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DroneRepeat Beta

This is just a brief tutorial of how to use DroneRepeat, which is currently in beta. We thought it would be nice to have a drone app that allows you to take a shot and then consistently repeat that shot on a hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly interval. Thanks to Phil Myers for sending us these screen shots during his beta testing.

We assume you understand how to use 3rd party apps with your DJI Drone. You also need an understanding of your flight mode switch in case you need to regain control of your aircraft. DroneRepeat works in an autonomous manner.

Step 1 – Launch DroneRepeat and fly to your desired shot location. Make sure you can pitch your gimbal with your RC scroll wheel to frame your shot.

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Step 2 – After framing your shot tap the photo button on the screen. Your photo will be taken and you will be prompted whether or not you want to save the shot parameters. DroneRepeat will save the GPS location, altitude, heading and gimbal pitch. We don’t currently save exposure settings as those will vary from day to day. So it’s a good idea to set your exposure with your scroll wheel or DJI GO before repeating your shot.

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Step 3 – After you save the shot you will see a Google Map displaying the shot location and your aircraft overlaid on top. Each shot location will be represented by an icon. Your shot is now ready to be repeated whenever you want.

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Step 4 – Repeating a shot is easy. Go to the map, click on any of the shot markers and preview the details. The shot marker will turn green. The pink icon represents your aircraft.

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Step 5 – You will get a confirmation to repeat the shot. Click Yes to proceed or No to do nothing. Shots can be repeated while in the air or from the ground.

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Step 6 – Your aircraft will now fly towards the shot location and give feedback of the status. The status indicator is a bit buggy at the moment, but should be sufficient for testing purposes. In this case the indicator shows “Flying to shot location.”

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Step 7 – Now the aircraft is in position and is pitching the gimbal to the previously saved angle.

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Your shot was repeated successfully. Click on another shot marker to rinse and repeat. We have some exciting features planned for DroneRepeat so please stay tuned. If you’d like to join our community you can find us here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/dronerepeat

 

 

DJI Inspire 1 Panorama Beta App Questions and Feedback

Thanks to everyone who been beta testing our Panorama app and providing feedback. We’ve received a lot of questions about how the app actually works so I wanted to share some initial thoughts:

1. Right now the app only works with the Inspire 1. What happens is when you get to your hovering altitude you click the “Start Panorama” button. The iPad will will then direct the camera gimbal to take 48 photos. 4 rows of 12 photos at 30 degree increments. After it finishes the first 12 it will reset the gimbal forward, pitch down 30 degrees, and take another set of 12 photos. It’s likely we only need to do this in 3 loops, but we’re doing 4 just to make sure the stitch covers 90 degrees down. We’re looking into the possibility of supporting the Phantom 3, but we’ll have to yaw the craft instead of the gimbal, which could lead to less accurate results.

2. Because the app is in early stage development we recommend starting off with the DJI Pilot app and ascending to the desired altitude. Once your Inspire 1 is at this altitude click the home button on the iPad to background the Pilot app. Then launch our app (right now it’s called DroneControl) and make sure your gimbal is pointed straight forward. There is a reset button in the app that will do this automatically for you. Then click the “Start Panorama” button.

3. It takes 3-4 minutes to capture the 48 photos with photos being taken every 3-4 seconds. We’re experimenting with lowering this interval but don’t want to run into cases where the gimbal is rotating while the photo is being taken, which could lead to blur.

4. One other tip we recommend is before you start the panorama to use the Pilot app to make sure your landing gear don’t show up in any of the photos. This is really an issue on windy days where the I1 is fighting against the wind and rolling or pitching to compensate. What we do right now is configure C1 on the transmitter to toggle gimbal control between pitch and yaw and configuring C2 to reset the yaw back to center. After you’ve panned around the landscape to make sure you don’t see the I1 landing gear you can background the Pilot app and launch DroneControl.

5. We have features planned so that you don’t need to mess with the Pilot app at all. But right now it’s safest to use it to verify everything looks okay before launching DroneControl and starting your Panorama. Right now we want to make sure the Panorama logic is dialed in before messing with anything else.

