Free/cheap ortophoto service

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Nov 27, 2017
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Hi guys,

I'm an OpenStreetMap contributor and also Mavic owner. OSM is a free crowd sourced map platform used in many applications. We can draw maps from Bing imagery, but it is often old or in very low resolution. Here I think ortophoto imagery shot from my Mavic can help a lot.

For this purpose I need a geotiff or tiles and from there I can get data into my mapping editor.

I've checked DroneDeploy and I'm impressed with it. But my initial account there will be limited after 10 maps and after this I think I won't be able to export a geotiff from it. DD prices are about $100/month.

Second option I've checked is MapsMadeEasy. I'm still waiting for my sample images to get stitched, but this job will exhaust all my "free points". From there I would still be able to use it for free, but will be severely limited in number of photos that would be stitched at once. MME pricing is about $10 per map of this size.

Third option is a free opensource tool - OpenDroneMap. Tried it, but I'm not satisfied with the results. High buildings get lots of parallax stitching errors.

I know ortophoto computing can be really demanding in terms of resources. But can you recommend me any cheaper or pretty much desired - free, service for this task? I won't be making any money from it and mapping results will be of a much public good, I think.
 
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WebODM is actually a OpenDroneMap interface, which is not giving me good results.
COLMAP if I understand correctly is a tool for generating 3D models.

Okay, I've been going for some time on this path and I have some more research about it.
I got going with MapsMadeEasy free plan. It is limited to 100 photos per map, but that is usually enough for my purposes. It produces a descent GeoTIFF which I'm able to convert to tiles with GDAL.

I have had some more experience with DroneDeploy, too. Their mobile app is kinda broken on my device (CAT S60) and their list of supported devices is kinda short. I have been also talking to their support about the mobile interface improvements and bugs in the desktop planner. They are going to release a new versions with fixes/improvements incrementally and I might check them out again after some time.
 
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The pay services seem the best— pix4d, dd, etc. I used WebODM with Docker and kept running out of memory. So I built a pendrivelinux Ubuntu with ODM and it has been working great.

The results seem best if I take the jpgs into Lightroom first & autofix them. Not sure if that would help on buildings but it sure made a difference in shadows.
 

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