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DataFromSky — the philosophy behind

DataFromSky is a cloud-based platform for fully automated traffic analysis from videos using AI and machine learning methods. The output of the video analysis is an extract in the form of classifications of trajectories. This extract is then analyzed for various traffic tasks with numerous analytical functions it offers, fully interactively. Why is DataFromSky so unique:

        ● Super-accurate data suitable for traffic research (read more)

        ● Possibility of measuring a range of advanced parameters thanks to the trajectory-based approach

        ● Impeccable control of outputs thanks to extreme detail in displaying and simple export of results


Source: DataFromSky.

DataFromSky is composed of two advanced platforms — DFS LIGHT and DFS AERIAL. The AERIAL platform serves for traffic analysis from the bird’s eye view, using the state-of-the-art technology in the microscopic view on data. LIGHT version serves for standard traffic research in mass-scale using fixed cameras and numerous functions from the AERIAL platform. Both versions of DataFromSky have their real-time versions thanks to the series called DataFromSky Embedded.


Figure: both versions of DataFromSky. Source: DataFromSky.

Created for research, developed for traffic studies

Development of the system started as a part of a research project in cooperation with BUT in 2013. The goal of the project was to use drones and advanced image processing algorithms to develop a new approach in the field of traffic analysis based on extracts of trajectories within the image. Thanks to its extreme accuracy, this project made brand new research goals, even those thought to be not feasible at that time, possible. The main aim of the project was to test the ability to localize ground objects with accuracy less than 25 cm from a drone with camera, which is suitable for advanced traffic analysis such as security audit, calculations of intersection’s capacity, research of interactions between individual participants of the traffic flow, etc.


DataFromSky Viewer.

The project entered the market under the name of DataFromSky and this allowed for further dramatic development and creation of a solution that is unique worldwide and already used in hundreds of research projects. From the very beginning, DataFromSky aims at solving the most challenging tasks in the field of traffic analysis. It is a software-based on scientific research and unique know-how, as it is constantly improving with sensitivity analysis of the system and numerous simulations as well as measurements within the real traffic. DataFromSky has by far the largest database of traffic behavior from places all around the globe, thanks to analyzing thousands of intersection nodes with extremely detailed data. Such a database background also guarantees the most advanced AI for these types of analyses, as our AI constantly improves with learning from the biggest database of traffic situations recorded with a drone, worldwide.

No black box solution

The philosophy of DataFromSky is to provide data that you can trust. This is the reason why it is based on possible highly detailed checking of the outputs of the analysis so that you can verify the accuracy of the automated analysis in a concrete video/place of yours. DataFromSky is not a black box solution, which would use only statistical data to hide the actual quality of outputs. It is actually the other way around, as with DataFromSky, you will have outputs displayed in a well-arranged and transparent manner so that you can easily evaluate the validity of data from the automated analysis. Always demand a possible control of outputs from detection algorithms for individual vehicles, as within the first five minutes of the video, you will already reveal potential system failure, which could consequently lead to an incorrect engineering decision. With DataFromSky, you have this option, as it stands on a philosophy that behind every good decision there are accurate data. No black box solution!


Guarantee of 100 % results

Collecting data is usually a time-demanding and, consequently, also rather costly process. It is not always possible to record a video in a way that an automated analysis would be able to extract all the data you need. Reasons for failure of the automated analysis can differ from bad quality of the video, unsuitable angle of recording, mechanical problem, etc. To make sure that you have positive returns on your video recording investment (which can be rather expensive in case of recording from a drone), DataFromSky offers a program called „Guarantee of 100% results.“ If you decide to use this program, our AI-based control system will come into the game and provide throughout analysis of the outputs and fix the incorrect results in a way that your traffic study is impeccable and error-free. This service can be purchased at any time in case you find out that the automated output did not match your expectations.



