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Successful mapping mission with Inspire 1 Pro / iOS Capture app

I finally managed to conduct a pretty successfully test mission with my Inspire 1 Pro, here my findings:

Aircraft:

  • Inspire 1 Pro with Olympus 12mm lens, FOCUS MANUALLY SET

Mission profile:

  • test mission
  • area covered: 50m x 30m, altitude 30 or 40 meters (I’m not sure)
  • flight pattern: 3 flight lines about 50m long, about 15m apart
  • overlap set to: 90% (max)
  • net flight time (first to last shot) = 2 minutes

Result:
- 24 images .jpg-images with embedded GPS-data (manually downloaded from SD-card)

  • Successful processing with Pix4Dmapper (step 1 and 2)

Issues:

  • stop-for-each-shot-behavior (related to DJI SDK 3.0, as we know)
  • overlap is far less than 90% (only about 80%)
  • slightly overexposed (but very sharp) images
  • no .p4d project created on iOS
  • focus needs to be set manually

Conclusions

#1: With a fixed focused lens it is possible to use Pix4Capture 1.0 w. Inpire 1 Pro for successful mapping missions covering rather small areas.

#2: The (stop-and-go) flight took 3 times longer, compared to a continuous flight pattern at 5 m/s, which would result in a net flight time of only 40 s. As already mentioned several times, this is the main problem to be addressed, IMHO.

Hi Reto,

Thank you for this very useful feedback! I will forward your issues to our developers :).

Regarding the stop-and-shoot behavior (safe mode), this is not definitive since an additional fast mode will be available on iOS. Our developers are working on it and they will release a new version having this fast mode very soon. The drone will not stop before shooting each picture but the connection will be required from the start until the end of the mission to trigger the image capture.

As for the overlap, Pix4Dcapture relies on the X3 camera of the Inspire 1 to define the overlap.
To adjust it for the X5 camera, you can have a look at this article: https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/articles/206794173

Best regards,

Hi Julie

I’m happy to hear that you will introduce a continuous shooting mode. However, I’m not sure how promising the approach is, to trigger each image capture “from the ground” (app). I remember that the Android app did that, without too much success, IIRC. Even in very close distance, the images were taken pretty irregularly and some images were completely underexposed. The resulting project could not be used at all. I hope that won’t be the case here. With he triggering-by-Capture approach, one single communication dropout of only 2-3 seconds can spoil your entire project, unfortunately.

I would prefer a FIXED INTERVAL shooting approach, where the camera triggers at a fixed, predefined pace (e.g. every 500 ms or every 1 second). This shooting mode should be transmitted to the drone _once_, right at mission start, without the necessity to have and uninterrupted connection during the entire mission.

Do you know whether DJI’s SDK allows for such a shooting mode?

Have you had any luck using your X5 with recent firmware updates? I haven’t been able to make a usable model for the past 2 or 3 months, it keeps making models with a big curve in them.  i read that it may have something to do with the sensor in the X5 and how the apps compress them to jpegs. i have a feeling in may be something to do with the camera input settings in pix4d but unsure. 

Interested to know if you have worked out the bugs.

 

Cheers

James

Hi James

No, I haven’t used Pix4DCapture with my X5 for more than a couple of test missions and rarely I was able to create a usable model. But not for the same reasons as you, apparently.

I had many problems with the images themselves, color-shifts and tremendous under exposures in single images. I think it has to do with the way Pix4DCapture controls the X5 camera. Maybe it’s Inspire’s auto-exposure which fails or another misbehavior of the X5 camera, it’s application interface or Capture itself.

I’m using “Map Pilot” instead, which IMHO is more stable and more flexible too. It doesn’t limit mapping areas to rectangles and it manages camera setting somehow better. I guess Map Pilot uses another SDK/API (interface) version. However, also Map Pilot has its flaws and Maps made easy tech support is often quite short-spoken, IMHO.  

After the launch of yet another DJI model I start to doubt whether the Inspire Pro with its Apps will ever evolve to fit well for mapping purposes, unfortunately.

I have been reading a document written by another company about aerial photography using drones and it suggest that maybe i haven’t got my camera settings in the pix4d database quite right which will give me models that are curved. im trying o work out what the correct settings should be now so fingers crossed this will help. 

 

i have tried map pilot aswel recently and find it easier to work with especially with the adjustable shape for the survey area. 

Hey James, 

Which camera are you using? 

Did you notice that your model is curved? 

Please send us the Quality Report of your project, some screenshots of the point cloud and the log file here: support@pix4d.com

Best Regards,