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Capture app and DJI Matrice 600 (with non-DJI camera mounted)

hi all,

i have been using capture app with P3P successfully. I want to expand my business and use the RTK-enabled Matrice 600 (with A3 flight controller and Zenmuse X3 or X5 camera) to avoid the pain of placing GCPs. I see that the Capture App hasn’t been tested for the  Matrice 600.

Does this mean I can’t use capture app at all, or can I use it with the Inspire 1 setting as I plan to use the same camera? The only thing to keep in mind would then be flight time?

thanks for your input!

 

Geoff

Please before you make the jump to m600 be sure that it will do what you want it to do. The DJI base station may still need to be referenced to a know geo point for “well” registered modelling.

Pix4D is weighted more towards geometric point calculations than geo-referenced points. GPS mostly applies scaling factors to the model geometry than geo-posistioning.

It will be hard to beat the Inspire/X3/X5 combo as a VTOL aerial collections system as far as simplicity goes.

Hi Gary,

 

Thanks for your input. Are you referring to the Capture app only or Pix4D mapper, or both?

 

geoff

The app controls aircraft flight path, image side/over lap and collection of geo data during collection.

 

Greetings…I see that this M600 discussion was about 6 months ago?   My company wants to move to the M600 for redundancy, RTK, higher resolution cameras, extended flight times.  I am hoping we can see some backing on this.  Preferred camera would be a Sony A7 - 35mm lens for mapping.

 

Hi,

The M600 integration is on-hold at the moment but it is still planned.
We added you in our list of beta testers. You will be contacted when we have a new version supporting the M600.

Have you perhaps try to select M100 to fly? Several users reported a successful attempt when flying with our app. If you wish to give it a try, we will be glad to read your feedback.

Regards,

I flew my Matrice M600 with a zenmuse XTr all day today completely automated via PIX4D absolute perfect. It was also strong winds at times today but the M600 was flown completely on path, perfect. All the radiometric jpegs were shot perfectly to, no blurs. I set the software to Matrice 100, but noticed in the finished mission window stated M600… Having tried DroneDeploy and DJI GSP both did not work with Zenmuse XTr with r-Jpeg , although they recognised the M600. So it looks like M600 is working fine. Have another full day flying with it tomorrow too.

This is great to hear. I have been wondering how well selecting the M100 would work for the M600. I guess I didn’t realize the M100 uses the A3. does it matter that we are using A3 Pro I wonder?

Also, when you are flying the XTR thermal camera, what are you creating? I have thought about trying that for some of the power utility substations we do but was not sure what the results would be like.

Thanks

Has anyone had any success on the M600 pro with the Sony A7R?

 

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Wondering the same. Anyone used the M600 Pro with Sony A7R combo?

We have found a solution for the M600 Pro - Sony A7R configuration.   The M600 Pro has no inherent way of automatically controlling the camera shutter nor timing it based on altitude and speed.   We found that Pix4D does not have a solutions for this but we found a that a company called Drones Made Easy does.  They have built their own ‘Ninja’ processor board to support their Map Pilot flight software.  The camera control and resolution are then managed by the flight software.  Since the camera has such a fast shutter turnaround, the software can base the shutter speed on the actual M600 flight speed.  However, in our mapping, we have discovered that slower is always better for clearer point clouds. 

We are also flying with the A3 Flight controller and D-RTK connectivity.  It appears that the D-RTK is only being used for the M600 to more accurately keep it’s positioning on the globe; not to feed any data to the captured images (too bad).

One drawback we have with this setup is that the Sony camera does NOT have the X,Y,Z coordinate data stamped into the image when it is taken.  However, as the M600 is flying, a CSV log file of 60 columns of data is being captured by the Map Pilot software at a rate of 10 records per second.  After flying a project, we then must upload the images and the supporting CSV log file(s) so that the tags can be fixed onto the images.

We don’t have this down to a perfect science yet.  We are experiencing accurate X values but the Y values seem to be consistently off.  We are experimenting with reduced speed and are in the process of confirming that our antenna alignment is correct.  We are open to any suggestions that anyone might have.

I hope this has been a little encouraging for those of you with this expensive hardware but no way to map with it.

— Larry Pruitt, President, Sierra Aeriform

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Mr. Pruitt, Sierra Aeriform,

I too have the m600 pro but not the Sony A7R.  I am using the Canon 5d MIII setup with the zenmuse gimbal for that camera.  I realized after the purchase, the shutter is not controlled in any way by the dji-go app or the Pix4D capture app.  Being a surveyor, I will always use ground control no matter what all these software companies claim about accuracy.

Your experience expressed on this forum has me very curious about the Drones Made Easy app.  Have you figured out the y-values inconsistency?  Since I use ground control anyway, it might not matter, but having the images referenced is a big plus.  Is the CSV log file something that is easy to decipher?  Does Pix4D process this file or do you have to do surgery on it first?  When you say “slower is always better for clearer point cloud”, exactly what do you mean?  Shutter speed control or vehicle speed?

Sorry for all the questions but working this out would be a big help.

Thanks,

Garren M., GEL Engineering

For what its worth, setting local or better yet UTM time as accurate as possible on the sensor prior to data collection helps.

GPS data sampling at 10hz is good, higher sampling without very good timing from your sensor is just a bigger file to chunk through.