Data is yours — no further payments

You can download a complete analysis to your own computer and store it, therefore you can come back to it at any time in the future and without any further costs. Outputs of the analysis can be accessed, viewed and worked with offline from any place even without the internet connection. To open and view the data, use our professional application called DataFromSky Viewer, which also offers a whole range of advanced analytics including displaying of results directly in the video. With supported “views” on traffic data, you can easily set various types of configurations of traffic analyses. Thanks to this interactive application, you will also be able to immediately react to any new emerging questions related to your traffic research even during the presentation of its outputs.


DataFromSky Viewer.

Need to add a new analytic function?

DataFromSky platform is constantly under development on all levels. If there is a specific type of export or a new type of analysis that needs to be added, let us know. We have already implemented tens of advanced functions on demand and incentive of our users, while some of them are still available. We have rich experience with the implementation of request from our clients in the field of traffic analysis, as we have been involved in numerous research projects already. As a DataFromSky user, you get not only super-accurate data, but also personal approach and professional support in order to successfully realize all your projects.

Real-time analytics — DataFromSky EMBEDDED

DataFromSky is not solely about post-processing. The system also embodies devices which allow transforming literally any camera into a smart sensor. We took the AI from DataFromSky and optimized it into the smallest processing units. This is how the DataFromSky Embedded series came into being. It is a platform from DataFromSky using the state-of-the-art processors with low input power, built for the operation of deep neural networks. Do you want real-time data? Do you want an adaptive system for traffic signal control within intersections? Do you want a smart camera? Ask for the DataFromSky Embedded series.


DataFromSky has revolutionized the process of traffic data collection and analysis and unlocked new possibilities in the analysis of microscopic traffic behaviors, such as capacity evaluation and detection of risky situations — near accidents. Source: DataFromSky.

DataFromSky is a complex system for fully automated extraction of accurate traffic data using AI and machine learning methods. It has been developed and used for the purpose of traffic studies since 2013. DataFromSky AERIAL is a state-of-the-art and fully automated service for video analysis from the bird’s eye view (drones, balloons) for acquiring of super-accurate data not only for traffic research. DataFromSky LIGHT is a service for data analysis from low-altitude cameras for standard traffic research, fully automated as well. Try and see all the traffic magic FOR FREE!

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DataFromSky AI is finally launched!

Our new DataFromSky AI is finally launched! Globally trusted cloud-based platform for fully automated traffic analysis from videos using AI and machine learning methods with 100% guarantee of results (optionally).It is capable of measuring a wide range of advanced traffic parameters thanks to the trajectory-based approach: analyzing current speed acceleration/decelerationm, classification up to 16 categories, safety analysis (measuring Time to Collision, Heavy Breaking or risky situations), configurable gate counting including O/D matrix, travel and occupancy times, headways, Gap time & Time to follow analysis, capacity, estimations, various export functions and statistics and many more features… Click this link, upload a video taken by drone or standard camera and analyze your extracted traffic data or try one of our outputs available here.

To help you started we give you 3 credits to provide you up to three hours of video analysis. Follow us on LinkedIn and get 3 credits for LIKE and another               4 credits for SHARING this post. It means up to 7 hours of video analysis completely free of charges!

More about DataFromSky? – Read our article about Philosophy behind.

How to record the video by drone? – Find tips in our manual.

How to record the video by camera? – Find tips in our manual.



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How to capture a perfect drone video for your ultimate traffic survey?

The employment of drones and automatic image analysis offers new possibilities in traffic surveys, thanks to the accuracy of the measurement, the coverage range and the uniqueness of the obtained data. The camera is the most sensitive on the change of the position of ground objects in all directions when using the bird’s eye view. The dynamic occlusion between individual objects is minimalized as well.

These factual reasons together with advanced algorithms for extraction of traffic data ensure perfect information about every single participant of traffic flow.

Main aspects:

  • Angle of recording/ drone position
  • Lens speed / parasitic optical phenomena
  • Resolution & framerate & bitrate
  • Legislation

              

               Source: DataFromSky.

