An equipment question

#1

Am new to aerial mapping and DD but not new to commercial drone photograpny. Have a couple grading contractors interested in working with me to evaluate aerial mapping for drone topo surface input into their modeling software.

All my equipment is original Mavic Pro. I was about to get a MP2 for my regular aerial photography work, but I gather that a rolling shutter is not desirable for accurate work in aerial mapping and DD. I’ve found some discussion on the DD forum on the subject but nothing that closed the discussion loop on having compared accuracy between rolling and mechanical shutter equipment.

My grading contractors key on vertical accuracy to calculate import/export volumes of dirt and whether to raise or lower finished elevations a few inches on a project site. BTW - I’m hearing that vertical accuracy to a couple of inches is desired, and obviously better accuracy is more profitable. No first hand experience here (yet). If rolling shutter won’t give me the desired accuracy, then I’m guessing I should be looking at getting a P4Pv2 while I still can instead of the MP2.

How important is mechanical shutter to accuracy? If rolling shutter is not suitable for vertical accuracy for a grading surface, what equipment is recommended now that the Phantom line is ending?

#2

Welcome to mapping! Get ready. First I think we need to set an expectation that you are not going to just take a drone, fly with DroneDeploy and give someone a map that is vertically accurate within a “couple” of inches.

With rolling shutters surfaces in a photograph appear warped because the camera to object relation changes before the full image is recorded. An image that is warped in this way makes it difficult for drone mapping software to match points on a map, which negatively affects the map’s accuracy. Many softwares claim to have corrections for this, but they will never be as accurate as a mechanical shutter. The P4P, P4P Obsidian and P4P V2 are all excellent choices.

What is your initial budget? There is going to be allot of equipment and software besides the drone and DroneDeploy that you are going to need if you are going to provide a professional product that can be certified to inches.

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#3

Have continued to read resources on DD web site and am ready to give up on rolling shutter equipment for this application. Will start looking for P4P or P4Pv2.

Your note about “certified to inches” brings up an important consideration. So far, I’m not certifying anything, just joining into a joint learning exercise with a cooperative contractor. Since I don’t have surveyor credentials, and I never got the PE license, I can’t see what I could be certifying in the future. That brings up the whole issue of how to handle liability exposure from errors, and I’m not ready to engage with that quite yet. That might be more suitable for an off-line PM exchange if you’re willing.

#4

Totally willing. Maybe certify is a little strong and something like guarantee would be better. I would convey confidence in my product, but it sounds like you have started off right by finding a contractor that will help you get to that point. Expectations need t be set early on according to your capability. Hopefully they will sit down with you to help you understand the construction process, but we can get into that in the PM.

#5

I’m also not initially planning to take the deliverable very far beyond the capture until I know more about what I’m doing. I’m working with two grading contractors, one who is experienced and is helping me learn, and another who is just getting started into modeling and doesn’t use drone mapping. Both use different modeling software, and both say the most beneficial deliverable for them is a surface that can be imported into their modeling software and connected up, undoubtedly with surveyor’s control point(s). Right now the contractor who has experience with drone mapping isn’t using an integrated 3rd party package like DD. He uses one for planning, another for capture, and still another for post into his modelling application.

Staying with the topic of Equipment, are there new considerations in the DD community on what might be a good successor to the preferred Phantom models that are phasing out?

#6

Considering the supposed release date of a P5 is now 8 months past due I speculate if that has something to do with the production issue and killing of the P4Pv2. In my opinion there isn’t a whole lot about the P4P that can be improved upon right now for a drone in that price range and according to the work that we do. More battery life, retractable landing gear and camera yaw might be nice? That said, I am going to continue getting P4P’s on the cheap while they are available and once they disappear there may be some V2.0’s left. Maybe by then we will get the new solution?

#7

Do you have access to surveyors? If so, you can setup GCPs (Ground Control Points) to help get the accuracy/locations tied in better. If not and you have a money, look into getting theses GCPs, you can set them up, fly and then pick them up.

When using GCPs, as your importing your photos into DD there is a option to insert the GCPs locations (XYZ), then you select the center of the GCPs in multiple photos (the more the better) and it will then process the images and assign a elevation to the finished map.

The other option is to get a RTK setup, either DJI RTK or DJI with 3rd party RTK. If you really want to go all in you get RTK with the AeroPoints, just bring money.

You may need 3rd party software to clean up images (exposures etc) and hardware (ND Filters etc)

https://www.propelleraero.com/aeropoints/

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#8

I am not seeing the link, bu I assume you are talking about Aeropoints. You can buy a Emlid Reach base and rover and in comparison it will pay for itself quickly. Plus you can add the “certifying” :):wink: checkpoints.

#9

Lol, oops! I added the link to my other post.

Yes it was Aeropoints.