Feature Requests: KML import, choose map provider, rotate flight lines, etc

Hi all,

I’m coming at this from the perspective of spending a lot of time mapping with eBees and also APM based fixed-wings and multi-rotors.

I’m hoping to tackle a small upcoming job with the Inspire, here’s the issues I’ve hit when testing recently, in priority order:

  1. you really need to be able to import a KML polygon file as provided by clients to define the area to be mapped. The eBee software lets you import a KML, choose which polygon (if multiple) and base the flight plan off of that directly. The APM software just draws the poly in the BG and leaves it up to you to flight plan over the top. The second option would be quick to implement, and works just fine

  2. it would be great to provide alternative mapping tile options. The default provider currently used seems to have very little coverage where I’ve been looking here in Australia. Most GCS systems seem to be able to pick from google, bing, etc to pick the best option for any given area. Where I’m test flying just shows up as a big open expanse of black with little white crosses, so it is a bit tough to flight plan to that!

  3. my next attempt to flight plan was to place the Inspire at each of the corner points of the area I wanted to capture. I hoped to see where the drone appears on the map and drag each corner point to it in turn. However, its position didn’t seem to update when on the ground pre-flight? It would be great if it did, so you can work around the lack of BG map tiles in this manner

  4. it would be nice to be able to rotate the flight lines. Currently they seem to be locked to east-west, so if you have a more diagonal flight area the flight lines are a bit messy. Not a critical feature in multi-rotors as it is in fixed-wing, but would still be nice to fly more optimal lines

  5. it would be nice when setting the flight altitude preference for it to display the resulting GSD resolution. I notice it does this in the web app, just not the mobile app

  6. it would be nice if the flight plan was persistent, so in the event of a problem and needing to quit the app or power cycle the drone, you can pick right up from where you were

I have had a couple of instances of not uploading the waypoints, but I am on the latest stable firmware release rather than the suggested beta FW, so not surprising there. I’m reluctant to upgrade the FW as that build has been out a long time now without being released as stable, so I’m assuming there’s some issues?

It’s a great start, and it seems to do a perfect job of navigating and capturing once the mission is underway, but it’s currently very difficult to specify a precise area to be covered at the flight planning stage.

Andrew Chapman
Australian UAV, Director of Operations NSW


Number 3 is a great idea!

Regarding #6… It seems to do this already, though my experience is with changing batteries. But is seems like it’s the same idea. When I re-launch, the flight plan stays on screen, simply showing the flown portion with dashes instead of a solid line. After a battery change, the Inspire flies out and picks up where it left off. Hmmm… quitting the app… never tried that. But, definitely works (or did work) when power cycing the Inspire

Rotate flight lines is a great idea. I think it’s an essential feature when planning safe flights that have to remain within visual line of sight. Should be an easy feature to add :blush: