ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume X-1-2024
09 May 2024
 | 09 May 2024

Updating Orthophotos around Gas Pipelines based on "Cloud Control" Photogrammetry

Lei Qin, Yawen Liu, Xinbo Zhao, and Yansong Duan

Keywords: Long-distance Natural Gas Pipelines, Orthophoto Updating, "Cloud Control" Photogrammetry, UAV, Image Registration

Abstract. As a clean energy source, natural gas is widely used and primarily transported through long-distance pipelines. Regular maintenance and inspection of long-distance gas pipelines are crucial tasks. Due to the extensive coverage and distance of these pipelines, the workload is enormous. It is necessary to first identify areas of change, which can be carried out using multiple sets of orthophotos produced by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). However, UAV images have small footprints and significant geometric distortions, requiring a large number of ground control points (GCPs) for accurate positioning. Measuring these points in the field is challenging and time-consuming, becoming a key factor limiting the rapid production of orthophotos. To overcome this challenge, this paper introduces the "cloud control" photogrammetry technology to achieve fully automatic updates of orthophotos around long-distance pipelines, providing foundational data for the maintenance and inspection of these gas pipelines. This method replaces GCPs with images containing known orientation parameters, serving as control information. By matching tie points between new and old images, the "cloud control points" are transferred to the new images, enabling the image registration and production of orthophotos. The experiments conducted on the Fumin and Zhaotong segments of a long-distance gas pipeline in Yunnan Province demonstrate that, for UAV images with a ground resolution of 0.05 meters, using the "cloud control" method achieves a planar accuracy of 0.05 meters and an elevation accuracy of 0.07 meters. These results are comparable to the accuracy obtained by orienting the results using GCPs.