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WebODM is a free, user-friendly, extendable application and API for drone image processing. It generates georeferenced maps, point clouds and textured 3D models from aerial images.

Developers can leverage this API to extend the functionality of WebODM or integrate it with existing software like QGIS or AutoCAD.

Point Cloud


How To Process Images

In this tutorial we’ll explore how to process an orthophoto from a set of aerial images using Python. To do that we’ll need to:

import requests
res ='http://localhost:8000/api/token-auth/', 
                    data={'username': 'admin',
                          'password': 'admin'}).json()
token = res['token']

First, we authenticate with WebODM. A token is returned when authentication is successful.

res ='http://localhost:8000/api/projects/', 
                    headers={'Authorization': 'JWT {}'.format(token)},
                    data={'name': 'Hello WebODM!'}).json()
project_id = res['id']

Then we need to create a Project. We pass our token via the Authorization header. If we forget to pass this header, the system will not authenticate us and will refuse to process the request. We also assign a name to our project.

images = [
    ('images', ('image1.jpg', open('image1.jpg', 'rb'), 'image/jpg')), 
    ('images', ('image2.jpg', open('image2.jpg', 'rb'), 'image/jpg')),
    # ...
options = json.dumps([
    {'name': "orthophoto-resolution", 'value': 24}

res ='http://localhost:8000/api/projects/{}/tasks/'.format(project_id), 
            headers={'Authorization': 'JWT {}'.format(token)},
                'options': options

task_id = res['id']

We can then create a Task. The only required parameter is a list of multiple, multipart-encoded images. Processing will start automatically as soon as a Processing Node is available. It is possible to specify additional options by passing an options value, which is a JSON-encoded list of name/value pairs. Several other options are available. See the Task - Processing Options reference for more information.

while True:
    res = requests.get('http://localhost:8000/api/projects/{}/tasks/{}/'.format(project_id, task_id), 
                headers={'Authorization': 'JWT {}'.format(token)}).json()

    if res['status'] == status_codes.COMPLETED:
        print("Task has completed!")
    elif res['status'] == status_codes.FAILED:
        print("Task failed: {}".format(res))
        print("Processing, hold on...")

We periodically check for the Task status using a loop.

res = requests.get("http://localhost:8000/api/projects/{}/tasks/{}/download/orthophoto.tif".format(project_id, task_id), 
                        headers={'Authorization': 'JWT {}'.format(token)},
with open("orthophoto.tif", 'wb') as f:
    for chunk in res.iter_content(chunk_size=1024): 
        if chunk:
print("Saved ./orthophoto.tif")

Our orthophoto is ready to be downloaded. A variety of other assets, including a dense 3D point cloud and a textured model are also available.

Congratulations! You just processed some images.




Authentication Basics

Get authentication token:

curl -X POST -d "username=testuser&password=testpass" http://localhost:8000/api/token-auth/


Use authentication token:

curl -H "Authorization: JWT <your_token>" http://localhost:8000/api/projects/

{"count":13, ...}

Use authentication token via querystring (less secure):

curl http://localhost:8000/api/projects/?jwt=<your_token>

{"count":13, ...}

POST /api/token-auth/

Field Type Description
username string Username
password string Password

To access the API, you need to provide a valid username and password. You can create users from WebODM’s Administration page.

If authentication is successful, you will be issued a token. All API calls should include the following header:

Authorization: JWT your_token

The token expires after a set amount of time. See Token Expiration for more information.

Since applications sometimes do not allow headers to be modified, you can also authenticate by appending the jwt querystring parameter to a protected URL. This is less secure, so pass the token via header if possible.

Token Expiration

The token expires after a predefined amount of time. The expiration time is dependent on WebODM’s settings. You will need to request another token when a token expires.

You know that a token has expired if any API call returns a 403 status code with the JSON body {'detail': 'Signature has expired.'}.


