Vertical Bluff - Terrain or Structure?


Which to use, Terrain or Structure for processing a Verticle Bluff? Can I program that with a drone? Which is a good ground camera that is out there that works with GPS and will blend with the DJI drone imagery??

Thank You.


I’d fly along it manually sideways at different levels looking 30-60 degrees down getting good overlaps. Just click the shutter manually. Upload them all as one map.


Well, that’s kinda what I did. Appears to be some gaps though. Wonder how I can improve the quality. There seems to be a lot of smearing also. Here is one of them:;jwt_token=eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJ0eXBlIjoiUmVhZE9ubHlQbGFuIiwiaWQiOiI1YWYwYzAyYzQ1YjY1ZTJmYjk3NTdmZjAiLCJleHAiOjI1MzQwMjMwMDc5OX0.EVi7QZmDutO-J3FXu_cu8Uwyi_F7hmiTTjmpY_BPPTfzMf9u9luJXgVC_L5qmdf4gU0yNRSIvOKdGiV9d4NTlw


Hi @SightFlight,

I suggest taking a look at and trying out the following:

  1. Making Successful Maps: This support document has several best practices to get quality maps.
  2. Remove the images containing the horizon at 150 ft.
  3. Fly 250 ft. above the surface
  4. Upload your images as Structures

I would also recommend capturing more images. Having at least 100 will help increase the quality of your map.



Hi Christina ~
Thank You for your reply. In response to your suggestions:

  1. Okay, I’ll re-read that document.
  2. I can remove the Horizon images and try it again to see what happens.
  3. 250 ft above the surface? ah… this is a vertical wall, not needing to look down at it, but horizontally at it.
    So does this mean I need to be 250’ away horizontally, (laterally), from it for best stitching quality?
  4. I did upload it as Structure instead of Terrain.

I shot a full coverage, but my overlap was manual, so it may not have been enough overlap.
I don’t understand the holes, or the smearing.

Is there any possibility to do any post-production stitching manually to get things to line up better?

Thank You.


I think that the angles you used are the culprit and the horizon inclusion is a result of that. Seems like you are on the right path. I would do one nadir flight over then at about 100-150’ off the face do a vertical grid. This is how we do vertical faces and buildings for inspection. Of course you will want more shot than my drawing.

I am assuming that you are not look for cm survey-grade accuracy? We aren’t for inspections, just a good stitch and model.



Hi Christina ~
When I’m wanting a detailed overhang of a 3D Structure made, is it possible to shoot with a hand-held camera that has GPS recorded in the metadata of the image, and combine them with the drone shots?? If so, which camerra models are best? Is there any article that explains this procedure? Or why it is not possible…
Thank You


Hi @SightFlight,

All images that are uploaded into our processing engine must be taken with a drone. For your reference, here is a list of hardware we currently support at Supported Drones.



Thank You Christina.

May I ask why it has to be only with a drone? Doesn’t it just use the embedded GPS coordinates in the images metadata?


and so, what about using the same drone to take stills while hand-holding the drone?


Hello @SightFlight That may work but we only advise against that because you will be too close to the ground for a good stitch.


Thank You Yusuf ~
So being too close to the ground or side-facing features, is it the lack of a good overlap that’s a problem? Do you have a link to show capturing good detailed structures?
I’m asked to do a rock bluff face with over-hanging ledges. Here is what I’ve done so far:

Thank You in advance for your advice.


You can’t use another camera because you would need the ability to use multiple camera profiles like you can do in Pix4D. Also, the specs on the GPS are different and probably won’t mesh well.


Oh, I thought DroneDeploy used Pix4D for their background engine.
Anyway, what about using the drone camera for the ground stills. Same camera profile, just not flying on the air!
If I keep the Stills shot with a certain amount of overlap, and at a useable distance, wouldn’t that work?
What do people DO in this situation? Use Pix4D, or some other 3D Modeling software?


It’s not the engine itself, just the features and settings we have access to. Pix4D it is a great software, but it can be overwhelming and over complicated for the average user. One of the main reasons I chose DroneDeploy for our company was for the simplicity so a construction worker would adopt it.
You’re on point with the idea of using the drone for the complimentary shots. I just walk around with it like a normal camera. A little awkward holding it and firing the shutter… and tiring :grin:.