Agenda & Course Materials

Short Course: Teaching in the field with SfM and RTK GPS/GNSS
September 28-November 4, 2021 (designated Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Before the course

Complete the prepwork before Tuesday September 28.

During the course

Jump down to: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6

Schedule Overview Table - all start times 9am PT | 10am MT | 11am CT | 12pm ET
Week 1
Tuesday & Thursday September 28 & 30
Week 2
Thursday October 7
Week 3
Thursday October 14
Week 4
Tuesday October 19
Week 5
Thursday October 28
Week 6
Tuesday & Thursday November 2 & 4
Prepwork taskReview GETSI field modules and SfM student exercise. Download and install MetaShape software.Run precise point positioning (PPP) solution. Come ready to discuss field site ideas.Start implementation planning.
TuesdayIntroduction to short course and SfM.
(2 hours)
Preparing to collect data for globally georeferenced point cloud.
(2 hours)
Designing good field geodesy opportunities for students.
(1 hour)
Prepwork taskCollect photos and ground control points for SfM pracice (in local reference frame).Watch GPS-related videos and review Emlid guides. Install ReachView 3 app.Set up base and collect a few points with the rover. Keep base running for several hours.Do SfM and GPS data collection and processing. Come ready to share results and insights.Continue implementation planning.
ThursdayGenerating point clouds in Agisoft MetaShape.
(1 hour)
Introduction to RTK GPS/GNSS and Emlid ReachRS2.
(2 hours)
Emlid trouble shooting if needed. More on GPS survey design. PPP workflow. Primer for next week's plans.
(1 hour)
Share results, products, and insights from making a georeferenced point cloud. Discuss teaching implications.
(2 hours)
Discussion about implementation plans.
(2 hours)


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(last updated 2021-10-05 12:54:55)

Additional details, links, presentations, and corrections will be added to the Agenda below as the leaders refine the course plans.

Short Course Workspaces (private)

The Fall 2021 Virtual Short Course Workspaces provide a shared space for participants to work on teaching implementation planning. They will be used more later in the week.

Week 1 - Introduction to the short course and SfM (structure from motion)

Tuesday September 28 (2 hours) & Thursday September 30 (1 hour) - starting 9am PT | 10am MT | 11am CT | 12pm ET

  1. Prepwork (before September 28)
    1. Review the GETSI field modules and be ready with questions, if any.
    2. Have Slack installed on the computer you are using for the course and/or a mobile device. After you are sent the invitation to join the Slack group, send an introductory message to the group - your institution and a science application you might use geodesy (SfM and GPS) field methods for.
    3. Look over the SfM student prep exercise SfM preparation exercise (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.4MB Aug27 20) and prepare the software, apps, and materials described
      1. Install Agisoft MetaShape Pro
        1. Most of you will us the 30-day trial license or an existing license from your home institution. If you indicated that you need access to another license, Beth will get in contact with you.
      2. Collect other mentioned items: compass, measuring tape, inclinometer, digital camera, paper/marker
    4. Primary instructors: sign the DocuSign agreement for borrowing the UNAVCO/GETSI Field GPS equipment when you see it come through.
  2. Goals
    1. Get to know: each other, a bit of background on the GETSI Field project, and the short course plan for the week
    2. Be able to access GETSI Field modules and understand their overall structure and components
    3. Learn the basics of SfM and Agisoft MetaShape Pro and generate a small locally-referenced point cloud.
  3. Tuesday September 28 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET
    Week1-Day1 Fall2021 Session Recording - field virtual short course (MP4 Video 429.4MB Sep28 21)
    1. Introductions - ~1 min per person (~15 min) - Everyone
      Day1 Fall 2021 Introduction and Overview Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 106.5MB Sep27 21)
      1. Name
      2. Institution
      3. Role/position
      4. For primary instructors
        1. Anticipated course
        2. Possible geoscience application for SfM and GPS in the course
        3. #students anticipated
    2. Overview goals and plan for the week (~10 min) - Beth
      1. Suggest type of field site they might aim for (true geological application is not necessary; small area is good [<50 photos])
    3. Overview of GETSI field modules and geodesy field teaching experiences (~20 min) - Beth, Ben, Bruce
    4. Break (10 min)
    5. Introduction to SfM method (~1 hr) - Beth
      1. Introduction to SfM presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 78.1MB Aug27 20) - the exact file that Beth presented was drawn from the Getting started with SfM for Teaching Online Field. It is modified from the presentations in the Analyzing High Resolution Topography, Unit 1-SfM
  4. Prepwork - before September 30
    1. Complete the photo and ground control point collection parts of Introduction to SfM student exercise designed for virtual situations (adapted from Analyzing High Resolution Topography module's Unit 1-SfM: Introduction to SfM)
      All the files below are from the Getting started with SfM exercise but we link to them here as well for expedience.
    2. Download photos to your computer
    3. Convert ground control point angle/distance to x-y-z coordinates.
      • You can use this Excel GCP calculator template (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 10kB May3 21) to complete the task more quickly. Whether you give this to your students or make them do the trigonometry by hand is your call depending on your situation.
    4. Optional: Start the MetaShape tutorial if you wish - but the Thursday session will be devoted to this so no pressure
  5. Thursday September 30 - 9-10am PT | 10-11am MT | 11am-12pm CT | 12-1pm ET
    Week1-Day2 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 326.6MB Sep30 21)
    1. Introduction to using MetaShape to process photos sets into point clouds (~45 min) - Beth
      If the photo set you took is not aligning well in MetaShape, you can use either of these photos sets instead. Both align well and include ground control point (GCP) files in xyz coordinates.
      1. sample photo set for 3D (sofas) (Zip Archive 36.5MB Aug27 20)
      2. sample photo set for 3D (chobar outcrop) (Zip Archive 162.7MB May16 21)
    2. Overview prepwork for Thursday October 7 (10 min) - Beth
    3. Road Check #1

