Published June 17, 2019 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Orthophotos and DSMs derived from RPAS flights over the nature reserve Kalmthoutse Heide in Flanders, Belgium

  • 1. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)
  • 2. Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)


Data curator:

  • 1. Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)


Study area

The Kalmthoutse Heide is a nature reserve situated north of Kalmthout, in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. It is part of the Cross-Border Nature Park De Zoom - Kalmthoutse Heide in the Netherlands and Belgium. The Kalmthoutse Heide is managed by the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forest and consists of wet and dry heathlands, inland dunes, forests and moorland pools. In this area, there is particular interest in monitoring the encroachment of the heathlands by Molinia caerulea and Campylopus introflexus.

Data collection

Data were collected by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) with a fixed wing drone Gatewing X100 in 2015 and 2016 (8 flights). RGB data were acquired using an off-the-shelf Ricoh GR Digital IV camera, with the following image bands: 1: red, 2: green, 3: blue, 4: alpha channel.

Data processing

The raw data were processed to Digital Surface Models and orthophotos by the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) in 2017. Images with coarse GPS coordinates were imported and processed in Agisoft PhotoScan Pro 1.4.x, a structure-from-motion (SfM) based photogrammetry software program. After extraction and matching of tie points, a bundle adjustment leads to a sparse point cloud and a refined set of camera position and orientation values. Ground control points (either artificially installed markers on the terrain, or other photo-identifiable points, measured on the ground with RTK GNSS) were used to further refine the camera calibration and obtain a pixel-level georeferencing accuracy. From there, a point cloud densification and classification into ground and non-ground points was performed, leading to a rasterized digital surface model (DSM) and digital terrain model (DTM). Finally, a true orthomosaic was projected onto the DTM.

Coordinate reference system

All geospatial data have the coordinate reference system EPSG:31370 - Belgian Lambert 72.


  • Raw flight data: images and logs collected by the drone during flight. These files are zipped per flight, with the date (yyyymmdd) and flight number (x) indicated in the file name (
  • Processed data: Digital Surface Models (filename_DSM.tif) and orthophotos (filename_Ortho.tif) stitched together from the raw data. The included flights are indicated in the file name (e.g. 3 flights for 20150717_KH_1-3_DSM.tif).
  • Ground control points: temporary ground control points were placed for the first flights on 2015-07-17 (visible in 20150717_KH_1-3_Ortho.tif). Coordinates for these are available in GCP_20150717_KH.tsv.

Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF

The most efficient way to explore the processed data is by loading the Cloud Optimized GeoTIFFs we created for each processed file. Copy one of the file URLs below and follow e.g. the QGIS tutorial to load this type of file.

  • RGB
  • RGB
  • RGB
  • RGB

See this page for an overview of public INBO RPAS data.


This dataset was collected using infrastructure provided by INBO and funded by Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) as part of the Belgian contribution to LifeWatch.



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