In the past there were a few solutions for embedding GPS/GNSS data into the image meta data. This has been a problem that everyone runs into with non-integrated sensors, and is another tread on this forum.

Greetings Mullinax,

We are all in this together, so no worries about the questions.  Maps Made Easy ‘Map Pilot’ software and hardware only support the Sony A7R camera on the Zenmuse gimbal.   I fully understand your concerns with ground control and we use GCP’s as well.  We are business partners with engineering and survey company QK, Inc. here in Central California.   They lay the GCP’s and then we fly it.  We collaborate on the post processing to ensure that they can legally sign-off on the accuracy of the work.

Since the DJI software cannot control the shutter, that is why Maps Made Easy created their ‘Ninja’ processor.  It fires the shutter based on actual flight speed.   Post flight we upload the images and the corresponding CSV file(s) where Maps Made Easy will ‘tag’ the images with the XYZ info from the CSV record.

To answer your question on the CSV file; obvious values of lat, long, altitude, speed, and much more are very easy to identify.  There are 60 columns of data, much of which is also regarding status of other systems of the M600.

The ‘tagged’ images are directly processed by Pix4D.  (Just for the record, we also fly an Inspire-1 and an X3 cam where we don’t have to ‘tag’ the images at all.  We also see some Y value issues there too.)   We have been a little busy lately, but we are organizing our findings (especially regarding the Y values) to submit to the CTO for Maps Made Easy.   We hope to improve the accuracy working alongside him and his staff.   Like you say, by using the GCP’s we can align the imagery from the M600 and have been very successful on several projects.

Regarding flight speed, since the images are being captured from a moving object, flying slower rather than faster will create a clearer image and thus a clearer point cloud for 3D modeling.   

The problem with DJI is that they don’t offer a good HiRes camera option for the M600 other than the X5 which only supports 16MP, but most flight software still doesn’t support the M600; even with that cam.  

Please stay in touch as you make progress.  

Regards, Larry Pruitt, Sierra Aeriform

Hi Larry,

I have found your input very helpful as I navigate the UAV landscape.  Could you tell me more about your set-up/experiences in regards to the M600?

It sounds like you have the M600/Z15-A7 gimbal/Sony A7R camera.  So, do you do all your flight planning and flight within the Maps Made Easy app?  It sounds as if the Maps Made Easy app can trigger the Sony.  How do you handle focus during flights (auto focus/focus to infinity)?

Thanks for sharing, Larry!

Matt Gerard

 

Hi Gerard,

Yes, the only mapping vendor that we have found with an integration to the Sony A7R, DJI X15 gimbal and shutter control is MapsMadeEasy.   Actually, it is their Map Pilot flight software that makes it all happen.  However, you need them to install their proprietary Ninja processor that communicates between the flight software and the Sony cam.   They publish the settings required for the Sony cam, but basically it needs to be in pure auto mode for focus, aperture and shutter speed control.  

Please note, the Sony camera is not capturing X,Y,Z data needed for post production mapping.  Following the mapping flight(s) you will need to (1) upload the captured images and (2) the flight telemetry CSV files where they will be tag the images with X,Y,Z with the info from the CSV data.   When the process  is complete, you can download the tagged images for processing in Pix4D.   That is what we have usually done in conjunction with the survey company that we partner with.

Gerard, let me know if you have any further questions…

Regards, Larry Pruitt

Very interesting, but let me see if I am understanding correctly.  Post-flight, you merge the telemetry data with the photos so they can be georeferenced.  Is this a messy process or smooth one?  From above, it sounds as if there are some accuracy issues you are trying to resolve with this method. 

Have you tried attaching a GPS to the camera to record the position?  I know the devices exist, but I have never seen/used one.

I’ve also never worked with non-georeferenced images.  If you only have ground control and no geo-tags in the photos, can Pix4D still process them?

Thanks again Larry!  

I would forgo the maps made easy route and buy a Field of View GeoSnap. I use it with my M600 Pro, Ronin Mx, A7rii setup. It puts everything in Pix4D format for easy import. Its compatible with many sensors and you wont be limited to using one processing software like maps made easy. I have had great results and can answer any questions.

Thanks,
Connery

Larry,

I’ve never worked with non-geotagged images, so I am not sure what that process is like.  Above, you stated that you fly without tagged images when flying the Inspire, but have some Y value issues.  But, it seems as if you believe this is a flight planning software issue and not so much a Pix4D issue.  But, I am not fully understanding.  I thought the Inspire would have the geo info embedded in the photos.

Also, if you have non-geotagged images, it sounds as if Pix4D can process them as long as you have your GCPs?  If so, do you really need geotagged images if you have good ground control?

-Matt

Hi Ryan,

Since the Sony camera doesn’t have any GPS data tagged in the photos, another source is required for capturing the Geo-references.  That is what Maps Made Easy’s Ninja board does for our Sony A7R.   The GPS Geo references are in the CSV files captured by the Ninja board and post processed prior to passing the images to Pix4D or other service.  Maps Made Easy does that post processing at no charge.

However, noticing @Connery’s comment, it looks like he has a very viable solution as well.   Looking at the Field of View videos, it looks easy to install on the camera.  It also looks fairly seamless to get the images into Pix4D as well.   Again, that device, as our Ninja device, is controlling the shutter of the Sony camera.   Connery…what flight software do you use?