New software release gives XCAM greater Circular Path capabilities

New software release gives XCAM greater Circular Path capabilities

WaldoAir, manufacturers of the revolutionary XCAM, have released their latest Flight Planner and Flight Control System. The new release makes it easier for XCAM users to systematically capture multi-look oblique imagery using the patent-pending Circular Path method.

One of the unique features of XCAM is its ability to map large areas as well as dense 3D models, all with the same pod. It can be mounted to face directly down to capture vertical aerial photography or point towards the horizon to capture obliques. It’s the oblique method that takes a while for people to get their head around, but once they do, it revolutionizes the way they think about survey.

XCAM B mounted for a 3D circle survey

This new update has been in development for the last six months and is finally ready for prime-time. It is actually the combination of a number of hardware and software improvements that make it all possible. Here’s what the team have done:

  1. Upgraded XCAM Flight Planner. XCAM users will be familiar with the current planner that produces bespoke KML files that the Flight Control System reads. This has had an upgrade that now includes options to produce Circle Path plans, optimised for the best possible production of 3D models.
  2. Upgraded Flight Control System. This software has been heavily updated to read the circular path plans as well as direct the pilot to accurately fly the circles. In testing and production the pilots have reported that it takes just a few minutes to understand the concept and then it’s just as natural as any other survey.
  3. XCAM hardware. There have been a few changes to the XCAM pod, nothing obvious from just looking at it, but under the hood there have been a number of improvements. The triggering method has been updated so that a new ‘as soon as possible’ mode allows the XCAM to be triggered when the FCS commands it to. This has been dubbed ‘ASAP’ mode and is critical to the circle operation. There has also been some new trickery added to the GPS/IMU set-up but we’ll get told off if we talk about that!
Surface tablet running new XCAM Flight Control System

The new Circle Path now allows users to:

  • Capture photo-realistic 3D models that process easily in the likes of Skyline Photomesh and Pix4D.
  • Capture near-perfect true-orthophotos (yes, true-orthos from obliques!) where we’re now clearly seeing pedestrians and individual paving stones.
  • Capture better than 5cm GSD imagery, putting XCAM firmly in competition with UAV.

These new updates have already been benefiting XCAM users and gives the likes of dedicated oblique camera systems a run for their money (especially when it comes to money!). One example is Skeye, our Market Partner in the UK who have completed a 35 square kilometre survey of Bath, UK (more to follow on this). The results have been stunning.

Bath captured in 3D using circle survey

Our aim, as ever, is to give our XCAM users a competitive advantage, both in terms of how efficiently they can operate, but also the quality of the products they can deliver to clients. We believe this new update increases this advantage and we look forward to seeing many more XCAM users flying in circles, all in the name of outstanding geospatial data!

XCAM Circle Path software and hardware updates are available to all new and existing XCAM lease model customers. Check with your GeoXphere or WaldoAir contact if a hardware upgrade is required on your pod.