LiDAR Vs Photogrammetry

LiDAR and photogrammetry are two methodologies used to create detailed 3D models and maps of environments. Both techniques have their unique strengths, limitations, and suitable applications.

LiDAR – Active measurement (Lasers)

How it works

Capturing Fine Detail

OR3D GEO utilises the Matrice 300 drone equipped with the Yellowscan Ultra 3 LiDAR unit emitting 640,000 lines per second and 3 Echoes per shot, achieving exceptional accuracy (+/- 25mm) and precision (+/- 30mm) in distance measurements. This technology captures intricate details such as tree structures and bare earth – DTM (Digital Terrain Models). Penetrating forest/woodland canopies and heavily vegetated ground to capture the true ground level beneath. Being laser based it will operate all lighting conditions, including night time.


Photogrammetry is a technique that involves using photographs to measure and analyse objects and structures. Multiple overlapping photographs of the target object or surface are taken from different angles.

Principles of Photogrammetry – Passive Measurement (2D Imagery)

High resolution cameras and drones: OR3D GEO use the Matrice 300 drone with a full frame camera to capture the highest quality images for your inspection project. The Matrice is programmed with automated flight paths to ensure consistent GSD (Ground Sampling Distance) coverage.  Depending on the application (crack detection) 1 millimetre GSD’s are possible to achieve

Image Alignment: Using photogrammetry software from PIX4D, the images are aligned, identifying common points to create a point cloud.

Model Creation – Positioning of individual images through the use of geo referenced image data and image matching using Aero Triangulation algorithms.

Utilising Photogrammetry for Crack Detection

OR3D GEO were appointed by one of our clients to identify cracks and delamination on the surface of cooling towers using a high resolution 3D model.

The project required the creation of a high-resolution 3D model to meticulously inspect the structural integrity of these towers. By employing advanced photogrammetry techniques, OR3D GEO captured detailed images of the cooling towers from multiple angles. These images were then processed and put together to form an accurate, comprehensive 3D model.

This model enabled precise identification and analysis of surface imperfections, such as cracks and delamination, which are critical to maintaining the safety and efficiency of the cooling towers, dams. bridge inspections – just trying to broaden it out a bit

​The use of photogrammetry in this project not only provided a non-invasive method for structural analysis but also offered a detailed visual record that can be referenced for future inspections and maintenance.

Cooling Tower 3D Model

Valuable tools for 3D Mapping and Modelling

Both LiDAR and photogrammetry are valuable tools for 3D mapping and modelling, with each having its own advantages and best-use scenarios. LiDAR excels in its ability to penetrate vegetation, making it ideal for topographic mapping, forestry, and infrastructure projects. Photogrammetry provides rich visual data, suitable for crack detection, site documentation, construction monitoring, and agricultural analysis.  LiDAR provides faster speeds in producing the 3D models compared to processing Photogrammetry 3D models.

The choice between LiDAR and photogrammetry ultimately depends on the specific requirements of the project, including accuracy, budget, environmental conditions, and the type of data needed.

Get in touch

What happens next?
  • Our expert team will review your enquiry and get back to you by phone or email within two hours.
  • We can answer any queries you may have, assist you in choosing the most appropriate product or get back to you with a quote for your upcoming project. We’re here to help.

Speak to us today on
+44 (0) 1691 777 774

3 Cedar Court, Brynkinalt Business Centre, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5NS
Find Us