Cell tower inspection

Hi everyone, I was just offered a job for a cell tower inspection. This will be my first time using DroneDeploy, all of my work until now has been centered around videography. I’ve looked for info about how to setup the software and approach the job but haven’t had much luck finding anything. Can anyone here offer some advice or point me in the right direction?

I would use DJI Go or Litchi orbit. DroneDeploy does not have orbit. @AlexHennessey It will depend on the height of the structure how many levels (flights) you will need.

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Hi @Michael_Leon! Exciting project - happy to help you out here.

It all depends on the deliverables your client is looking for for a cell tower inspection. Whether it’s a 3D model, Inspection Photos (Progress Photo Report), 2D map of topography of the land the tower is on, Video Inspection, etc. We have multiple tools that can help you get the deliverables you may be looking for. Our sales team would be happy to chat with you and talk about the project and hopefully point you in the right direction. Feel free to shoot us a note at sales@dronedeploy.com and one of our team members will reach out to connect. Thanks!


Drone Harmony is another Mapping front-end that can do spiral vertical missions for towers.

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Here is one I did about a year ago with Litchi. Three-level with decreasing radius as the altitude increased. About 200 images. It came out pretty good, but I post-processed in Carlson Precision 3D Topo. It was really for the actual photos, but was a good opportunity to try a model. Processed in Pix4D.

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Hey @MichaelL,

Can you please clarify what you mean by ‘DroneDeploy does not have an orbit’?

We may have different definitions of an orbit.

Our Structures flight mode has an oblique orbit around the POI, and the House and Roof, Precision 3D app has 2 orbits around the subject, with a crosshatch on top, and this is the flight mode I’d recommend for a subject like this, along with manual shots as well.

You are correct that you kind of have an orbit, just not in the traditional sense. When you are trying to model a tower like that it is very important that you stay as consistent a distance away from it as you can which is why a circular orbit is the ticket. I guess you could hack structure mode and draw something like a hexadecagon… nah. Secondly there is no need for the nadir portion. As a matter of fact, you can’t run anything but the top level because obviously you can’t lawnmower through the tower. Make more sense?

@MichaelL This is correct information ^

I incorrectly stated that the orbit was round.

In structure mode? No DroneDeploy flight plan has curves. Even in structure the oblique path follows the square… and it still has nadirs? Precision 3D is not circular either and you can’t run into the tower. You cannot successfully model a tower from just the top level.

@Adam_Carp, DD needs a Spiral Orbit mode. I talked to @AlexHennessey, Connor and Jay about this mode. You would set 4 variables, Start Elevation, End Elevation, Radius and Orbit Count. Start and End is obvious, Radius is how far from center, Orbit Count would be how many rotations you want in that flight.

Example: Start 10’, End 150’, Dia 40’, Orbit 20, so it a vertical flight of 140’ with a rotation every 7’ as it’s going up.

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Hi @MichaelL

After conferring with my fellow employees, I stand corrected!

The reason my understanding was incorrect is because our documentation incorrectly referenced a fixed radius orbit, and the image projections always look so round.


I’m going to edit my comment just so that the incorrect information is removed - but, not to hide behind my mistake - I did incorrectly think that the orbit was a circle. I do apologize for the bad information. Have a good weekend everyone!


@GregO The flexibility that that’d provide would be excellent - I’d like to see it! In the meantime, the House & Roof, Precision 3D app is the next best flight app that is similar to this.

  • Crosshatch on top
  • 2 ‘orbits’ around

That’s ok @Adam_Carp, we’ll forgive you this time lol

Hey ya’ll keep listening to user input and implementing our requests will end up making DD a better product in the end.


No worries, that actually doesn’t look to bad as long as you could do it without the nadirs. I have also done them in DJI Go and manually lowered the altitude as it orbited to create the spiral condition, but it would be much more consistent like @GregO mentioned.

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Have you had a chance to do the cell tower inspection? How do you like the app?

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