Woven Planet North America, Inc. (Los Altos, CA)

The present invention concerns the method of creating an overhead view of an area. In particular the invention pertains to a method for generating an asynchronous multi-image overhead view image of an area by using ground map data and field of view image data. The technology described herein may comprise different embodiments, such as non-transitory computer-readable media as well as computer software that can be used to generate a groundmap of the area, as well as methods, systems, as well as computer programs that process multiple images of this region to produce an overhead view.

It is standard to offer maps with an overhead view. There are a variety of ways to present maps that offer an overhead view. These include cartography methods like street atlases maps as well as aerial photography. These methods are employed to observe the globe from above. They may also be used for geographical studies including mapping of areas. These traditional methods produce digital images at the wrong resolution to permit crucial mapping information like map semantics or map features to be extracted. Therefore, in certain instances the meanings of traditional cartography maps may be combined with the detailed views provided by digital imagesanticipated to produce maps that look realistic with more details than an image of the region which is drawn by a satellite or from an aerial perspective.

Aerial images are usually made using manual photography. They do not provide orthographic or overhead views. Instead, they provide an elevated and perspective view like bird-like which is why they are called a bird’s eye view. In order to provide an over-the-shoulder view of a map region, satellite imagery has thus been utilized more frequently for mapping, environmental monitoring as well as archaeological surveys, but the images need to be taken by using expensive satellites that orbit the earth continuously. Satellite images may however be geometrially deformed due to the camera’s lens’s characteristics, unwanted movements of satellites, or environmental influences. This can provide inaccurate images of the real-world which oftenhinders the ability to map them. Additionally, satellite images are directly acquired from devices for imaging (as flat images in 2D) with a significant distance from the surface, and so the images typically contain a number of occlusionswhich interfere with the view of ground from overhead sources, such as trees and bridges. The image quality is dependent on various environmental conditions which can hinder the ability of mapping applications to use them.

Because the satellite and aerial images are not always in alignment this makes it difficult to create accurate and effective overhead view maps. In addition the maps created don’t have any real-world relevance to the surface elevation of the ground, and thus are not appropriate for every application.

The embodiments or aspects sought to offer a means of generating a context-rich overhead view image of a geographical area using ground map data and images captured at a substantially ground level.

In accordance with the one aspect, there is provided the method of making a map of the ground for the geographical area; receiving a plurality of images of the geographic area; processing the multitude of images to select the images that are selected to generate an overhead view of the geographic area; dividing the map of ground into a variety of sampling points within the geographic area; and determining a color of a plurality of patches in the overhead view image from the selected subset of, with each patch representing each sampling point of the geographic area.

A second aspect of the invention offers computer-readable media that is not transferrable and includes computer-executable instructions. These instructions include receiving multiple photographs of a geographic area in order to determine the ground map and selecting a subset to create an overhead view of the region and dividing each sampling spot into separate maps; determining the color of each patch in the overhead image from the subset; each patch representing every sampling spot of the region.

According to a third aspect it is provided an apparatus comprising at least one processor and an instruction memory that when executed by at least one processor, cause the system to implement an operation as follows: determining a groundmap of a geographical area receiving a number of images of the geographical area; processing the multitude of images to choose the appropriate subset of images to generate an overhead view of an geographic area; and dividing the map of ground into a plurality of sampling points in the geographic region; and then determining the hue of a variety of patches in the overhead view from the subset of images with each patch represents each sampling point in the geographical area.

It is important to note that there are many more characteristics, applications, embodiments, and variants of the disclosed technology will become obvious from the accompanying drawings as well as from the following detailed description. Additional and alternativeimplementations of the structures, systems, non-transitory computer readable media, and methods described herein can be employed without departing from the principles of the disclosed technology.

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