Angle of recording / drone position

In terms of accuracy of vehicle localization, the most ideal drone position is directly above the intersection — so-called TOP DOWN VIEW. At this position, the camera is the most sensitive to the change of the position of the object in the scene, therefore an extremely precise measurement of vehicle speed and acceleration is made possible. At the same time, the dynamic occlusion between individual objects is minimalized. Nevertheless, drone suspension directly above the traffic node is not always possible due to safety regulation and applicable legislation. In a situation like this, a simple rule applies — place the drone in such position that the view of the analyzed section is near to the bird’s eye view.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Fly with the drone to the nearest possible place in the middle of the intersection.
  2. Ascend to the maximum possible height. However, do not cross the height where a pixel resolution of monitored objects would be less than 20×20 pixels.

There is a notable drop of the accuracy of the vehicle localization (please note that this does NOT hold for DETECTION or for  CLASSIFICATION) if the angle of the view is higher than 55 degree.

A simple rule is as follows:

  • Angle of incidence ˂ 55 degrees = the drone should always be higher than the distance between the projection of the drone position on the ground and the center of the intersection.
  • 45 degrees means, that the drone altitude is the same as its distance from the center of the intersection.
  • 0 degrees means that the drone is directly above the intersection.

              

               Figure: three situations -0° = ideal position, 45° = ok, altitude is the same as distance from the center of the intersection, 55° = drone                          should be higher. Source: DataFromSky.

The drone should always be positioned in that way so the dynamic and static occlusions are avoided. Occlusions increase the probability of failure of object tracking and of disengagement of continuous trajectories, in other words, one object will have a higher number of shorter trajectories. The systems are robust against short occlusions, but long occlusions can cause the disengagement of continuous trajectories into more parts.


                      

               Figure: two situations — long occlusions are problematic, but system is robust against short occlusions. Source: DataFromSky.

Try to keep the drone in the same position when recording. Do not change the drone altitude nor the camera take and zoom when recording. All parameters should have been set before the start of recording. For high-quality recordings, it is better to use a camera with ultra-wide range lens, not with fish eye lens, which causes high distortion especially noticeable at image margins.


              

               Figure: two situations — try to avoid changing drone position when recording, and also avoid recording against the strong source of light.                Source: DataFromSky.

Parasitic optical phenomena / lens speed and scene acuity

When recording, try to avoid parasitic optical phenomena in camera take, which may be caused for instance by the sun or another strong source of light. Always turn the camera in such a way that this strong source of light is not recorded by a camera. Takes of scenes with sky should be avoided.


              

               Figure: three situations — nok: too bright (left), ok: ideal (center), nok: blurred due to low exposure time (right). Source: DataFromSky.

Focusing should always be carried out in such a way so the vehicles / objects are not blurred in a take. At the same try to set the camera in such a way so the objects are contrasting but not over-bright nor too much dark. This should be considered even at the expense of other parts of the shot. In case of night recordings or the recordings at the low light conditions, it is important that besides vehicles also the traffic elements are visibly identifiable.


              

               Figure: nok — four situations. Source: DataFromSky

An image from camera ought not to be deformed by shaking (caused by drone motor vibrations) as a majority of cameras use the rolling shutter function to load image data in rows. If the vibrations are not sufficiently damped, their effect will occur in the form of shaking in between rows within the image. This shaking then lowers the accuracy of the used stabilization methods. Motor vibrations can be damped with suitable damping elements.

