SEA TO DIGITAL REALITY: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF UNDERWATER STRUCTURE FROM MOTION PHOTOGRAMMETRY PLATFORMS AND THEIR INTEGRATION INTO AN IMMERSIVE AUGMENTED REALITY APPLICATION

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2023-08
Authors
Spengler, Alexander J.
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Burns, John HR
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Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science
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Underwater 3D reconstruction tools play an important role in advancing the study and preservation of coral reef environments. This study assessed the viability of small action cameras, such as the GoPro Hero4, to serve as a comparable image collection platform to entry level DSLRs like the Canon 60D. The sensor and optical characteristics of a given camera system influence the accuracy and quality of 3D reconstructions. Examining the performance characteristics of action cameras is critical for assessing if these cheaper and simpler platforms can produce comparable data to the larger DSLR systems. . The findings from this study indicate that the GoPro Hero4 falls short in several key aspects compared to the Canon 60D, challenging its potential as a viable alternative. The Canon 60D's larger sensor size and lens allow for higher resolution and visually rich images, both of which are essential for accurate 3D reconstructions. The GoPro Hero4’s small sensor and short lens introduce chromatic aberration, distortion, overexposure, and color accuracy issues which compromise the quality and precision of resulting 3D models. These limitations, along with disparities in quantitative metrics, highlight the challenges associated with using action cameras as DSLR replacements. However, for research objectives that are less dependent on fine detail, such as habitat structure metrics, small action cameras may offer comparable performance to established platforms like DSLRs. Identifying the performance thresholds of camera systems can provide useful information for scientists and organizations planning to integrate 3D reconstruction techniques into their research and monitoring of coral reefs.This study also introduces an augmented reality (AR) application that allows users to explore and learn about underwater coral reefs and historical shipwrecks in the Pacific Ocean. The application leverages underwater photogrammetry data captured during scientific expeditions to create accurate 3D models of these environments. The Unity game engine and Vuforia AR engine are used to develop an interactive and immersive application. The AR app not only provides virtual access to these underwater environments but also incorporates educational content, interactive annotations, and informative overlays to enhance the user experience. The study also discusses the methods used for data acquisition and photogrammetry, application development, and publishing. The effectiveness of the AR application is evaluated through user feedback and performance testing. The app has been well-received, with positive ratings and downloads on both iOS and Android platforms. The study concludes that the app has successfully bridged the gap between scientific data and the general public, fostering engagement, experiential learning, and environmental awareness. Future improvements could focus on expanding the number of targets and reducing the app's file size to enhance user engagement and accessibility.
Description
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Remote sensing, 3D RECONSTRUCTION, ACTION CAMERA, AUGMENTED REALITY, CORAL REEF, SCIENCE COMMUNICATION, UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAMMETRY
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61 pages
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