually – and have reasonable geolocation and orientation info – but for which I have been unable to find a software tool that will allow me to reliably produce even a crude thermal mosaic of a rectangular, relatively flat 40-hectare field (but I have admittedly not yet tried the settings recommended by Momtanu).
Greatly compounding my frustration is the fact that FLIR’s R_JPEG format is proprietary, so other software tools I have looked at don’t know how to utilize the files. I had not planned to learn to program C# in a dot-net/Windows environment so as to be able to use FLIR’s Atlas SDK, but right now that seems like my most promising option for doing the intended science with these images.
My impression is that this thread about the FLIR Duo Pro R camera is one of the longer threads in the forum. There’s clearly interest in, and high expectations for, the RGB/thermal combination and there’s clearly disappointment among at least a few users that it doesn’t “just work” with Pix4Dmapper out of the box – no messing with camera internal parameters, etc. I’m not sure how many of these units FLIR expects to sell once word gets out that there’s poor end-user software support for this unit, especially once you get away from the most common use cases.