How are SmarTargets used?

SmarTargets are GPS-enabled Ground Control Points used in aerial photogrammetry, LiDAR, and mapping to accurately and quickly establish the location of the target.  The coordinate is used in image processing.

Although not required, we recommend using the provided Locator software mission Planning tools to set up your project and plan the placement of targets visually.  Select your camera and flight height, establish the flight boundary lines, and place targets virtually.  When satisfied with the plan, select Output KML to create a project-boundary.kml and project-FlightPlanning.kml file that can be loaded to your flight software, shared with the flight team, and your customer.

Now go into the field and place the double-sided cloth targets.  These offer a significant improvement in visibility and contrast for airborne cameras based on research with varying terrain conditions.  For instance, on concrete or asphalt surfaces, the orange/black checker is optimum whereas the white/black checker would fade as the camera is at higher altitudes.  Conversely, on green grasses and similar surfaces, the white/black grid has great contrast to the surrounding environment and is easily registered on the camera, where orange/black colors will fuse and in reflective lighting, disappear in the image.  Grommets sewn into the corners allow you to nail the target down if winds are a concern.  Press the power button on the SmarTarget, and set it down in the center of the target.  Now go fly.

When your flight is complete, pack everything up and return to the office.  Plug in your SmarTargets with the provided multi-port hub and USB cables.  Use Locator to download the data simultaneously and process coordinates for the GCPs.