Photogrammetry Testing: Doing it properly (by someone else)

If you’ve been following my vague attempts to try different pieces of photogrammetry software, I imagine you will be very interested indeed to read the following paper: Knapitsch et al 2017 (link to paper at the bottom of that page).

The authors generate some lovely ground truth data with laser scanners, then record images with video cameras. Then they throw everything at the data sets and rank the software pipelines based on accuracy.

SPOILERS: Looks like COLMAP (which I cover here) performs best out of the freely available options, by a fair margin.

As an aside, I’ve been running COLMAP on some older, difficult datasets, and it’s been blowing me away how robust the reconstruction is.  Dense reconstruction can be a bit on the slow side, but that’s fine, you build your workflow around that.  I also like how it can be run from the command line (that is, automated and batched, with a little scripting).

As there are no other pictures in this post, here’s a pretty under-surface of a tracksite from the Paluxy River, Texas, showing off some positive sauropod manus-pes trackways. Model generated with COLMAP, visualized using Windows 10’s new 3d Viewer app:



4 thoughts on “Photogrammetry Testing: Doing it properly (by someone else)

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  1. Great page you got Peter. I was surfing around looking for reviews on SFM and photogrammetry software and found your site. After some reading I have decided to try Colmap (I had read about it earlier), but have problems installing it. I do run Windows 10 on my not so cool HP laptop with regular Intel HD Graphics. Have you got Colmap working on Windows 10?
    According to the developer, it is compiled for Windows 7 (yet another reason to switch back).

    1. I think it’s the lack of an NVidia card that’s holding you back – the dense reconstruction in Colmap relies on CUDA, and the intel HD Graphics isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid.

      At home I’m running it on Windows 10, 16gb RAM, core i7, and an NVidia GTX970.

      1. Thanks for answering. I was very inspired by your 3Ds of footprints, models of skeletons etc. I am working as an archaeologist so I got inspired from your work, and thought I will try to make some models from photos from old excavations.
        And about Colmap, I tried to no-CUDA editions, and thought it would work. But I didn’t really get it with all the dependencies, if they are necessary for running the program or not? I had some troubles trying to install CMake etc yesterday. Well I stopped and started tried Visual SFM, wich also crashed (lacking a CVMS-file?) and then downloaded a trial version of Agisoft Photoscan instead, wich worked fine.

      2. VisualSFM should work, but pmvs/cmvs need downloading separately I think. You can get windows binaries from here: and you just put the files in the same directory as visualSFm.exe.

        Having said that, yes Photoscan or Autodesk ReMake are much simpler to install and use. You might find ReMake’s online processing useful if you’re lacking a powerful graphics card.

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