DETAILED AND HIGHLY ACCURATE 3D MODELS OF HIGH MOUNTAIN AREAS BY THE MACS-HIMALAYA AERIAL CAMERA PLATFORM
- German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Optical Sensor Systems, Berlin, Germany
Keywords: 3D Model, Himalaya, MACS, Aerial Camera, DEM, Mt. Everest, glacier mass balance, HDR
Abstract. Remote sensing in areas with extreme altitude differences is particularly challenging. In high mountain areas specifically, steep slopes result in reduced ground pixel resolution and degraded quality in the DEM. Exceptionally high brightness differences can in part no longer be imaged by the sensors. Nevertheless, detailed information about mountainous regions is highly relevant: time and again glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) and debris avalanches claim dozens of victims. Glaciers are sensitive to climate change and must be carefully monitored.
Very detailed and accurate 3D maps provide a basic tool for the analysis of natural hazards and the monitoring of glacier surfaces in high mountain areas. There is a gap here, because the desired accuracies are often not achieved.
It is for this reason that the DLR Institute of Optical Sensor Systems has developed a new aerial camera, the MACS-Himalaya. The measuring unit comprises four camera modules with an overall aperture angle of 116° perpendicular to the direction of flight. A High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode was introduced so that within a scene, bright areas such as sun-flooded snow and dark areas such as shaded stone can be imaged. In 2014, a measuring survey was performed on the Nepalese side of the Himalayas. The remote sensing system was carried by a Stemme S10 motor glider. Amongst other targets, the Seti Valley, Kali-Gandaki Valley and the Mt. Everest/Khumbu Region were imaged at heights up to 9,200 m. Products such as dense point clouds, DSMs and true orthomosaics with a ground pixel resolution of up to 15 cm were produced. Special challenges and gaps in the investigation of high mountain areas, approaches for resolution of these problems, the camera system and the state of evaluation are presented with examples.