Week 2 - Introduction to GPS/GNSS and Emlid ReachRS2 receivers

Thursday October 7 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET

  1. Prepwork (prior to October 7)
    1. Watch some Emlid videos
      1. GNSS Basics: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPIakQOjvl8MdsxgcbqDCxcG-eOMQi0qd
      2. Emlid ReachRS2 Basics: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPIakQOjvl8OJaHy8h2yLhLVJMrc93Th5
      3. ReachView3 App: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPIakQOjvl8M7sU1tYKWW86RK-olVAr4Q
    2. Watch tripod set up video - whichever one is appropriate to the type of tripod you have
      1. Setting up a standard tripod and tribrach (note: video shows the example of setting up a tripod for a prism but the process is the same for GPS until that last minute of the video)
      2. Setting up a quick-tripod (MP4 Video 40.6MB May16 21)
    3. Look at Emlid guides to gain a little familiarity - potentially print out at least the quick guide. These are available on the GPS/GNSS Equipment page but are also linked here for convenience.
    4. Install ReachView3 app on a mobile device (iPhone, Android phone, tablet)
    5. Check Emlid ReachRS2s are fully charged. Take the receivers outside and turn on. Leave on for 15-20 min with decent sky view in order to collect almanac information from the satellites and know generally where it is in the world (this will save time when you use them for real).
  2. Goals
    1. Learn the fundamentals of GPS/GNSS system and basic surveying
    2. Evaluate example student GPS concept sketches
    3. Able to set up Emlid base rover, collect base data file, collect couple RTK rover points
  3. Thursday October 7 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET
    Week2-Hour1 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 202.8MB Oct7 21)
    Week2-Hour2 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 244.4MB Oct7 21)
    1. Short debrief about SfM experience if needed (10 min) - Beth
    2. Remind that participants to think about a field site for Week 4 joint SfM-GPS (true geological application is not necessary; small area is good [<50 photos])
    3. Introduction to GPS/GNSS and RTK (real-time kinematic) surveying (25 min) - Ben
      1. Include concept sketch assignment overview and evaluation; mention accuracy/precision exercise and Unit 1 in general
      2. These resources are coming from High Precision Positioning module Unit 1: GPS/GNSS Fundamentals and Unit 2: Kinematic GPS/GNSS Methods
        Some specific resources you might wish to refer to are:
        1. Unit 1 Introduction to GPS/GNSS Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 44.8MB May29 19)
        2. Unit 2 Kinematic GNSS Lecture (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 13.6MB May18 21)
        3. Kinematic GPS/GNSS Survey Methods Manual (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 3.5MB May18 21)
    4. Base considerations (25 min)
      1. Site choice (land access)
      2. Line-of-site is best
      3. High ground is usually best (but careful of shadows)
      4. Setting up tripod - demo how to set up "quick" and "standard" tripods (standard tripod/tribrach may need to watch video)
    5. Break (10 min)
    6. Intro to working with Emlids (40 min) - Ben and Beth
      Emlid-specific guides are on the GETSI GPS/GNSS Equipment page
      1. People outside in deck/garden if they can; windowsill also fine if outside is impractical
      2. If they do have two devices they can devote one to each receiver (but not necessary)
      3. Turn both on, base gets location after 2 or 5 min collection, get receiver to get "fix"
    7. Road Check #2

