This summer (2010) marks the real debut of a reliable automatic generation of dense point clouds by using photogrammetry. I travelled to Switzerland in July and gave this exciting new software module a try on something that would be a real challenge to document in anyway other way – a sculpture by Henry Moore.
The four panels below show different views of the point cloud generated from these photographs. For me the real lesson in this study is that objects to be documented in this way need to be photographed in conditions that produce as even lighting as possible. One can see that some of the reflectiveness from the metal (brass) surface of the sculpture resulted in less-dense-than-desired regions in the point cloud. Still, I was excited to see how well it performed under what I now understand to be relatively harsh conditions.
The density of these point clouds is considerably higher than what photogrammetry ordinarily would produce while not being the hard-to-manage overkill produced by laser scans. what’s more, these point clouds can be enriched with the same type of smart point clouds that provide a meaningful link to both rectified photography and architectural description.