Advanced aerial imagery analysis with MapBrowser & 3D content preview (Webinar recap)

Happy 2018, Nearmappers! If you’re still in a holiday haze, no worries; this week in Sydney, you can actually get a seat on the train during rush hour, as most people are still camping out with family or visiting one of our beautiful local beaches.

But if, like us, your mind’s already wandering back to the map, we'd like to catch you up on some important information and updates we shared in our December webinar.

  • Our product and business development teams did a deep dive on the most useful techniques in MapBrowser to analyse your site imagery, including our Splitview, solar, and exporting tools;

  • gave a preview of what we’re working on in the 3D content space, including high-resolution panoramic imagery captured with our new HyperCamera 2 system, measurable obliques, and DSM modelling;

  • and demo’d our new, more intuitive and easy-to-use MapBrowser, scheduled for release early this year.

If you missed the webinar or want to review, you can catch up with the recording here.

Nearmap Webinar Series

We also fielded over 200 questions during the presentation — some of the most-asked and insightful are below.

Want to find out more about our forthcoming content, or have a question about your account? Or are you considering integrating aerial imagery into your business or organisation, but aren’t sure how to get started? Get in touch.

FAQ

3D Content

How accurate are the height measurements in the Oblique imagery?

Our vertical measurement accuracy is about 15cm within a single photo.

What vertical accuracy do you expect from the 3D data sets?

We currently have 40cm RMSEz or better measured from the ground.

Will depth be measurable as part of the height measure tool?

3D content has length/height/depth dimensions and would practically support depth measurements. The height measurement tool is not designed to measure depth, but this feature is something that will be considered in the future.

Is the 3D model going to cover all current areas of Nearmap coverage, or just the major population areas?

We are putting together a coverage program specifically for our 3D content and will share that information in the near future.

It would be great to get a height raster with the same extent as the georeferenced image we download.

Our 3D content will be exportable in GeoTIFF format, among other raster formats such as ASCII Grid. GeoTIFF files are georeferenced images with height values included.

Will the 3D data be downloadable into GIS?

3D datasets will gradually be made available in formats supported by modern GIS applications. For example, Autodesk (Map3d, Infraworks) and ESRI (ArcScene, CityEngine).

Do you plan on allowing exporting of DTMs?

Nearmap does not currently produce DTM, but we will be looking at a number of ways to generate and provide this data to users.

In the 3D diagram as a single line showing building heights, will that only show it on a level base, or will it show the actual slope of the land so that we can see true heights relative to each other?

DSM provides you with an understanding of an elevation surface profile. Imagine you drape a blanket over the Earth — you'll be able to view the height of all structures above ground level. Nearmap’s DSM looks from above at all the different variations in height, including tree canopy, buildings, and gaps between buildings, anywhere our cameras can capture.

Our DSM also undergoes vertical height datum processing to ensure that the vertical height difference in consideration with the curvature and terrain of the Earth's surface is minimised. Our DSM has a 40cm RMSEz vertical accuracy measure.

Will 3D be available for vegetation or will it be limited to buildings?

Nearmap 3D content uses our next-generation camera systems to collect wide-area reality captures. This means all detectable objects are captured at high resolution and processed to produce a 3D photo-realistic model showing all features with very fine detail.

Will we able to accurately measure a rooftop area of a residential property, taking into consideration the pitch of the roof structure?

Nearmap imagery captured with our latest camera system has 5.8cm GSD and 28cm RMSExy. Features such as measuring roof pitch are on our future roadmap.

What if the building is blocked by other buildings in the 3D view? Will you get to see through other buildings that are in the way?

Our imagery will allow you to virtually "fly around" each building to get past obstructions that are blocking any structure you wish to see; however, you won't be "seeing through" buildings as though they are translucent. High definition imagery applied as a texture layer allows you to view buildings as they appear in the real world: if it's made of glass, you'll view it as a glass building, or if it’s made of brick, it will appear as a brick building. The imagery will be viewable in 360 degrees, providing a realistic line of sight so you can navigate to explore different views to explore between, on top of, or on the sides of buildings.

MapBrowser and Tools

When does the new MapBrowser come out?

The new MapBrowser will be made available to all of our users in Q1 of 2018. Keep an eye out for an email with more details.

How do you become a beta customer?

If you're interested in getting early access to the new MapBrowser and other features, contact your account manger or email our support team at support@nearmap.com.

In the new version of MapBrowser, can we save/print images in Multiview and 3D? Currently it only saves/prints in aerial (ortho) view.

Yes, in the new MapBrowser, you will be able to print all base layers — Vertical, Panorama, Oblique (when available), or road maps. You will also be able to include things you’ve drawn on the map, such as measurements and annotations. Currently, you can save the image as a .png file, and over time we'll develop that feature to include additional file options.

You can't rotate the map when in bird's eye (vertical) or Multiview at the moment. Will this be addressed in the new version of MapBrowser?

The new version of MapBrowser supports rotating the Vertical (bird's eye) and Panorama (Multiview) imagery. The 3D format and visualisation allow for 360 degree rotation.

For measuring heights, must I start from the bottom up or can it be top down?

Yes, it can be top down; this feature is being built to accommodate both. Some people find it easier to measure bottom up, as you can pick the ground point more accurately. But up to you as per your preference; the feature supports both.