Example project:

    "id": 2,
    "tasks": [
    "created_at": "2016-12-07T02:09:28.515319Z",
    "name": "Test",
    "description": "",
    "permissions": [

A Project is a collection of Task items.

Field Type Description
id int Unique identifier
tasks int[] List of task IDs associated with this project
created_at string Creation date and time
name string Name of the project
description string A more in-depth description
permissions string[] List of actions that the current user is allowed to perform. See Permissions Values

Create a project

POST /api/projects/

Parameter Required Default Description
name * “” Name of the project
description “” A more in-depth description

Update a project

PATCH /api/projects/{id}/

Parameters are the same as above.

Delete a project

DELETE /api/projects/{id}/

Upon deletion, all Task items associated with the Project are deleted also. The operation is irreversible.

Get single project

GET /api/projects/{id}/

Get list of projects

Project list:

    "count": 1,
    "next": null,
    "previous": null,
    "results": [
            "id": 2,
            "tasks": [
            "created_at": "2016-12-07T02:09:28.515319Z",
            "name": "Test",
            "description": ""

GET /api/projects/

Parameter Required Default Description
page 1 Page number
id “” Filter by id
name “” Filter by name
description “” Filter by description
created_at “” Filter by created_at
ordering “” Ordering field to sort results by

Example: Filtering by name

GET /api/projects/?name=hello

Retrieves projects that have a name of “hello”.

Example: Sorting

GET /api/projects/?ordering=-id

Sort by project ID, descending order.


Example task:

  "id": 134,
  "project": 27,
  "processing_node": 10,
  "processing_node_name": "localhost:3000",
  "images_count": 48,
  "can_rerun_from": [],
  "available_assets": [
  "uuid": "4338d684-91b4-49a2-b907-8ba171894393",
  "name": "Task Name",
  "processing_time": 2197417,
  "auto_processing_node": false,
  "status": 40,
  "last_error": null,
  "options": [
      "name": "use-opensfm-pointcloud",
      "value": true
  "created_at": "2017-02-18T18:01:55.402551Z",
  "pending_action": null,
  "upload_progress": 1.0,
  "resize_progress": 0.0,
  "running_progress": 1.0

A Task is the basic processing unit of WebODM. To compute an orthophoto, point cloud and textured model from a set of images, you need to create a Task.

Field Type Description
id int Unique identifier
project int Project ID the task belongs to
processing_node int The ID of the Processing Node this task has been assigned to, or null if no Processing Node has been assigned.
processing_node_name string The name of the processing node below, or null if no Processing Node has been assigned.
images_count int Number of images
can_rerun_from string[] List of possible “rerun-from” options that this task could restart from, given its currently assigned processing node. If this is an empty list, the task can only be restarted from the start of the pipeline.
available_assets string[] List of assets available for download
uuid string Unique identifier assigned by a Processing Node once processing has started.
name string User defined name for the task
processing_time int Milliseconds that have elapsed since the start of processing, or -1 if no information is available. Useful for displaying a time status report to the user.
auto_processing_node boolean Whether WebODM should automatically assign the next available Processing Node to process this Task. A user can set this to false to manually choose a Processing Node.
status int One of Status Codes, or null if no status is available.
last_error string The last error message reported by a Processing Node in case of processing failure.
options JSON[] JSON-encoded list of name/value pairs, where each pair represents a command line option to be passed to a Processing Node.
created_at string Creation date and time.
pending_action int One of Pending Actions, or null if no pending action is set.
upload_progress float Value between 0 and 1 indicating the upload progress of this task’s files to the processing node.
resize_progress float Value between 0 and 1 indicating the resize progress of this task’s images.
running_progress float Value between 0 and 1 indicating the running progress (estimated) of this task.