Resolution, FPS and bitrate

Resolution is a key attribute for the detection and classification of objects. The minimal size of an object within the image (for its detection) is 15×15 pixels, while for its correct classification, a resolution of 30×30 pixels is needed. A recommended size for objects within the image is between 30×30 pixels up to 150×150 pixels in the whole monitored area within the intersection. Object size depends on the following parameters:

  • Image resolution
  • Drone’s position — altitude / angle
  • Mutual position of a monitored object and a drone/camera

A common rule is that if you record the video with maximal resolution used by modern cameras these days (e.g. 4K or 5K), it will be sufficient, as it is always possible to reduce the quality, but not the other way around. The following is a simple guide for resolutions:

  • A distance with oblique angle < or = 120 meters -> FULL HD (1920×1200) resolution will be sufficient, but it is better to use a higher resolution (2k/4k)
  • A distance with oblique angle > 120 to 300 meters -> use 4K video resolution

              

               Figure: min resolution. Source: DataFromSky.

Framerate represents the sampling frequency of measurements. For vehicle speed up to 70 km/h, it is possible to use a framerate 15FPS. For vehicle speed over 50 km/h, it is better to use sampling frequency around 25 FPS. Sampling frequency over 35 FPS has no further positive effect on the quality of measurement, but only makes the video and its size unnecessarily large. The final quality of the video is also greatly influenced by bitrate settings. At FULL HD videos, coded with the H264 coding format, the bitrate should be at least 10 Mbit/s. At 4K videos, coded with H264, a minimum of 20 Mbit/s is necessary. The video must not be blurry, pixelated, or any signs of damage caused by compressing algorithms.

Tip for beginners: record video with 4K resolution and 25 FPS with standard bitrate (approx. 20 Mbit/s)

By following these rules you will get suitable videos for automatic processing to extract super-accurate data for your traffic study. Before the final recording, we recommend to carry out a test flight or make a few sample recordings in order to get acquainted with the basic principles. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Legislation & safety

Before the recording itself, always check what are the legal conditions for the recording of traffic in your country. Legislation differs from country to country and sometimes it is required to use services of a professional pilot with necessary permissions. There is also a predefined maximal flight altitude for drones in many countries (usually 120 meters), as well as a minimal safety distance (usually 50–120 meters away from objects). If the recording is carried out by a professional pilot, it is possible to gain permission even at different conditions. Always take the possible risks of technical failure into consideration.

If you do not want to carry out the recording by yourself, do not hesitate to contact us. We have a network of experienced and certified pilots all around the globe within the DataFromSky PILOT program. We will provide you with consultations about your project and its requirements in order to find the most suitable solution. We can also carry out the recording for you if necessary.



DataFromSky is a complex system for fully automated extraction of accurate traffic data using AI and machine learning methods. It has been developed and used for the purpose of traffic studies since 2013. DataFromSky AERIAL is a state-of-the-art and fully automated service for video analysis from the bird’s eye view (drones, balloons) for acquiring of super-accurate data not only for traffic research. DataFromSky LIGHT is a service for data analysis from low-altitude cameras for standard traffic research, fully automated as well. Try and see all the traffic magic FOR FREE!

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DataFromSky Viewer – new version with many amazing features!

We are happy to announce a release of a new version of DataFromSky Viewer and we have one breaking news for you: DFS Viewer LIGHT and DFS Viewer AERIAL were merged into ONE common software application DataFromSky Viewer. From now on, you do not have to install two different software, one for videos analyzed by LIGHT platform (light.datafromsky.com) and the other one analyzed by Aerial platform. The aggregated Viewer SW will display the features according to the log you open in it – what does it mean? If you have video processed by DFS Light and open the tlgx file in Viewer, the SW will show you the features for the LIGHT Viewer, and on the other hand, if you have a drone video analyzed by DFS Aerial and open the tlgx file in this aggregated Viewer, the SW will automatically enable you all the advanced features available for Aerial analysis. Be smart and use one application for all results!