Can you zoom in by smaller steps and if so how? I currently use the “+” and “-” keys.

Within our current MapBrowser, this is not an available feature. We are only able to provide specific zoom levels. Our new MapBrowser (currently in development) will allow users to use discreet zoom levels. This means that it will display our imagery much more quickly and smoothly. It will also be able to display our imagery between current zoom levels.

How do I get a good resolution print out? Generally I have to take a screen copy to get a print and quality is not so good.

You can export a high resolution image by clicking on the camera button on the left hand side of MapBrowser. You then have a drop-down that lets you choose the resolution; it is automatically set to the highest resolution. Select the relevant projection, then export. If you plan to use the export in an application such as CAD or ArcGIS, make sure you check the “include georeferenced file” option before exporting.

How do I access Splitview?

There is a small time clock icon in the top right corner (next to the admin section). You can click that and it will split the screen in half; you can then choose the different dates of the images you wish to compare.

How do I search with geocoordinates rather than address?

You are able to search for latitude/longitude coordinates (decimal degrees) by adding an @ symbol to the start of your query. For example: @-33.856740, 151.215010.

Can locations be bookmarked or saved as favourites?

The location tool is able to create a URL that can be shared or searched by easily opening the URL. You will also be able to bookmark these URLs for easy access. For more information regarding the location tool, please review this support article: https://support.nearmap.com/hc/en-us/articles/228493168-MapBrowser-Toolbar-overview#Location

Is there a way to capture the exact imagery location over time without having redrag again and again over the same area?

When defining a location for which you would like to save an image, you'll be able to keep the existing defined bounding box on screen and still change the timeline date. This will update the background imagery and allow you to save the image at a similar location. Please understand that there will be small shifts in our imagery when browsing our timeline. Our imagery is accurate to 0.75m RMSE.

I notice that often the cadastre boundaries don't line up with the actual fence line shown on the map view. What is the source of the cadastral data?

The cadastre boundaries come from PSMA, who source the data from state authorities, who in turn are ultimately responsible for ensuring accuracy. The states manage their own accuracy improvements based on their needs and priorities. PSMA states that the boundary accuracy in urban areas is 2m and in rural areas up to 10m. Please note that neither Nearmap or PSMA alter this information before being displayed. Unfortunately, this means that Nearmap and PSMA are unable to correct any misalignments or errors that are identified.

When will Street View be updated to reflect the changes in map view?

Street View is provided to us by Google. Whatever they provide to us via their API is what you'll see. We've placed Street View inside of MapBrowser as a convenience, but you can always choose to navigate to Street View in a separate window. Unfortunately, we can't control Street View data, as it's coming directly from Google.

Data Usage and Pricing

Do the new features cost extra?

At this stage, we are still developing our 3D products and new features such as Measurable Obliques. If you are interested in these products, you can register at https://goto.nearmap.com/register-your-interest. You may also contact your account manager to discuss your individual needs.

With the HyperCamera 2 content, will I be charged more for what I view?

How you use our product will continue to define the amount of data you consume. Panning, zooming in and out, and searching new locations will continue to be the primary data use for all accounts. The new imagery will continue to be retrieved through individual tiles, and these tiles will not use more data.

How can I find out how much data I’m consuming?

Account administrators have access to the monthly usage details of their account. This will display both a usage summary for the whole account and a summary broken down by user for the last two months. Please review this documentation for more information: https://support.nearmap.com/hc/en-us/articles/213093077-Administrators-View-account-data-usage.

How is usage calculated? Is it the amount of time spent with the Nearmap browser open, or downloaded images, or something else?

Nearmap imagery is split into multiple small tiles. These tiles are stitched together to build the map you view. New tiles are downloaded to either build a new map or add to the map you are viewing. For example, when dragging the map to the left, the tiles on the left leave the screen and are discarded. The MapBrowser will however download new tiles to fill in the imagery on the right of the page. Alternatively, when you zoom in/out or search a new address, the MapBrowser will download a full page of new tiles. Usage is only accumulated when downloading tiles. This means that if you leave a page open on a map, you will not consume more usage. If you close the map and reopen it, you will re-download the previous map.

When using the camera screenshot tool, does it use up the monthly usage allowance?

The expected process for saving imagery is to first search a new location and then save the image by either defining the location or saving the full map. In this scenario, the usage attributed to the saving of the image is not added to your consumption. Although in this scenario we do not include this usage, we still monitor its consumption in case of abuse.

When a user zooms in on a image (sometimes in and out multiple times for the same image) does it consume more of the monthly usage?

Yes. Each time that you zoom in/out, the previous map that you were viewing is discarded and a new map is downloaded and displayed on your screen. To save data, we recommend that users don't needlessly zoom in/out.

How does the Watchlist feature impact data consumption?

Reviewing and updating your Watchlist via the account admin portal does not consume your Nearmap data allowance. Viewing the Watchlist location (or the new imagery) in the MapBrowser will, however, consume standard usage on your account.

When you view Street View, is it counted as data downloaded within my subscription?

Google Street View imagery is provided to us by Google. This imagery is not included within your account usage. Customers are only able to accrue usage on their account by downloading Nearmap imagery.

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