6. Most importantly, we’re waiting approval for Apple so that we can have beta testers a la TestFlight. Right now we’ve been having testers send us their UDIDs and it’s been a hassle to manage. TestFlight is the way to go and it will make receiving beta updates a breeze. Unfortunately we’ll need to wait until they approve us before we can proceed. Hopefully in the next day or two.

That’s it for now and we’ll post updates as we get more feedback. Thanks for the interest in this product and we hope it adds value to your drone toolkit. Here is a sample of a recent pano from the Port Aransas Skatepark:

[pano file=”http://www.unmannedairlines.com/dev/panoramas/porta/index.html”]

360 Panorama App Beta for DJI Inspire 1 Drone

I’ve been working on a proof of concept using the DJI Mobile SDK for the Inspire 1 drone. The app is simple in concept, but can provide a lot of value to drone pilots looking to extend their toolkit. Using the DJI Mobile SDK I’ve been able to write an iPad app that will allow the Inspire 1 to take photos to be stitched for a 360 degree aerial panorama. The feedback from the community has been very positive and I hope to take this to the app store soon. You can see some sample panoramas from my Inspire 1 here:

http://www.unmannedairlines.com/dev/panoramas/caliterra/section3.html

http://www.unmannedairlines.com/dev/panoramas/caliterra/section4.html

http://www.unmannedairlines.com/dev/panoramas/porta/index.html

Make sure to click the fullscreen icon in the top right of the panorama to get a high resolution view. The last one is probably my favorite because I’m a skateboarder and it’s very cool to see an aerial perspective of a skatepark.

I’m currently looking for beta testers so if you’re interested just shoot me an email (db at unmannedairlines dot com) and I’ll get you setup. Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

 

Aerial Imagery of Beautiful 600 Acre Property in Dripping Springs

Here are some photos from a recent UAV mission in Dripping Springs. We’re gathering imagery of this 600 acre property almost weekly to monitor the change in landscape. The property is currently being developed so with a UAV it’s much easier to obtain and share updated aerial imagery. Once we get this imagery we than go through an orthorectification and mosaic (tiling) process to overlay these maps on top of Google’s satellite layer. Below are some still photos of the property that we thought were worth sharing:

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Near Realtime Aerial Imagery via UAVs

One of the fascinating things about doing aerial mapping with a UAV is how quickly you can capture changes in the landscape. Or if there are cases where satellite imagery for a known location is out of date then we now have the technology to generate our own aerial maps with a UAV. Last month we flew a 500 acre section of a 5,000 acre ranch outside of Marble Falls, TX. I wanted to share the difference in imagery between what Google currently has and what we were able to capture. One of the major benefits to this approach, assuming weather conditions permit, is that we can fly around high noon where shadows will be kept to a minimum.

Here’s an aerial shot via Google Satellite imagery:

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compared to the imagery of the same location from our flight:

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Quite a difference in clarity if you ask us. We’re finding more and more interesting uses of this technology for ourselves and our clients.

UAV Mission Planning with MapRight Interactive Mapping Software

We’ve been working on survey grade mapping with our UAVs for a few clients here in Austin, TX. Recently, a friend of ours shared his new web service called MapRight (www.mapright.com) with us. MapRight allows land owners & brokers to create highly interactive maps of their properties. It’s quite easy to use and the resulting maps are beautiful. You can see a sample below.

This is a 600 acre property in Dripping Springs that we’ve been mapping with our UAVs. The great thing about MapRight is that the property developer was up in Dallas when he asked if we could fly the property. We sent him a link to MapRight and he was able to create the boundaries of areas where he wanted to get imagery. He then “shared” the map with us and we took the KML into APM Mission Planner. From there we loaded the mission onto our UAV and were ready to fly.

Here is an aerial shot from Google before dirt was being moved:

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and here it is three weeks later taken from the UAV, stitched together, and orthorectified for display over Google Maps:

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You can see that the landscape has changed quite a bit. Stay tuned as we continue to share imagery of this development over the next 24 months.

UAV Surveying in Austin, TX

We were asked to do a 500 acre aerial survey here in Austin, TX earlier this week. The photos below show the UAV at 600′ AGL. This was a challenging project because we were dealing with 20mph winds and the landing terrain was very brushy with lots of trees. So we had to bring the UAV down quickly and land it in the brush between a couple of trees. In an upcoming post we’ll share some of the georectified imagery that we took on this mission.

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