Compute mission from a different height than takeoff

I’ve had a few cases where taking off from the top of a hill for terrain capturing is very difficult. Case in point, this hill where all the vegetation is thorny bushes. If I take off from the lowest part possible, the top of the hill will have very little overlap whereas the lower parts will have good overlap. If i compensate flying higher I’ll get more overlap on the top, but I’ll start losing resolution.

I’ve read people asking for terrain follow and 3D flying, and although I would love that, the implementation seems non-trivial.

So, my suggestion for a step towards that direction is adding a toggle that recalculates the mission for a virtual take off point (which only has a different altitude than the home point)

Terrain following is in Beta, but I don’t have any timeline and a function like this needs some pretty thorough testing. Controlling your aircraft dynamically horizontally is one thing, but to change altitudes can be a little more dangerous. No need for a virtual point as you can use Google Earth to calculate an average height above ground. If there is that much elevation change i would suggest splitting the flight in half.

Hi @royeiror,

Thank you for the suggestion! We often hear the request for advanced flight capabilities such as yours. We are beta testing Terrain Following with a select few users at the moment. If you are interested in this functionality, we’d be happy to send you more information on our beta testing program for it.

In the meantime, as Michael suggested above, we also recommend splitting the flight if you are struggling to capture the area of interest with the terrain changes. This is the easiest and safest way to fly challenging areas.

Happy flying!


Hello Stephanie, I’d be thrilled to enter that beta. I’m already subscribed to the Android beta, is it different?

Hi @royeiror,

I’m happy to send an email to you with additional information about our beta testing program for the Terrain Following mode. It is separate from Android Beta, so please keep an eye out for an email coming your way!


@royeiror Map Pilot has Terrain Following and Height Offset features that work quite well. Projects captured with Apps other than DD’s App will process just fine in DD. Different tools with different strengths. Why not have both? :slight_smile:

Thanks Dave,
Map Pilot looks great, but it’s for iOS only with no plans for an Android version. I use Litchi when I really need terrain following or I’m on a linear project like a road or transmission line. It has great terrain following, but setting up equally spaced flight lines, figuring out the correct speed and photo timing interval is a lot of work. You have to set each and every waypoint manually (or import from other software)

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No Problem. If you fly varying terrain regularly, then in may be worth your while to pick up a referbished iPad even if you’re not an Apple guy. I’m not an apple guy but I have an ipad in addition to a shield k1 in order to not have an app barrier and also for the obvious redundancy.

Anyway, it’s there and works well if you really need it.


Plan in Google Earth and if you want to get super consistent lanes you can use the measure tools while planning the path. Import into Litchi Hub and open it on the app. I like the batch editing on the app way better than the desktop browser. Initial settings should be something like 250-275’, 18 mph and set your camera to an interval of 2 seconds.