Post Processing

Commercial software: Producing ortho-rectified 2D photo-mosaics and 3D Digital Surface Models

The most straightforward method of post processing aerial photographs is to stitch them together using commercially available software, such as Kolor AutoPano Giga, PIX4D, Agisoft PhotoScan and others. The resultant mosaic is essentially a near real-time land-use and land-cover map that could be used for monitoring land-use change. Most of these software packages are very easy to use, and some of them can produce not only ortho-rectified 2D photo-mosaics but also 3D Digital Surface Models. However, they can cost between several hundreds to over ten thousand dollars. Microsoft offers a free Image Composite Editor that could be used for a quick-and-dirty stitching job. However, it does not ortho-rectify the resultant product, nor does it create 3D models.

Online services: specializes in the generation of geo-referenced Orthomosaics and Digital Elevation Models from aerial images obtained by UAVs and/or manned aircraft. They operate an innovative Software as a Service (SaaS) system that allows UAV or manned aircraft pilots to upload and manage their imagery processing through this web based interface. They also offer extensive imagery consulting, data management, data cleanup, software development and GIS services to our customers and partners.

The video below shows a 3D forest model of a transect in Sumatra, Indonesia, based on aerial images acquired by Conservation Drones. Data were processed by, and animated by Ervine Lin of the ETH Future Cities Laboratory (

Open-source solutions

There are also open-source solutions out there. Brenden Duffy from has produced several awesome video tutorials on how to use them. Visit his website for more.