Glaciology and Structure-from-Motion modelling

The expedition is working closely with the School of Geography at the University of Leeds (through Dr Duncan Quincey) with the aim of conducting research into glacial movement.

This aerial image of the Makalu Barun glacier illustrates the set up that Colin and the team will be replicating.

This aerial image of the Makalu Barun glacier illustrates the set up that Colin and the team will be replicating.

We propose using the method of  60 mg fta 3st Structure-from-Motion (SfM) to generate three-dimensional topographic data for key glacial landforms within the expedition area.

SfM uses images acquired from multiple viewpoints in order to determine the three dimensional geometry of a surface. A wide variety of imaging sensors can be used for SfM jump4loves.com, from video stills, through to low grade compact digital cameras. The SfM algorithm will then calculate camera positions and derive a sparse point cloud, which can be converted to a dense point cloud and ultimately a DEM (Digital Elevation Model) through several more processing steps. This technique is revolutionising the way we capture topographic data in the field, and our expedition provides the perfect opportunity to trial it in an extreme environment.

Stages of SfM images

Examples of some of the stages of SfM image making

On our trek to base camp imagery will be acquired of key geomorphological features (identified from Google Earth in advance of departure), and back in the UK these data will be converted to point clouds. Once at base camp we will focus on capturing the surface and surroundings of the Barun Glacier. Team members will be tasked with acquiring imagery of the glacier surface from high-elevation viewpoints and from the lateral moraine ridges. On returning to the UK these data will be processed at University of Leeds, with the long-term goal of quantifying its surface lowering over decadal timescales. This would be the first application of SfM on such a large-scale within the field of glaciology.