School only covered so much, I knew, but I had no idea things would be this complicated! GIS, photo modeling, point clouds, business models, it makes my brain feel like someone stuck a blender in my head. The most grating stressor is that all the forums and topics are written by experts who have no apparent concept that someone like me would be even trying to learn how to do what they do. I like Microsoft, Apple, Adobe where all the software is nice and clean and the actions are linked to comprehensible buttons. As complicated as my profession is, I still like things to stay as simple and user friendly as possible. Pulling tape is almost therapeutic after a day of photo matching and point cloud registrations.
The reason I put myself through this effort is to master creating an exact replica of some piece of the world and putting it into a system. From there, Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to sell ad space and take advantage of location based services (LBS) on the smart devices of the world. As far as surveying, add in virtual benchmarks and voila! you have a complete data set ready to be sold off in pieces to the highest bidder. Cameras are cheap, and free software is pretty good at building the point clouds but what then? The free software is only good for up to 300 images at a time and my first of three observations is 3.5 minutes long and composed of 5880 images! I'm easily dealing with centimeter precisions from a 5 MP camera, so the problem isn't the ability to create the data so much as to handle the HUGE amounts of it. It is undeniably attractive to see a million points of data, each nearly as precise as if made with a total station, made from a $40 camera and free software.
I'm sure I'll figure it out, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to that had done this before.
Addition: Just after I posted this, I found this guy on YouTube demoing his DEM method. http://palentier.blogspot.com/
That's the kind of thing I'm talking about-low cost, high precision surveying completed in a day! I'm looking forward to posting about my results from copying his methods soon.