SLANTRANGE & DroneDeploy Part I: Flight Planning
UPDATE - March 15, 2017: While the steps outlined below can still be used for DroneDeploy flight planning with SLANTRANGE sensors, our app in the DroneDeploy App Market now provides a much more integrated flight planning experience. Read all about it in our blog post.
We've been working hard with our friends at DroneDeploy to offer some great new capabilities to SLANTRANGE customers. As many of you know, DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones and offers simple yet powerful tools for flight planning, 2D and 3D map generation, data analysis, sharing, syncing, and much more. While much of the power of our solution for agriculture drones comes from our rapid, OFFLINE data processing, many of DroneDeploy's cloud-based tools can be leveraged, when a network connection IS available, to enhance the capabilities of the SLANTRANGE system.
You can read about how to use the DroneDeploy "Map Upload" tool with SLANTRANGE data in Part II of this series and we'll be covering our app in the DroneDeploy App Market in Part III, but Part I is focused on the DroneDeploy flight planner.
First things first, the latest release of the DroneDeploy mobile app now supports flying with SLANTRANGE! We're very excited to now be able to offer access to the industry's leading flight planning app for DJI drones, which includes offline planning, plan sharing, and many other great features. The DroneDeploy support pages provide excellent guidance on how to use their flight planner but we wanted to cover the specifics of using the app with SLANTRANGE in this post.
Step 1: Create a Plan
Select "Plan a New Flight" to create a new flight plan. After assigning a name to your plan, you can define the boundary, add/remove points, and move/rotate your plan.
Step 2: Set Altitude, Overlap, and Speed
IMPORTANT: This is where we wanted to provide some specific guidance as these settings are unique to using a SLANTRANGE sensor. Because SLANTRANGE sensors operate completely independently, there is no connection to the drone or the DroneDeploy app. For the current version of the app, it assumes you're flying a DJI X3 camera so you'll need to adjust the frontlap and sidelap settings to produce the appropriate overlap with your SLANTRANGE sensor.
You can use the table below to determine the appropriate settings for your desired flight. For each combination of Altitude and Speed, the values in blue are the Sidelap / Frontlap settings to set in the app to achieve the Desired Overlap shown at the top of the table. Note that this table is valid for both the SLANTRANGE 2i and the SLANTRANGE 2p sensors. If your specific combination of flight parameters is not listed, contact us and we'd be happy to provide a copy of our calculator. As a reminder, we recommend flying at 20% overlap for most use cases. And no, that's not a typo! You can read more about our low overlap requirements here.
|Desired Overlap (%)|
|Altitude (m)||Speed (m/s)||10||20||30|
|60||8||56 / 76||61 / 76||66 / 76|
|10||56 / 70||61 / 70||66 / 70|
|12||56 / 64||61 / 64||66 / 64|
|90||8||56 / 84||61 / 84||66 / 84|
|10||56 / 80||61 / 80||66 / 80|
|12||56 / 76||61 / 76||66 / 76|
|120||8||56 / 88||61 / 88||66 / 88|
|10||56 / 85||61 / 85||66 / 85|
|12||56 / 82||61 / 82||66 / 82|
As an example, if you'd like to conduct a flight at 90 m altitude at 10 m/s with 20% overlap, you'd use the following settings in the DroneDeploy app:
Altitude: 90 m
NOTE: An upcoming release of the DroneDeploy app will include our specific sensor parameters, allowing you to set your SLANTRANGE flight parameters directly in the app.
Step 3: Complete the Plan
Once you're happy with the flight plan, click the blue save icon in the lower right to complete your plan.
Step 4: Fly the Plan!
Make sure to follow the SLANTRANGE Flight Instruction Checklist detailed in our User Guide.
Connect your mobile device to your aircraft remote controller via USB. Turn on your remote controller and aircraft. In the DroneDeploy app, select your plan and click the blue airplane button in the lower right to initiate your Pre-flight checklist. Once your Pre-flight checks are completed successfully, the airplane button will turn into a check button. When you are ready to take-off, click the check and away you go!
While there are many other flight planning options available, DroneDeploy is now our recommended app to get the most from your SLANTRANGE sensor on a DJI drone. There are of course MANY other non-DJI drones and you can fly a SLANTRANGE sensor on almost all of them. You'll need to contact the drone manufacturer for their supported flight planners but Mission Planner is a great option for Pixhawk-based drones.
We hope you enjoy the simplicity and reliability of the DroneDeploy app and we're confident it will be a great asset to your agricultural drone imaging business. Feel free to provide any feedback in the Comments section.