“Fodar:” The Future of Maps – Outside Magazine

Not your father’s road map: As technology evolves, developers are finding new and better ways to create dynamic mapping that reflects the changes within a region quickly and accurately. Using digital mapping gleaned from drones and piloted planes, Fodar promises to bring real time updates and greater accuracy to mapping to provide better and more reliable information.

Key Takeaways:

  • he next evolution of topographic maps will be 3-D interactives that show how rivers change and landscapes erode with centimeter precision.
  • We’re never going to make maps better than this,” Matt Nolan says, examining a three-dimensional topographic map of the Toklat River in Denali National Park
  • The first time I used it, I was blown away,” says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research geologist Jonathan Warrick. “It was so elegant and so simple.

“a new cartographic technique called Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry, or “fodar” as Nolan calls his version, which uses survey-grade GPS. The method combines digital photographs—usually captured from the air—with highly sophisticated algorithms and software to create three-dimensional topographic maps that are accurate to within a few centimeters over a scale of, in some cases, thousands of square miles.”