Week 3 - Emlid ReachRS2 receivers trouble shooting and introduction to PPP

Thursday October 14 (1 hour) - if you cannot make this session because of GSA, contact Beth to set up an alternative time

  1. Prepwork (prior to October 14)
    1. Set up base and collect a few RTK points w rover
    2. Leave base running for entire time (ideally at least 2 hours; ≥4 hours is better)
  2. Goals
    1. Able to set up Emlid base rover, collect base data file, collect couple RTK rover points
    2. Able to use PPP (precise point positioning) portal for determining base location
  3. October 14 - 9-10am PT | 10-11am MT | 11am-12pm CT | 12-1pm ET
    Week3 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 247.6MB Oct14 21) - note: this starts a minute or two into the session after people have been asked if they have any Emlid /GNSS troubleshooting issues they need to bring up
    1. Troubleshooting about Emlids, if needed - Everyone
    2. More on GPS/GNSS survey design - Ben
      1. GNSS-SfM Survey Design Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 3.5MB Oct14 21)
      2. GNSS-SfM Survey Design Presentation - annotated (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 3.7MB Oct14 21)
    3. PPP workflow and Wednesday prepwork - Beth

Week 4 - Making georeferenced point clouds

Tuesday October 19 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET

  1. Prepwork (prior to October 19)
    1. Run PPP solution (NRCAN) with the base station data you collected previously
      1. Instructions are in Instructor Guide for Emlid Reach RS2 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 4.1MB Jun23 22)
      2. Here are two options if you are not successful and want to practice with another data set
        1. Beth's roof fall 2020 (antenna height 2.134 m) - raw_202009071324_roof2_sep7_RINEX-3_03.zip (Zip Archive 2.3MB May18 21)
        2. Beth's deck railing spring 2021 (antenna height 0.134 m) - raw_202105181957_RINEX-3_03.zip (Zip Archive 4.7MB May18 21)
    2. Come ready to discuss ideas for where the joint SfM and GPS survey will be conducted.
      1. Plan to share a few slides about your ideas including a photo or Google Earth view of the area to illustrate what you are thinking. (remember for this purpose it is best to aim for a small-ish site where photos can be captured with hand-held camera; <50 photos!; 20 photos is fine)
  2. Goals
    1. Combined SfM/GPS survey design in order to produce a georeferenced point cloud
  3. Tuesday October 19 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET
    Week4 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 649.4MB Oct19 21)
    1. Any questions or challenges?
    2. Start design of field collection plan for both SfM and GPS - Ben and Beth
      1. Each primary instructor presents ideas - Two breakout sessions of 3 or 4 groups each
    3. All group discussion and moderated share-out - Beth & Ben
    4. Break (10 min) - somewhere in here as needed
    5. Introduction to SERC workspaces - Fall 2021 Virtual Short Course Workspaces - Beth
    6. Overview MetaShape workflow difference for global vs local GCP (10 min) - Beth
    7. People/student logistics consideration
      1. Some examples of experiences to keep in mind; this will need to be considered as part of the larger teaching implementation planning

Week 5 - Sharing results from data collection project

Thursday October 28 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET

  1. Prepwork (prior to October 28)
    1. Do combined SfM and GPS field survey
      1. MetaShape Guide for River Characteristics activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 5.3MB Nov12 21) - This somewhat longer MetaShape guide includes steps for using global rather than local reference frame. It also describes how one can classify points in MetaShape. Note: this guide suggests the use of UTM coordinate system (meters) but you may prefer to keep using WGS84 (lat-lon).
      2. SfM Data Processing and Exploration Manual (Agisoft Metashape software) PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 8.4MB Nov16 19) - Longer MetaShape guide if you wish to explore more capabilities. Can also be helpful to just work through menu options in the software to explore it further.
      3. If you are unable to collect survey data, here is a set of photos and global coordinates for the ground control points (project file as downloaded from Emlids). rock pile.zip (Zip Archive 202.9MB May19 21) (note: not quite all the photos align; see if you can determine the likely reason why a few did not)
    2. (OPTIONAL REFERENCE if you are interested) Change detection - if you are interested in looking at change detection OR comparing two point clouds that you make via different methods (ex. handheld vs UAV)
      1. High Resolution Topography module - CloudCompare tutorials
      2. High Precision Positioning module - can use Unit 2.1: Measuring Topography with GNSS (uses ArcMap to make surfaces) and then move onto change detection w either Arc or CloudCompare
    3. Prepare to report out on the experience - a few visuals will help such as photo/s from the field, site map, and/or resulting point cloud
  2. Goals
    1. Assess challenges and successes of field data collection
    2. Initiate teaching implementation planning
  3. Thursday October 28 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET
    Week5 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 750.3MB Oct28 21)
    1. Present outcomes of field collection and give some pedagogical reflections (what would this have been with students)
    2. Review different GETSI units and the variety of different geoscience applications for SfM and GPS - Beth
    3. How to request technical support and equipment loans from UNAVCO/GETSI Field - Beth
  4. Road Check 3

