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Generation of 3D Models Obtained with Low-Cost RGB and Thermal Sensors Mounted on Drones

Authors: Julio Manuel de Luis Ruiz, Javier Sedano Cibrián, Rubén Pérez Álvarez, Raúl Pereda García, Felipe Piña García


Nowadays it is common to resort to aerial photography to carry out the prospection and/or exploration of archaeological sites. In recent years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been applied as the vehicles that carry the sensor. This implies certain advantages, such as the possibility of including low-cost sensors, given that these vehicles can carry the sensor at relatively low altitudes. Due to this, low-cost dual sensors have recently begun to be used. This new equipment can collaborate with classic Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) in the exploration of archaeological sites, but this entails the need for a methodological setting to optimize the acquisition, processing and exploitation of the information provided by low-cost dual sensors. This research focuses on the design of an appropriate workflow to obtain 3D models with low-cost sensors carried on UAVs, both in the RGB and thermal domains. All the foregoing has been applied to the archaeological site of Juliobriga, located in Cantabria (Spain). To this end, a flight with this type of sensors has been planned, developed and analyzed. It has been applied to the archaeological site of Juliobriga (Cantabria, Spain). A strong dependence of the thermal sensor on the GSD, and the capability of this technique to interpret underground materials. This research allows to state that the thermal nature of the site does not provide main information about the site itself, but with combination with other types of information, such as the DEM, the typology of materials, etc., can produce very positive results with respect to the exploration and knowledge of the site. 

Keywords: process optimization, RGB models, thermal models, UAV, workflow

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