What is photogrammetry?

Put simply photogrammetry means taking a measurement from an image.

When photogrammetry was first used, the world used one camera and one trigonometric calculation to calculate just one measurement. Nowadays we can use 3D photogrammetry, which uses high-end digital images and billions of trigonometric calculations, which allow us to recreate the shape as a 3D point-cloud.

3D photogrammetry is essentially a simple mathematical process. With a digital camera, a notepad and a spare few thousand years, you could do it manually, but we wouldn’t recommend it. 😉

In order for us to capture high-end photogrammetry we need 3 things:

  1. Trigonometry. Invented over 2300 years ago by Hipparchus, we’re still using it today.
  2. Photography – good quality digital cameras
  3. Affordable access to heavy computing power, which was invented around 15 years ago.

Photo finish? What happens next?

Essentially, we take a suite of high-end digital photographs and process them using our super powerful PCs, into a 3D point-cloud. This means that we can show you the measurement of pretty much anything and everything that’s helpful to you. From mooring lines and flanges to pipelines and topside structures. The more inaccessible the better – we see challenge as an opportunity to showcase our capabilities!

3D scan of an FTA ISO

3D point cloud render of a subsea template

A question of why – how does photogrammetry help our clients?

So we’ve explained the ‘what’ in photogrammetry, but not addressed the ‘why’ (yet).

In industries such as archeology, film-making, or gaming, creating the 3D shape is the end goal, but not so for us. In the technical sector, completing the 3D shape is generally only the half-way mark. We then go on to analyse the collected data and interrogate the geometry within it to answer the questions you asked us at project conception.

We can perform this work on any item we can put a camera in front of and answer our clients’ big questions: How safe is this structure? What is the extent of the degradation? How can we ensure our repair clamp or upgrade modification will fit first time?

That, in a nutshell, is why we continue to pioneer high-end, high-quality applications of photogrammetry across a host of different sectors. If you have a question you need answered yesterday, and to a high level of accuracy, do let us know.


Rev Eng screenshot: profile overlay

Weld profile from a K-Node scan

Multi layered data set from a quarry scan