Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Short communication
28 Oct 2019
Short communication |  | 28 Oct 2019

Short Communication: A simple workflow for robust low-cost UAV-derived change detection without ground control points

Kristen L. Cook and Michael Dietze

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Revised manuscript accepted for ESurf
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Cited articles

Anderson, K., Westoby, M. J., and James, M. R.: Low-budget topographic surveying comes of age: Structure from motion photogrammetry in geography and the geosciences, Prog. Phys. Geog., 43, 163–173, 2019. 
Carbonneau, P. E. and Dietrich, J. T.: Cost-effective non-metric photogrammetry from consumer-grade sUAS: implications for direct georeferencing of structure from motion photogrammetry, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 42, 473–486,, 2017. 
Carrivick, J. L., Smith, M. W., and Quincey, D. J.: Structure from Motion in the Geosciences, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, 2016. 
CloudCompare (version 2.10.1): GPL software, available at:, last access: 21 January 2019. 
Cook, K. L.: An evaluation of the effectiveness of lowcost UAVs and structure from motion for geomorphic change detection, Geomorph., 278, 195–208,, 2017. 
Short summary
UAVs have become popular tools for detecting topographic changes. Traditionally, detecting small amounts of change between two UAV surveys requires each survey to be highly accurate. We take an alternative approach and present a simple processing workflow that produces survey pairs or sets that are highly consistent with each other, even when the overall accuracy is relatively low. This greatly increases our ability to detect changes in settings where ground control is not possible.