WebODM: A Year In Review

WebODM is a free and open source software for processing drone images. It generates point clouds, orthophotos, elevation models and 3D models from aerial images. We started the project on August 2016 soon after discovering OpenDroneMap. The fact that OpenDroneMap was command line only and that installation was a bit out of range for average users sounded like a good problem to solve.

After coming out of alpha in early 2017, the project has experienced steady growth. We went from no users to 400+ stars and 121 forks on GitHub and 5000 docker images pulls (a very rough estimate of installations). Code contributions to the project have been very low, however issue reporting activity has been quite active, mostly when datasets are not being processed properly, which is often caused by insufficient memory or bad data.

In the summer of 2017, realizing people were having trouble setting up docker on Windows, we decided to build and release a paid installer for WebODM which helps users get up and running more easily. The result has been a success, further lowering the technical barrier of entry while at the same time providing on-going funding for the project. We’re pleased to announce that there’s probably a copy of WebODM running in every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

WebODM Installer Sales by Country 2017

Most of last year has been focused on catching up to expose most of the features of OpenDroneMap. This year we hope to bring to the table features that will increase the usefulness of the platform for many industries and categories of users:

  • Volume measurements
  • Classified (ground vs. non-ground) point cloud outputs.
  • A plugins architecture for post-processing of assets, which will allow people to compute products such as NDVI, VARI, or add additional functionality without having to modify the code base.
  • A turn-key cloud solution for users that don’t have the machine power necessary to do heavy processing. We still need to think through the details and evaluate whether this solution would make sense for our users and for what price.
  • Faster processing for certain individual tasks and ability to distribute a single task across multiple processing nodes. This one will likely depend on certain features to land in OpenDroneMap.

Overall 2017 has been a great year for WebODM. We look forward to continue working on this amazing project.


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