March 07, 2022 -- LEAD’AIR Inc is introducing the METADUO, the first two cameras aerial mapping system with optional LiDAR support specifically designed to collect nadir and oblique images for the rapid generation of high-quality 2D and 3D geospatial data and city 3D models.

Contrary to most existing 3D aerial cameras systems, including our own MIDAS system, the LEAD’AIR METADUO only needs two cameras to collect the images required for the generation of high resolution and high accuracy 3D geospatial models. Please note that the two cameras do not scan, do not move, do not swing; they have a fixed oblique position. This methodology allows LEAD’AIR METADUO customers to purchase aerial oblique imagery sensors at a fraction of the cost of other traditional oblique systems. At the current price of aerial cameras, this represents a saving of more than 60% of the total camera system cost, which amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars per system. This remarkable result was achieved by bringing together SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS’ superior PhotoMesh™ Software, Phase One’s remarkable imaging technology and Applanix’s established inertial technology. Additionally, by supplementing the METADUO system with a RIEGL LiDAR, the quality of the 3D model results become considerably better than what can be achieved with standard oblique systems.  

The advantage of a two-camera oblique system is not only the considerable financial saving of three additional cameras, but also that the two-cameras oblique system is extremely compact; This allows the METADUO to be combined with a LiDAR to increase the quality and accuracy of the city 3D model. LEAD’AIR has developed the STABBOT, a state-of-the-art stabilization platform which allows a RIEGL LiDAR and two Phase One medium format oblique camera to be stabilized and to operate together as one payload. The RIEGL VQ780 series (and other RIEGL LiDAR models) can be advantageously combined with the METADUO system to create a superior 3D data collection device.

If your LiDAR unit is underutilized or not effectively used, upgrading it with a LEAD’AIR METADUO will allow you to increase its productivity and to take advantage of the fast growing 3D imagery market (insurance, roofing, city planning, emergency response, Internet mappers, etc. and of course the all new promising Metaverse). If you are considering purchasing a new VQ-780II-S LiDAR from RIEGL, you should consider including the METADUO option which would increase the range of missions that your LiDAR can accomplish.

Although LiDAR data is NOT a requirement for the METADUO to generate high-quality 2D and 3D Products from PhotoMesh™, a LiDAR system will  refine and enhance the 3D model, producing cleaner results and preventing artifacts, while increasing the level of accuracy of the complete PhotoMesh™ process. It is clear that other oblique cameras systems which cannot operate with a LiDAR have a significant disadvantage.


The METADUO was first flown above Downtown Orlando Florida in December 2021. The payload included two Phase One iXM-RS150F, a RIEGL VQ-780 II, a LEAD’AIR STABBOT stabilized mount specially designed for the VQ-780. Approximately 2,000 images were collected with a GSD of 2 inch (5cm) at a speed of 150 knots. To cope with the 90% forward overlap and the high aircraft speed, the two Phase One iXM-RS150F were triggered every half second, which they handled easily.


The Applanix IMU real time EO Exterior Orientations, which were collected in real time during the flight, are central to this collection methodology.


The data was then processed by SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS in a few hours with the PhotoMesh™ software.

The resulting city 3D model can be accessed at this location as a SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS' TerraExplorerWeb Project: Please do not forget that these spectacular results were obtained with TWO cameras.


Here are the links to the Orthos and DSM outputs that correspond to the final 3D Mesh produced with the Imagery and LiDAR.












“We are proud of this very smart and advanced system which has the potential to radically change the way the imagery intended for 3D city mapping is being collected” says JP Barriere, President of LEAD’AIR Inc. “We are happy to be able to retire our good old five cameras MIDAS system and to replace it with the much simpler and cost-effective METADUO two cameras system. The METADUO meets all our goals which have always been to design efficient and economical aerial camera systems.”


“We are extremely pleased with the exceptional capabilities and data results of the METADUO in urban mapping applications” said Michael Sitar, Division Manager for Airborne LiDAR Systems at RIEGL USA. “However, the METADUO is all that and more, due to an extensible platform concept capable of more than one application, such as wide-area and corridor mapping.  We look forward to supporting LEAD’AIR with LiDAR sensors that add further value to an otherwise fantastic product.”



SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS’ partnership and collaboration with LEAD’AIR and RIEGL has pioneered an innovative and unprecedented approach to 3D Data Collection and Processing which significantly reduces costly redundancies in previous system designs while increasing 3D quality and accuracy from PhotoMesh™ 3D Textured Meshes, True-Orthophotos, and additional outputs."

Eatay Ben Shechter, Vice President Imaging Solutions and Services SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS, Inc.


The special geometry of the METADUO cameras generates a complete 360 view when the two cameras are flown in opposite directions resulting in four images looking left, right, forward, and backward (basically like a five cameras system). The Nadir or vertical view is enclosed in the green circle. From a geometric point of view there is no difference between a two cameras METADUO and a five cameras system such as the MIDAS and the results are the same or even better thanks to the possibility to combine the METADUO with a LiDAR which does not exist with large 5 cameras systems.

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