ABSTRACT
Most of the contemporary terrestrial mobile mapping systems (MMSs) use tactical or navigation grade inertial measurement units (IMU) to determine the approximated angular exterior orientation (EO) elements of images. Navigation grade IMUs, usually integrated with GNSS receivers, are also used to determine the projection center coordinates. Recent researches show that using also a low-cost attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) or a low-cost IMU, satisfies the demands of certain photogrammetric applications. Our researches aim to evaluate the accuracy of low-cost devices suitable for constructing small, low-cost photogrammetric MMS. During our research two low-cost devices, providing information about image attitude and heading, were tested. The first one is the calibrated Ricoh G700SE GPS camera with an electronic compass and a level indicator. The second device is the Xsens MTi AHRS unit, comprising 3 MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) gyros, 3 MEMS accelerometers and 3 magnetometers. For the testing purposes the AHRS was combined with the calibrated Nikon D80 SLR camera. The 3D AHRS magnetometer calibration was carried out using the manufacturer's software to compensate for the soft and hard iron effects. The images of three test fields were taken. The images of the first test field with signalized control points were used to determine the boresight rotation matrix of the AHRS. The bundle adjustment was solved separately for each camera and each test field to determine the true (reference) angular exterior orientation parameters. The differences between measured and calculated angles allowed to evaluate the accuracy of the measured angles. The tests results for the GPS camera show high residuals of measured azimuths, however its level indicator allows camera levelling with subdegree accuracy. The results obtained for the low-cost AHRS unit were significantly better, however over 2 residuals for yaw angle were also observed. The results prove the usefulness of the AHRS for constructing a small, hand-held MMS, whereas GPS camera azimuth measurements can be treated rather as a rough approximations in the photogrammetric network adjustment.