New features of DataFromSky Viewer:

* one common version for both services AERIAL & LIGHT (automatic SW configuration according to opened file)
* GRID maps
* new type of filter “Traffic Region” – measuring time of staying, number of vehicles within the defined zone (region)
* supported new speed units: kilometers per hour [km/h], miles per hour [mi/h] or feet per second
* significantly speed up video playback even for 4k video
* new option to export the visualization video in .mp4
* new option to specify export resolution (“Original”, “2160p”, “1080p” and “720p”)
* option to lock project tlgx file (only in registrated, licensed version)

You don’t have an account on DataFromSky Web Platform yet? Go to light.datafromsky.com, create an Account for free and test the automatic video analysis on your own videos! You will receive some free Credits as a welcome gift. Download new version of DataFromSky Viewer directly at this link or go to the Task manager on your User Account. Tricks and tips on how to use the SW are “hidden” in our Help section.

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New concept of future Berlin streets with DataFromSky Light

How to deal with busy streets in the center of Berlin? Buses, trams, cars, cyclists, pedestrians can be seen everywhere moving without any rules. Is it possible to build car-free, bicycle-friendly & human-oriented city? Macromedia University of Applied Science in Berlin did concentrate on this issue as a part of Master Course Smart City Design and DataFromSky played a key role in the process of analysis of traffic and behavioral patterns and creating proposals for design changes!

How was the whole concept proceed?
Different groups of objects have been defined at the beginning of the analysis. Then a video of chosen intersection or street was taken and analyzed by DataFromSky software. Based on these data new concept of the intersection/street was designed.

Students have chosen different places around Berlin for the analysis. We have decided to choose 3 of them as a Use Case of our DataFromSky Light service.

Crossing Redesign Analysis and Concept
This analysis was done for an Intersection of Köpenicker Straße and Manteuffelstraße. Video from this intersection was analyzed by DataFromSky to get number of objects. Based on obtained data new concept of the people-oriented street was designed. New concept includes 2-Way Bike lane with limited speed, lines for cars & buses with slowing elements and giant crosswalk in the middle of the intersection with light signalization that helps to manage the flow of all participants.

Situation before and after, Author: Anja Lüttmann

Car-Free & Bicycle-Friendly & Human-oriented place
One of the analysis was focused on the heavy used intersection of Kurfürstendamm and Joachimsthaler Straße nearby Berlin city center. The aim of this analysis was to design car-free, bicycle-friendly & human-oriented place. Thanks to DataFromSky software most common vehicle, bicycle paths and pedestrians movements were identified and based on these data new concept of car-free place was designed. See the analysis output below:


Authors: Bensu Ece Tugyan — Tugan Can Tureli

Car-free Concept
Aim of this analysis was to analyze and design new car-free concept of Bergmanstrasse in Bergmannkiez. The objects (such as Cars, Bicycles and Motorcycles) were analyzed by DataFromSky software – counted, analyzed the trajectories, behavior patterns etc. Based on this analysis new concept of street lanes were defined. See a proposed design below:


Author: Alicia Baeck

Read the whole article from Berlin Macromedia School here.

Do you want to use DataFromSky and analyze the traffic in your city?
Thanks to DataFromSky Light you can get:
        – Origin-destination matrix, turn-movements
        – gate counting
        – trajectories
        – stationary time
        – recognition of colors of objects
        – object classification, up to 16 categories in total
        – various export options (Excel, CSV, visualizations)
        – …and much more!
Try it now on your own videos – register here.

In case it is not enough for you, try our DataFromSky Aerial service that can provide complete and detailed telemetry data about each traffic participant:
        – complete object trajectories (time, position, speed, acceleration in coordinate system UTM or WGS84)
        – classification of all objects into 7 main categories (including bicycles and pedestrians)
        – vehicle counts via configurable counting gates
        – detailed OD matrix and turning movements count in defined directions
        – speed and acceleration anywhere in the scene, heatmaps
        – lane assignment
        – measurement of critical headway (gap) and follow-up headway, capacity estimation
        – safety analysis (Time to collision measurement, PET, Heavy breaking), see a video
        – many other advanced features!

Do you want to use DataFromSky software or do you have any questions? Do not hesitate to contact us!

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