Camera Angle and filters

I’ve been looking but can’t seem to find the answer to these questions!

I’m using an Autel XSP and want to map a field today. What’s the recommended / ideal camera angle? Will any angle work that doesn’t show the horizon? Should I be pointing straight down? I’m able to fly at 390ft, and it’s only about 40 acres, so I shouldn’t need many photos, correct?

Also, I’ll be flying around 4pm in Northern California on a beautiful sunny evening; should I remove my nd/pl filter? Or use one? (I have 4, 8, and 16.)

Lastly, should I set my camera settings all to “standard”, rather than “vivid”, etc.?


My recommendations: No nd filter, point straight down, fly with 90% front overlap and 80% side overlap, standard settings, limit flight speed to 10 mph and it will take 2 batteries.

I map 20 acres with these settings for my DJI Phantom 4 Pro at 360 feet and get excellent results. I know nothing about the Autel XSP so take my recommendations with a grain of salt.


Hi @WildDoktor,

DroneDeploy currently only supports flight planning for DJI drones so I’m afraid I can’t offer any useful advice to you for this. I recommend checking out our Supported Drones page.


Christina, I understand about the DJI-only nature of DroneDeploy; but I’m glad I can at least upload photos manually with my Autel XSP. Still waiting for you guys to get the SDK from Autel and integrate it with DroneDeploy…

In any case, I flew yesterday at 390Ft, camera 90 degrees straight down, 1080p photos every 5 seconds, no nd/pl filter, auto and “standard” settings on the camera. I flew a normal pattern plus a diagonal path each way. After removing the pictures that were taken during turns and while lining up for the diagonals, I uploaded 75 pictures. The results are here:;jwt_token=eyJhbGciOiJIUzUxMiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJ0eXBlIjoiUmVhZE9ubHlQbGFuIiwiaWQiOiI1YTZlN2Q2MWRmOWI4YmQ3ZWExMDhlOTYiLCJleHAiOjI1MzQwMjMwMDc5OX0.4teqYVj4LD3-v6ZunPN9JrymUPYSSXGYJZPGDyBkMZVgdq-t5zZ30KLr3PvD3rr7xPUMYtiKvAB-lVefRa5F4g

This is a very unremarkable, flat, and empty parcel of land, so the map is pretty unremarkable as well. :slight_smile: I’m ok with that…it is what it is. I’m hoping, however, to fly this same path several more times over the next 3 years or so as construction takes place.

Any hints / remarks on how this map could have been better? Or how I can improve it the next time I fly it?


Sure thing, @WildDoktor. Have you taken a peek at our Making Successful Maps support page? There are a couple of pointers that may be of use here.

Yep; read that over a couple times before heading out yesterday. I think I could have made tighter passes to get more coverage. I was running out of daylight so I only had time for the number of passes I made. I may be able to head out this weekend and double the amount (will take probably 3 batteries) if you think that would improve this map at all? If more overlap won’t help, then I won’t bother doing it over…

@WildDoktor Thanks for reaching out.

I took a look at your map and can see there are some improvements that can be made when flying.

First I would suggest flying during the day when the sun is at its most highest (10am-2pm). This so you can capture your dataset without harsh shadows. This will negatively impact your map.

I would also have more overlap when it comes to your mapping. I would suggest flying in a “lawn-mower” pattern and to make sure you are getting good overlap. I would also try to include only Nadir images with no photos of the horizon. If you are trying to create a solid 3D map, I would take orbital images at the end, making sure your point of interest is in the center with a 45 degree angle.

Your altitude should be reduced to 400 feet.

More information in our mapping processes can be found here

> 3D modeling of maps

Mapping successful maps

Thanks Yusuf; good point about flying during the day…I’ll plan better next time. :slight_smile: I did fly in a “lawn-mower” pattern, and with the camera pointing straight down I don’t think there were any photos with the horizon in them.I flew the mission at 390’, so we’re good there.

So I think flying during the day and getting better overlap are the things I’ll try next.

Forget waiting for Autel to deliver anything - it’s not happening.
Get a DJI drone and use Drone deploy to automate the whole process.
You can program a mission and have DD take care of the flying and photographing and be able to replicate it every time you want to.
Much easier and more reliable than trying to shoot manually and missing a spot here or having inadequate overlaps.

Meta4, you’re correct…I stopped waiting on Autel a while ago, and they of course confirmed that the XSP is dead and no SDK will ever be released.

Can / won’t buy a DJI as my goal is to inspect Critical Infrastructure, and can’t have that info going to Chinese servers every time I sync the Go app. So eventually I’ll build a pixhawk2.1-based octo. Guess I’ll still have to upload individual pictures here to make maps, but that’s fine.

I’d suggest that your fears are exaggerated.
There’s no need to synch flights if you don’t want to but if you do, having seen many DJI flight records, there’s nothing that would give away any secrets.
The convenience and reliability of an off-the-shelf drone with the capabilities of a Phantom 4 pro is a huge advantage.