Create a task

POST /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/

Parameter Required Default Description
images[] * “” List of multipart-encoded images (2 minimum)
processing_node null The ID of the Processing Node this Task should be assigned to. If not specified, and auto_processing_node is true, a Processing Node will be automatically assigned.
name “” User defined name for the task
auto_processing_node true Whether WebODM should automatically assign the next available Processing Node to process this Task.
options “[]” JSON-encoded list of name/value pairs, where each pair represents a command line option to be passed to a Processing Node.

You assign a Task to a Project by passing the proper project_id path in the URL.

Update a task

PATCH /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/

Parameters are the same as above.

Get list of tasks

Task list:

        "id": 6,
        "project": 2,
        "processing_node": 2,
        "processing_node_name": "localhost:3000",
        "images_count": 89,
        "uuid": "2e8b687d-c269-4e2f-91b3-5a2cd51b5321",
        "name": "Test name",
        "processing_time": 8402184,
        "auto_processing_node": true,
        "status": 40,
        "last_error": null,
        "options": [],
        "created_at": "2016-12-08T13:32:28.139474Z",
        "pending_action": null,
        "upload_progress": 1.0,
        "resize_progress": 0.0,
        "running_progress": 1.0

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/

Retrieves all Task items associated with project_id.

Download assets

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/download/{asset}

After a task has been successfully processed, the user can download several assets from this URL. Not all assets are always available. For example if GPS information is missing from the input images, the orthophoto.tif asset will be missing. You can check the available_assets property of a Task to see which assets are available for download.

Asset Description Archive (.zip) containing all assets, including an orthophoto, TMS tiles, a textured 3D model and point cloud in various formats.
orthophoto.tif GeoTIFF orthophoto.
orthophoto.png PNG orthophoto.
orthophoto.mbtiles Orthophoto MBTiles archive. Archive containing the textured 3D model
georeferenced_model.las Point cloud in .LAS format.
georeferenced_model.ply Point cloud in .PLY format.
georeferenced_model.csv Point cloud in .CSV format.

Download assets (raw path)

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/assets/{path}

After a task has been successfully processed, its assets are stored in a directory on the file system. This API call allows direct access to the files in that directory (by default: WebODM/app/media/project/{project_id}/task/{task_id}/assets). This can be useful to those applications that want to stream a Potree dataset, or render a textured 3D model on the fly.

Retrieve console output

Console output example:

curl -H "Authorization: JWT <your_token>" http://localhost:8000/api/projects/2/tasks/1/output/?line=5

[DEBUG]   /var/www/data/e453747f-5fd4-4654-9622-b02727b29fc5/images\n[DEBUG]   Loaded DJI_0219.JPG | camera: dji fc300s ...

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/output/

As a Task is being processed, processing nodes will return an output string that can be used for debugging and informative purposes. Output is only available after processing has started.

Parameter Required Default Description
line 0 Only display the output starting from a certain line number. This can be useful to display output in realtime to the user by keeping track of the number of lines that have been displayed to the user so far and thus avoiding to download all output at every request.

Cancel task

POST /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/cancel/

Stop processing a Task. Canceled tasks can be restarted.

Remove task

POST /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/remove/

All assets associated with it will be destroyed also. If the Task is currently being processed, processing will stop.

Restart task

POST /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/restart/

If a Task has been canceled or has failed processing, or has completed but the user decided to change processing options, it can be restarted. If the Processing Node assigned to the Task has not changed, processing will happen more quickly compared to creating a new Task, since the Processing Node remembers the uuid of the Task and will attempt to reuse previous results from the computation pipeline.

Orthophoto TMS layer

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/orthophoto/tiles.json

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/orthophoto/tiles/{Z}/{X}/{Y}.png

After a task has been successfully processed, a TMS layer is made available for inclusion in programs such as Leaflet or Cesium.

Surface Model TMS layer

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/dsm/tiles.json

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/dsm/tiles/{Z}/{X}/{Y}.png

Terrain Model TMS layer

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/dtm/tiles.json

GET /api/projects/{project_id}/tasks/{task_id}/dtm/tiles/{Z}/{X}/{Y}.png

Pending Actions

In some circumstances, a Task can have a pending action that requires some amount of time to be performed.

