Trimble Imaging & Photogrammetry Solutions

FPI-Survey-Blog-IconOne of the newer and exciting things to break into the surveying world is the use of photogrammetry in day-to- day operations. Photogrammetry has been used for a while now, but it has mostly been aerial-based, and a specialized service that only a small number of companies were able to provide. It was expensive, required highly specialized equipment, and most importantly, an airplane. With recent advancements in technology, geospatial professionals are able to utilize photogrammetry in a variety of applications, and at a large reduction in cost. So, what exactly is photogrammetry? Here we will explain the science and technology behind photogrammetry and how Trimble’s VISION portfolio can enhance your workflow, and help you produce deliverables that will set you apart from your competitors.

Pho · to · gram · me · tryThe use of photography in surveying and mapping to measure distances between objects.

Photogrammetry is the science, technology and art of obtaining reliable information from noncontact imaging and other sensor systems about the Earth and its environment, and other physical objects and processes through recording, measuring, analyzing and representation. [Click here to read more]


The Trimble VISION portfolio consists of a variety of tools designed for productivity and ease of use when capturing photogrammetric data in the field. The devices are split into two categories: Aerial Data Collection and Terrestrial Data Collection.

vision portfolio

In Aerial Photogrammetry the camera is mounted in some sort of aircraft, pointing vertically towards the ground. Trimble offers two aerial photogrammetry solutions, the X100 and the UX5. Multiple overlapping photos are taken from these aircrafts of the area of interest as they fly along a pre-defined flight path. These photos can then be integrated with ground target data and imported into Trimble Business Center. In Trimble Business Center, the user can adjust the aerial photo stations, measure photogrammetry points, create 3D point clouds from the images, create digital surface models and create digital orthophotographs.

In Terrestrial Photogrammetry the camera is “ground-based” and integrated in a Trimble robotic total station, Trimble data collector, or a Trimble imaging rover. Usually this type of photogrammetry is non-topographic – that is, the output is not a topographic product like terrain models or topographic maps, but instead it is used for drawings, 3D models, measurements, point clouds and also giving the user the ability to capture data in the office that may have been missed in the field. The Trimble terrestrial data collection devices are grouped into two categories: Stationary and Portable.

Stationary devices consist of the Trimble S-Series Robotic Total Stations. These instruments have calibrated cameras in them which allow field personnel to take either individual photos, or full panoramic photos, which are all georeferenced to their field survey data. By having an object captured in two or more photos from different locations, its position can easily be measured with survey accuracy in Trimble Business Center. Having the onboard cameras in the S-Series robots also allows the field user to have a live video feed on their data collector which allows them to “see what the instrument sees”. This is beneficial for remote measurements of objects that are inaccessible, as well as being used to find and lock on to your prism, instead of using the search method.