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Extract building corners fast and precise with X-ray function

Karst is a beautiful region of Slovenia, most famous for a long list of natural and cultural heritage wonders. Bora-swept region is home to a unique subterranean landscape, like the famous Postojna Cave and the Škocjan Cave, Lake Cerknica, one of the largest intermittent lakes in Europe, Lipizzaner horses, red wine and very specific architecture.



Architecture company was contracted to make a survey map of the rustic villa for the purpose of establishing cadastral boundaries and Historical Restoration of the Villa with several courtyards and external walls, very common for karst architecture. Outcome data needs to allow complete 1:1 replication of original architecture.

The problem

Several courtyards and crocked old walls are making this project extremely complex as it is difficult to measure and collect all the appropriate number of points needed for high-quality data which would later allow proper restauration and documentation.

Taking traditional approach with total station was extremely time consuming and complex (due to number of points measured and the fact that total station needs to be moved around) and it did not provide enough of quality data and level of accuracy that was expected.


Due to the challenges, they had with accuracy and number of points to be measured, architectural company decided to try for the first time, completely new approach for them, so they contacted 3Dsurvey team to help them with completing the survey map with the use of a drone and 3Dsurvey software.  For the purpose of this project Marko and Vid (3Dsurvey Team) went on the field together with the architect, to take pictures of location and Villa with drone, so they could later on process all the data in the office.


In only 2 hours, team has taken 617 images in 3 flight missions with Phantom 4 RTK. First mission was a top-down mission to secure good images of the rooftops. In a second mission they chose “double grid” used to take images from multiple sides and suitable for flying closer to objects so it can capture more vertical details. Third mission was done in manual mode to collect additional images of the critical parts of the house for better detail.

To achieve a survey grade accuracy 5 special 3Dsurvey Ground control targets were used which are automatically located on images during the processing stage. On top, to properly and accurately measure building corners, special function called X-RAY was used, which allows user to draw walls without even measuring them.

With this, work on the field was completed.

Project tools and specs:

Drone: DJI Phantom 4 RTK

Number of images: 617 images (4 flight mission; 3 using DJI flight app, 1 manual)

area of interest: 150m x 120m.

Field survey took 2 hours. 2 persons involved

Location: Village Sveto, Slovenia


Processing part is always done in the office.  For this project It took less than 1 hour for images and telemetry to be imported into the software. Import was followed by first part of the workflow which is orientation step, where user needs to orientate automatically recognised ground control points with GNSS measurements. This is all that needs to be done for the reconstruction step which creates a highly detailed 3D point cloud model.

Creating and orthophoto map of the walls is next step in the process. Instead of manual line drawing and trying to find the correct points which follow the wall lines and corners, team used the latest feature of 3Dsurvey called X-RAY. This feature automatically creates an orthophoto map of the walls, by recognizing groups of vertical points and identifying them as walls of the building. X-RAY makes walls visible on the map through the rooftops and it can be later draped on the digital terrain model and boundaries are simply drawn with CAD tools in no time and effort, which decreases amount of time needed to draw the lines by 10-fold and also increases accuracy of the project.


  • 3D model in OBJ format – standard 3D format
  • Orthophoto map in JPG and KMZ ready for Google Earth 
  • CAD lines in DXF


  • 10 x Faster and easier drawing of walls and corners for survey map
  • No need for addition measurements with toll station on the field
  • More accurate comparing to traditional approach with total station.

Want to know how you can do this in practice, watch the on demand webinar.