Pending Action Code Description
CANCEL 1 Task is being canceled
REMOVE 2 Task is being removed
RESTART 3 Task is being restarted

Status Codes

Status Code Description
QUEUED 10 Task’s files have been uploaded to a Processing Node and are waiting to be processed.
RUNNING 20 Task is currently being processed.
FAILED 30 Task has failed for some reason (not enough images, out of memory, Piero forgot to close a parenthesis, etc.)
COMPLETED 40 Task has completed. Assets are be ready to be downloaded.
CANCELED 50 Task was manually canceled by the user.

Processing Node

Example processing node:

    "id": 2,
    "online": true,
    "hostname": "",
    "port": 80,
    "api_version": "1.0.1",
    "last_refreshed": "2017-03-01T21:14:49.918276Z",
    "queue_count": 0,
    "max_images": null,
    "available_options": [
            "help": "Oct-tree depth at which the Laplacian equation is solved in the surface reconstruction step. Increasing this value increases computation times slightly but helps reduce memory usage. Default: 9",
            "name": "mesh-solver-divide",
            "type": "int",
            "value": "9",
            "domain": "positive integer"

Processing nodes are associated with zero or more tasks and take care of processing input images. Processing nodes are computers or virtual machines running NodeODM or any other API compatible with it.

Field Type Description
id int Unique Identifier
online bool Whether the processing node could be reached in the last 5 minutes
hostname string Hostname/IP address
port int Port
api_version string Version of NodeODM currently running
last_refreshed string Date and time this node was last seen online. This value is typically refreshed every 15-30 seconds and is used to decide whether a node is offline or not
queue_count int Number of Task items currently being processed/queued on this node.
max_images int Optional maximum number of images this processing node can accept. null indicates no limit.
available_options JSON[] JSON-encoded list of options that this node is capable of handling. See Available Options for more information

Available Options

Name Description
help Description of the option
name Name that identifies the option. This is the value you pass in the name key/value pair when creating a set of options for a new Task
type Possible values are int, float, string, bool
value Default value if the option is not specified
domain Restriction of the range of values that this option allows. Examples are float, negative integer, percent, float: 0 <= x <= 10, etc. for all possible values, check NodeODM’s odmOptions.js code

Add a processing node

POST /api/processingnodes/

Parameter Required Default Description
hostname * “” Hostname/IP address
port * Port

All other fields are automatically populated, and shouldn’t generally be specified.

Update a processing node

PATCH /api/processingnodes/

Parameters are the same as above.

Delete a processing node

DELETE /api/processingnodes/

Upon deletion, all Task items associated with the node will continue to exist. You might get errors (duh!) if you delete a processing node in the middle of processing a Task.

Get list of processing nodes

GET /api/processingnodes/

Parameter Required Default Description
id “” Filter by id
hostname “” Filter by hostname
port “” Filter by port
api_version “” Filter by API version
queue_count “” Filter by queue count
max_images “” Filter by max images
ordering “” Ordering field to sort results by
has_available_options “” Return only processing nodes that have a valid set of processing options (check that the available_options field is populated). Either true or false.

Example: Show only nodes that have a valid set of options

GET /api/processingnodes/?has_available_options=true

Example: Sorting

GET /api/processingnodes/?ordering=-hostname

Sort by hostname, descending order.

Processing Options

Processing options example:

        "help": "Oct-tree depth at which the Laplacian equation is solved in the surface reconstruction step. Increasing this value increases computation times slightly but helps reduce memory usage. Default: 9",
        "name": "mesh-solver-divide",
        "type": "int",
        "value": "9",
        "domain": "positive integer"
        "help": "Ignore matched keypoints if the two images share less than <float> percent of keypoints. Default: 2",
        "name": "matcher-threshold",
        "type": "float",
        "value": "2",
        "domain": "percent"

GET /api/processingnodes/options/

Display the common options available among all online processing nodes. This is calculated by intersecting the available_options field of all online processing nodes visible to the current user.

