The application of structure from motion–multiview stereo (SfM-MVS) photogrammetry to map metric- to hectometric-scale exposures facilitates the production of three-dimensional (3-D) surface reconstructions with centimeter resolution and range error. In order to be useful for geospatial data interrogation, models must be correctly located, scaled, and oriented, which typically requires the geolocation of manually positioned ground control points with survey-grade accuracy. The cost and operational complexity of portable tools capable of achieving such positional accuracy and precision is a major obstacle in the routine deployment of SfM-MVS photogrammetry in many fields, including geological fieldwork. Here, we propose a procedure to overcome this limitation and to produce satisfactorily oriented models, which involves the use of photo orientation information recorded by smartphones. Photos captured with smartphones are used to: (1) build test models for evaluating the accuracy of the method, and (2) build smartphone-derived models of outcrops, used to reference higher-resolution models reconstructed from image data collected using digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) and mirrorless cameras. Our results are encouraging and indicate that the proposed workflow can produce registrations with high relative accuracies using consumer-grade smartphones. We also find that comparison between measured and estimated photo orientation can be successfully used to detect errors and distortions within the 3-D models.

Gold Open Access: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY-NC license.
This content is PDF only. Please click on the PDF icon to access.

Supplementary data