Photogrammetry explained: why it’s a part of the future of structural inspection

Gerald Ganglmair

Photogrammetry enables precise digital inspection – but what is it, exactly?

Structural inspection, at periodic intervals, is of major importance to ensure the integrity of structures: their functionality, safety, and longevity. Thoroughly inspecting structures manually can be a painstaking affair, especially when it concerns a structure of significant magnitude.

 

The science behind photogrammetry

The term “photogrammetry” is a combination of three Greek words, “photos” (light), “gramma” (to draw or write), and “metron” (to measure). Together, the term denotes the science of making measurements by extracting feasible and reliable data from photographic images. This technique involves taking images to get results in the form of a map, a drawing, a measurement, or a 3D-model of some real-world object or scene. Even though the process requires solving long, boring mathematical equations to find coherence between coordinate systems, the science behind it, in reality, is fairly simple. 

A general idea can be derived from stereoscopy, meaning “seeing in stereo”. At some point in our lives, we realize that it is not possible to see in 3D with the use of just one eye. Give it a shot if you never have ­– or need a reminder. Close or cover one of your eyes and try to grab a cup of coffee. Or, better yet, try pouring water into a glass. Not as easy as you’re used to, right?

 

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