Use this list of options to check whether a particular option is supported by all online processing nodes. If you use the automatic processing node assignment feature for processing tasks, this is the list you want to display to the user for choosing the options to use during processing.


WebODM comes with a standard model level permission system. You can check whether users are logged-in and have privileges to act on things model-wise (can a user add a project? can a user view projects?).

On top of that, WebODM features a powerful row level permission system. You can specify exactly which things a user has or has not access to, delete, change, etc.

Changes to the permissions of objects can be handled via the Administration page of WebODM.

We are planning to make it easier for users and developers to handle permissions via an API. This is a work in progress.

Permission Values

Permission Description
delete The object can be deleted
change The object can be edited
add A related object can be added to the object (a task can be added to the project)
view The object can be viewed (read-only)

Handling Errors

All API calls use the status codes as described in the Django REST Framework’s Status Code Guide, but generally you only need to check for success status codes (200 or 204), handle the special case of Token Expiration (403) and report an error otherwise.

Error Status Codes

This is not an exhaustive list, but common error codes are listed below.

Status Code Description
401 Unauthenticated
403 Forbidden (token expired?)
400 Malformed request
404 Not found

For security reasons, sometimes an operation which should return 403 returns 404 to avoid disclosing IDs and other information to attackers.

For Developers

Development Quickstart

  1. Make a fork of the WebODM repository
  2. Clone your repository in a directory
  3. Create a new branch: git checkout -b branchname.
  4. Setup a development environment either with docker or natively.
  5. Commit the changes: git commit -a -m "describe your changes"
  6. Push the changes to your repository: git push origin branchname
  7. Create a pull request

We don’t have many rules. Follow the guidelines indicated in the Contributing document, be nice to others and you’ll do great! :)

Setup a Development Environment

There are two ways to setup a development environment. The easiest one is to use docker.

Once you have a development environment, read about the project overview and get hacking!

Docker Setup

Follow the Getting Started instructions, then run:

./ start

That’s it! You can modify any of the files, including SASS and React.js files. Changes will be reflected in the running WebODM instance automatically.

Native Setup

If you can follow the instructions to run WebODM natively, you should be able to make changes to the code directly.

Run Unit Tests

We think testing is a necessary part of delivering robust software. We try to achieve complete test coverage for backend code and at a minimum robust smoke testing for frontend code.

To run the unit tests, simply type:

./ runtests

Project Overview


The backend is based mainly on Django and Django REST Framework.

We don’t use much of Django’s templating system, except for the Administration and Processing Nodes sections. Instead we use Django to expose an API, which we then tie to a React.js app.

Directories of interest are listed as follow:

Directory Description
/app Main application, includes the UI components, API, tests and backend logic.
/nodeodm Application that bridges the communication between WebODM and NodeODM. Includes its own unit tests and models.
/webodm Django’s main project directory. Setting files are here.


We use a React.js app (ES6 syntax) and SCSS for various UI components such as the dashboard. We use webpack to build intermediate components into a static bundle.

Directories of interest are listed as follow:

Directory Description
/app/templates/app Location of Django templates. While we don’t use them a lot, we use them for a few pages and as a glue to bootstrap the React code.
/app/static/app/js Location of Javascript files for all UI components.
/app/static/app/js/components We try to separate components for reusability into various React components. Each component is stored here.
/app/static/app/js/css Each component should have its own SCSS file. Those files are stored here.

/app/static/app/js/main.jsx is the entry point for the UI. If you wonder how we tie Django and React.js together, this is the file to look at to begin your search.


We use Slate to generate our documentation. See their project’s wiki for information about making changes to the documentation.

Documentation can be changed by modifying the files in /slate/source/includes.