Week 6 - Designing high quality geodesy field activities and making implementation plans

Tuesday November 2 (1 hour) & Thursday November 4 (2 hours) - starting 9am PT | 10am MT | 11am CT | 12pm ET

  1. Prepwork (prior to November 2)
    1. Start working on teaching implementation planning (you will present on this in the Thursday session)
    2. Each primary instructor has a Workspace to utilize for planning - find your workspace from this page
  2. Goals
    1. Develop teaching implementation plan and refine through collaboration with colleagues
  3. Tuesday November 2 - 9-10am PT | 10-11am MT | 11am-12pm CT | 12-1pm ET
    Week6-Day1 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 291.8MB Nov3 21) (couple minutes missing at the start but nothing important; video paused during 30-min breakout session)
    1. Designing good field geodesy opportunities for students (Borah Fault example) - Ben
      1. GPS-specific example (instead of GPS combined w SfM)
        1. the power of measuring the point moving on the topography
        2. measuring leveling-lines and benchmarks (ex. post-earthquake continued change)
        3. Breakout groups - refer to this case study document
  4. Prepwork - before November 4
    1. Continue work on your implementation planning document and come ready to share some of your thoughts on planning - find your workspace from this page
  5. Thursday November 4 - 9-11am PT | 10am-12pm MT | 11am-1pm CT | 12-2pm ET
    Week6-Day2 Fall2021 Session Recording field virtual short course (MP4 Video 723.6MB Nov5 21)
    1. Technical advice and feedback - responses to specific questions and issues - 15-20 minutes
      1. FIX issues (see also Slack) - PEOPLE WHO HAD FIX ISSUES - can you please send Beth your raw data files from base and rover; also System Reports from both (see Instructor Guide for Emlid Reach RS2 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 4.1MB Jun23 22) Part 7 for instructions)
      2. Photos not aligning in MetaShape
        --> recommend thinking back to the earlier conversation about the need for surface roughness and surface variation; some surfaces such as grass or uniform sand or sidewalks may not provide the identifiable features that are needed for good point ID and thus alignment
      3. If we want to merge photos or generated point clouds from different groups is that feasible?
        --> Definitely better to combine photos before making the point clouds. Consider whether the "chunking" feature would be helpful -- if the number of photos is really large (see longer MetaShape guides)
      4. How should we have students take pictures of flat outcrop?
        --> UAV or pole
        Possible pole components:
        1. pole - a telescoping pole that goes up to several meters - ex. SECO 4.65-meter Twist-Lock Pole (note: 3-meter bamboo pole with camera mini-tripod taped to the top has also worked well)
        2. adapter - need correct size and thread style to go from pole to camera - ex. SECO 5/8 x 11 Female to 1/4 x 20 Male Adapter
        3. swivel tripod mount - fits atop the adapter so the camera direction can be adjusted - ex. AKOAK
        4. camera with a remote option (either via phone app or remote control button; timed photo taking is also possible but results if more lower quality photos)
      5. Can you measure true stratigraphic thickness in MetaShape or other software?
        --> In MetaShape: not really, you can just measure distances in relation to point cloud. Would need additional site information such as bedding dip angle compared to surface
        --> CloudCompare: simple answer is same, but Diana will look into additional capabilities
      6. How do you adjust the bounding box in MetaShape?
        --> use the Region tools
      7. What are other resources available?
        --> Tutorials and guides
    2. Overview of example field activity: Salmon Falls Creek, Buhl, Idaho - Actively creeping landslide - Ben
    3. Breakout groups to discuss planning with peers - two 15-min sessions; each breakout room will have ~2 teams (30 minutes)
      1. Share out a brief overview of ideas or plans as they currently exist; questions that you have - think of ideas and solutions together - make sure the give equal time to both. Great if you prepare a couple slides again to show your ideas.
    4. Break - 10 min
    5. Time for making adjustments based on colleague feedback - 10 min
    6. Round-robin of the primary instructors - 1 min each +2 min questions/comments (20 min)
      1. Geologic question to be addressed?
      2. Which technique/s would you use?
      3. Anticipated assessments/student deliverables
    7. ~10 min group discussion
    8. Remind of UNAVCO support request process - 2 min
    9. Final survey - 15 min