Dronedeploy
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DroneDeploy – Mapping with the drone

DroneDeploy is a company that has developed cloud-based software for creating maps from photos or better from aerial data acquired by drones. The strength of DroneDeploy is its App which, by automating the flight of the drone, simplifies and optimizes the data acquisition process. DroneDeploy finds application from aerial photogrammetry, to precision agriculture to BIM. The solution offered by DroneDeploy is therefore based on an App and on a Web based solution for data post-processing.

DroneDeploy App

As already mentioned, the App is the strength of the solution for drone mapping. Available in the iOS and Android versions, the App allows you to plan the drone flight, so that it can fly independently and capture images for subsequent post-processing. The DroneDeploy App is therefore part of those Apps called flight planners, which simplify the life of the professional drone pilot and also for those who use the drone for hobby.

How the DroneDeploy App works

The App itself is easy enough to use. Once registered, to the service via App or website, it is possible to define a new project, assigning it a name. So you have the opportunity to choose between 5 different flight solutions. One manual and four automated which include:

  • Maps and models
  • Photo report
  • Video
  • Panorama.

For the purpose of this article we will limit ourselves to the Maps and models solution, the rest of the other 3 are similar.

Dronedeploy Menu Accesso App
Access menu App – Source App screenshoot

Let’s set up the flight plan

Once the flight mode has been selected, it is necessary to define the flight plan, simply by drawing the flight path of the drone in relation to the area of interest. During this phase it is also possible to exclude areas that do not affect the flight plan and define somewhat articulated flight paths.

Una volta selezionata la modalità di volo, è necessario definire il piano di volo, semplicemente disegnando il percorso di volo del drone in relazione all’area di interesse. Durante questa fase è possibile anche escludere aree che non interessano il piano volo e definire percorsi di volo alquanto articolati.

The direct consequence of the defined flight plan is shown in the small selectable dashboard on the left of the PC, smartphone or tablet screen.

Dronedeploy Fligh Plan
Flight Plan – Source App screenshoot

The parameters for autonomous flight

In relation to the planned flight path, the connected fundamental parameters are visible in the dashboard, such as flight height, flight time and number of images that will be taken during the automatic flight of the drone.

Dronedeploy App Menu Principale
Main Menu – Source App screenshoot

It is possible to modify these parameters according to operational needs. It is however essential to keep in mind that the variation in flight height for example can influence the quality of post-processing or the map model or the. 3D model.

Keeping in mind that the higher you fly the lower the resolution and vice versa. The same is true for the lower flight time, the higher the flight time.

Overlapping – password for quality maps

By acting on the advanced selector of the dashbaord, or by setting it to the off position if this is on, it is possible to act on other parameters including the most important one or overlapping. This parameter is essential for obtaining quality maps and it is recommended to set it at a patri value of 80%, especially if you want to process 3D maps.

Dronedeploy App Advaced Menu
Advanced menu App – Source App screenshoot

Technically, the overlapping fixes the overlapping level of the photos, therefore along 2 axes. The higher this parameter, the more the photos will be superimposed, the better the post-processing yield.

Go flight!

Once the values are set, just connect to the drone and launch the flight. Whatever the position of the drone, this will take you to the beginning of the flight plan route and will begin for the systematic and orderly capture of the photos.

Obviously during the entire flight mission it is possible to monitor both the position on the map and to be aware of what the drone is shooting.

Once the flight plan is completed, through the DroneDeploy online account it is therefore possible to upload the images for post processing.

Post-processing

Once the flight is completed, you can then upload the images from the SD card of the drone to the DroneDeploy website, selecting all the photos and then uploading them. The process, in terms of time, depends on the number of photos and two-hour times are quite normal.

When the upload is complete, the icon related to our project will appear green.

By accessing our project we will have four different options: 2D, 3D maps, elevation and vegetation health status (available if the photos were taken with a multispectrum camera).

Dronedeploy Post Elaborazione
Menu post processing – DroneDeploy screenshoot

From here through other functions made available by the DroneDeploy software it is possible to measure distances, inclinations, surfaces etc.

DroneDeploy – Tips & Trick

Using DroneDeploy as an App and as a web based solution is not difficult, but it is essential to know some tricks to get good results.

Overlapping

To obtain quality post-processing it is essential to set a good overlapping value along the two axes (x and y). A value of at least 79-80% is sufficient to obtain quality 3D maps. Remember that this value must be set when setting up the flight plan!

Flight height

The lower the flight height of the drone, the higher the image quality for post processing. So if the aim is to carry out surveys on homes or on a study area or for situations that require detailed analysis it is good to set a lower drone flight height.

Conclusions

DroneDeploy is a complete solution that guarantees excellent results. Mappings through the App are simple and intuitive and post-processing offers excellent quality rendering. The company offers a 14-day trial period to test the functionality and potential of the software. Paid solutions (3 options) have demanding costs for individuals.… But quality has its price!


Note regarding the images: The images (screenshoot) showed in the article are taken from the “DroneDeploy” App and its website. The use of the images is exclusively for the purpose of a better understanding of the contents of the article. The highlighted image was created by 4mydrone.

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Last Updated on/Ultimo aggiornamento - 23/04/2020

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