“Glitch Art” Showing Limitations of DEMs and Orthorectifcation

I came across an article which talks about Glitch Art, which are areas on the large mapping areas of low quality rectified ortho and 3D models that the general public has access to on Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, etc…  Due to limited budgets many areas are rectified in a quick and dirty way with lower resolution DEMs and uncorrected areas.

The public expects visually perfect areas which requires engineering-level rectification, ideally with LiDAR DEM data.  Of course to currently get that level of data quality requires a larger budget for data acquisition and processing.  Common ways currently in production workflows by aerial survey companies to make images higher quality without LiDAR data DEMs are through Adobe Photoshop where you edit the unrectified image on the rectified image to fake the appearance as much as possible.  Other ways are to manually edit the DEM before rectifying (usually bridge areas) in the plotting procedure or to use new techniques like PCI Geomatics has developed with their dynamic DEM editor so you can quickly fix bad areas in a DEM and quickly see the changes on the image.

As long as these errors are making it to the general public, it hurts the reputation of Geographic Information Systems.  As rectifying technology improves and gets cheaper I would hope and expect Glitch Art to go away as we can deliver properly rectified ortho photos that will not become a industry joke.


About Chuck Schoeneberger

Former forecaster at Meridian Environmental Technologies Inc (now a Interis Company), with a background in GIS and LiDAR, with other stints at GeoSpatial Services of Winona, MN and Aerometric (Now Quantum Spatial) of Sheboygan, WI. He is a weather technologist for public storm safety from a local to international level. LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=25048141&trk=tab_pro His views are his own and not of his employer.
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