Why is it good to close a 3D photogrammetry project as soon as possible? Let’s take a look at the organization of a fictitious project. A customer arrives from somewhere who wants to order a survey for some reason, and for this the client first asks for an offer. If the deadlines, descriptions and, of course, finances are suitable for him/her, the customer orders the work. If you are able to complete the project ahead of the schedule, the predetermined commitment price does not necessarily change, but there are several advantages still. On the one hand, your judgment will be positive about how well and quickly you work. On the other hand, due to the earlier closing of the project, you can take on more work, so your income will increase. But how can you complete a 3D photogrammetry survey faster? We will take up this issue, but not from the point of view of building a server farm on which you can process 10,000 images in 5 minutes… This current article is much more about project organization and customer relations.
The output files of the photogrammetry survey can be large point clouds, orthomosaics, digital elevation models (DEM) and 3D models. These can be difficult to share with the client and colleagues. It is strongly recommended to use the SurveyTransfer data sharing software! For more information, visit the website of the software manufacturer by clicking HERE.
1. CREATE VERSIONS OF THE PROJECT FILE
There are many stages of photogrammetry processing (e.g., sparse point cloud, dense point cloud, referencing, 3D model, texture, orthophoto mosaics, DEM, and so on, read about the details here) Sometimes partial results have to be modified or corrected manually or even automatically. In this case, it is worth creating several different versions and saving the photogrammetry project file like this.
I know that a lot of storage space is lost due to versioning, but you can delete unnecessary versions afterwards. The advantage is time, once again! If for some reason (e.g., you masked a too large area and cut out a 3D space that shouldn’t have been) you need to go back 1-2 steps to a previous version, then you save much more time with versioning, since you do not start the entire photogrammetry processing from the beginning. Versioning can save you weeks in extreme cases.
2. CONSULT FREQUENTLY WITH THE CUSTOMER ABOUT 3D PARTIAL RESULTS
In many cases, the difficulty of a photogrammetry project is caused by inadequate communication between the surveyor and the client. There can be many reasons for this, let me mention a few examples:
- the client is not aware of technological limitations;
- it is not clear what result the client wants;
- it is not precisely laid out in what form the result should be delivered.
How can you resolve this communication barrier? Even before the project initiation meeting, tell the potential client the risks and solution proposals and possibilities in the simplest possible terms. This clears up a lot of things and you even instill confidence in the client. Prepare regular reports on where the project is and share them with the client. In many cases, a screenshot can help to imagine what results you got during 3D processing or analyses. Due to the regular, quick reporting, if the project starts to slip (the customer wants something different than what exists in the surveyor’s mind) – then this will be revealed early, and the session can still be improved. Just think how much it sucks if you agree with the client and after a few weeks when you submit a 3D file with a nice description, the client tells you that it’s not what he/she meant/not in this form and your last 1 week’s work goes to waste. This is a serious financial loss that you can pass on to your client – spoiler: if you charge extra costs, there is little chance that they will be a repeat customer – or you can accept the situation and hope that the budget balance of the project does not turn out to be negative.
Isn’t it easy to throw a lot of money out the window just because the communication wasn’t right? Communication is most effective when you have the same conceptual system. It helps a lot if you have a collaboration tool that allows you to examine the same 3D photogrammetry file (point cloud, 3D model, etc.) with your client. If you have such a tool, the various versions can also be displayed, so you can follow the development of the entire project together with the customer. In other words, using a collaboration interface, there will be no communication barrier, since you both see and experience the same thing throughout the project.
3. USE WEB BASED DATA SHARING FOR LARGE PHOTOGRAMMETRY FILES
If you often want to present partial results to your client, you will need two different tools: a communication channel and a data sharing tool. In terms of communication, you must regularly organize personal meetings or online meetings. Face-to-face meetings can be quite time-consuming, especially if they require a lot of travel. From the point of view of photogrammetry project organization, it may be more advantageous to hold a web video conference. Great, we have the time-saving communication interface! But what about data transfer? You have the option to share the screen during the meeting, but this does not solve the problem of your client viewing the results independently. Use an online data sharing service to transfer large 3D files! For quick project closure, these are the most advantageous, since any partial results are available on the web until the photogrammetry project is closed.
4. PROVIDE AN INTUITIVE 3D VISUALIZER TOOL
There is only one problem with most of the web data sharers mentioned in the previous point – such as Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox – they do not provide map or 3D visualization. A traditional online data sharing tool can be considered a slow method, because direct visualization without download time is not possible. Most surveyors recommend their clients to download the map or 3D file and open it with some software. If the customer does not have a special program, free solutions are available: usually QGIS for maps; CloudCompare or Blender for a 3D model or a point cloud.
This way of data sharing and representation is an outdated solution in many ways! On the one hand, it hinders the closing of the project, since the client can only look at the results by downloading the files. To download, install a software, open it, and then report back to you, can even take days. On the other hand, most users don’t want to bother with installing extra programs (especially they don’t want to install 2-3 programs!).
In terms of project organization, the most modern and advantageous solution is offered by SurveyTransfer! This is an innovative, web-based geospatial data sharing tool that offers users a built-in map and 3D model space. All you have to do is create the project, upload the files, and then share all this with the customer. You and your client can browse the files through the same interface, without downloading time or software installation!
Want to see it in action? Watch the following short video!
5. SHARE THE RESULTS OF PHOTOGRAMMETRY PROCESSING EARLY WITH THE CUSTOMER
Speaking of SurveyTransfer… during the entire 3D photogrammetry project, you should also share partial results with the client through it. Here, you can work together on a successful and fast project closure through a private, secure channel.
You can organize the partial results in separate map and 3D views, named according to version, so the organization of the entire project will be easy to follow. This data sharing tool is also a data visualization and collaboration interface, which greatly facilitates communication and speeds up the closing of projects. If your client can look at the partial results at any time, there will certainly be no communication barrier between you, since you see the same maps and 3D files. As we started the summary: if you are faster, you can take on more projects, i.e., you can earn more income. SurveyTransfer is extremely helpful in this!
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