3D modelling with DJI Terra: a real-life case study

Japan is protecting its cultural heritage with drone data and mapping. By creating 3D models using DJI Terra, a Japanese city now has access to every detail on the construction of centuries-old buildings and monuments.


Japan’s topography and extreme climatic variations make the country strikingly prone to natural disaster. Earthquakes and tsunamis are common occurrences, as are volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, and mudslides. And yet, Japan is thriving. The nation and its people know how to bounce back from disasters.

Historic preservation is at the heart of Japan’s culture of efficacy and resilience. The people move on, but they don’t forget. When rebuilding in the wake of destruction, care is taken to not disrupt the historic fabric of cultural properties. And with Japan linking heritage closely with community development, there’s an emphasis on creating digital twins of historical structures to both memorialize and preserve them.

Located in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, Japan, Karatsu is a castle built on a plain instead of a hill or mountain. It is unusual in that the stone work rises directly out of the water, using the ocean as a natural moat.

Situated on the top of a small hill above the Karatsu Bay in Saga prefecture of Japan, Karatsu Castle, which is likened to the head of a crane, holds in itself more than 400 years of history and heritage. However, its stone walls are being damaged due to strain placed by rain and earthquakes.

When planning how best to preserve the castle, Toppen Co. Ltd decided to leverage the latest tools and technologies that would allow the company to take 3D measurements and create a high-resolution, realistic 3D model of the castle.

DJI Terra is the number 1 solution on the market for creating accurate, comprehensive and detailed 2D and 3D graphic reconstructions of buildings, structures and landscapes.

Toppen used a DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone and DJI Terra to capture image data of the castle and recreate it in digital 3D format. As the most compact, affordable, and accurate low-altitude mapping solution, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK used with Terra was the clear choice for the job.

According to Toppen’s Drone Pilot, Yuji Kuwamizu:

“DJI Terra has a surprisingly fast processing speed compared to any other modeling software we have used in the past. With Terra, 3D data can be created immediately onsite, and using this data, our teams can make informed decisions quickly and efficiently.”


Why create 3D digital models of buildings and assets?

1. Using drones can save inspections teams significant time when surveying a site, reducing costs due to the reduced number of personnel required to conduct an inspection.

2. With smart technology such as DJI Terra, using drones to conduct inspections is far more accurate than visual inspections carried out by humans.

3. Creating digital models using drone technology produces a far more tangible inspection result compared with human visual inspections.

4. The ability to view a building or asset from whichever view you need, without being restricted by only being able to view it from the ground, is a significant advantage of using 3D modelling.

5. Using drones almost completely removes human risks associated with climbing, scaffolding or other means of gaining aerial views during inspections.

6. Using digital tools for inspections, in particular 3D graphic reconstruction, is a far more accurate way to identify and assess weaknesses or damage to a building or structure.


Recommended drone: Phantom 4 RTK

The Phantom 4 RTK is the number 1 aerial mapping solution. Commercial users can achieve unrivalled output thanks to the Phantom 4’s RTK module, which delivers real-time, centimeter-level positioning accuracy on image metadata. Click here to learn more about Phantom 4 RTK.


Recommended software: DJI Terra

DJI Terra is an easy-to-use mapping software developed to help industry professionals transform real-world scenarios into digital assets. With seamless connection with DJI Phantom 4 RTK drones, DJI Terra is the platform which businesses can use to begin their next-generation of environmental mapping. Click here to learn more about DJI Terra



If you are interested in DJI Enterprise, get in touch with Andrew Bird on 01489 287 287, at andrew.bird@syndico.net or book a meeting with him at a convenient time.

For more information on the products, go to www.syndico.net/dji/.

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