Beginner Setup for Agriculture

I would like recommendations for a beginner setup to monitor my forest land in the US Southeast. I have 2000 acres to cover and would like to be able to monitor for pest damage.

Drone, controller, laptop recommendations welcome. Was thinking about DJI Phantom 4, iPad Pro, and MacBook pro. Is this suitable? Thanks, and I appreciate your input.

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Hi Mark, welcome! Congrats on the startup. For that size of a project while it is certainly doable with a Phantom 4 Pro you may be better suited with a larger drone with longer flight time or a fixed wing solution. I just did a 1000 acre tract myself with the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 and it took just over 5 hours of flight time alone at 270ft AGL and I had to run most of my 10 batteries twice. Supposedly it would have taken 2 batteries and 2.5 hours with an eBee X so keep in mind long-term costs when evaluating up-front costs.

Thanks. Its broken up into basically 500 acre blocks, and I could do one a weekend. If in the future I expand, then I could go w the larger drone.

As far as the iPad for controlling and a laptop for processing, what is ideal?

Great, 500 acres is definitely manageable! The 10.2in iPads will just barely fit in the stock cradle of the Phantom series RC, but they work great. I also have an iPad Mini 5 which I have been defaulting to more lately. While it is nice having screen real estate, portability has its advantages as well. Especially in the Texas heat when I got to use a cooling case and battery as well.

So you would suggest the iPad mini for a controller?

What about laptop or device for processing? It seems like IOS compatibility is preferred, which is why I was looking at the Mac book.

I like to 10.2in when I am doing manual flight or doing inspections. Other than that I prefer the Mini.I don’t really have a choice in the summer… I use a Windows laptop on Google Chrome Incognito mode, but a Mac should work just fine.

So what attributes in a laptop for processing and creating the maps are most advantageous? I live in spreadsheet land at my day job, so uploading and processing imaging is pretty new.

The the beauty of DroneDeploy processing in the cloud is that you don’t really need anything special except for tons of storage for your images and exports. My laptop has two internal drives. One is on the board as a 1TB M.2 drive and the other is a 2TB SSD. This keeps my programs and OS on the 1TB and all the drone data is on the 2TB SSD protecting it in case of a meltdown. The 2TB also sync’s with the VDC (drone’s) OneDrive.

If you get into photo corrections processing or any design workflows with CAD then you will want to upgrade to a beefier machine, but more than likely that will need to be Windows instead of a Mac.

So if I have this configuration below already on a Lenovo and use a 2 TB external SSD drive for storage I’ll be in business to start? Thanks again for the advice.

I would bump it up to 16GB or RAM. You’ll need it for viewing large data even if you aren’t going to be manipulating it. 16GB is pretty standard for most office computers nowadays. You might see if it can be configured with one 16GB stick so you can add another 16 later if needed. Besides that, looks great!