A drone serves as an excellent tool for creating maps via photogrammetry—creating point clouds and meshes. Sometimes, however, a simple photo is the best way to document a place. You can take this a step further by creating a spherical panoramic image. This has been a standard feature for most DJI drones for a long time, but there is a lacking of tutorials explaining how one can embed a panoramic image in a website.
The special quality of a 360° spherical panoramic image is that you have the ability to pan around in a virtual-reality-like 3D world, though it is done simply by stitching together and warping several images. No complex model or environment is involved.
For a drone floating in the air, this is useful, because you offer a 360° perspective of a point in space, so there may be an unforeseen detail the user is looking for that the photographer may not have anticipated. You can explore whatever you want.
When surveying, field notes are an important component, and photos and sketches have traditionally been a part of the process. A spherical panorama is a compelling next-step alternative to a basic photo. You can visually reference details in all directions when drafting and viewing the survey plat afterwards.
When browsing for your panos on the SD card of your DJI, you’ll notice that there is a
PANO directory, and there is also a JPG
in the standard image directory—something along the lines of
DJI_202306260845_001. You want the panoramic image found there,
not the images in
PANO contains the raw images used to create your spherically warped pano JPG.
This library has an easy-to-use API, is free and open-source, embeds without an
iframe, and has some nice UI that comes with it. I
won’t list the handful of others out there, but note that this one has been low-friction for me to pull into The Outpost.
Now that I know how to display these panoramas, I plan on always taking at least one pano each time I fly.