Fixed Wing Drone for Large Area Mapping: Equipment Recommendations

Hi, I am looking for a mapping system to cover and survey large areas of open land to map borders and terrain (such as forests, density).

So I am looking for a longer distance and longer duration UAV, so unlikely the DJIs or multi-rotors generally. Therefore I was looking for a fixed wing UAV.
I have come across the 3DR Aero-M which seems to fit the bill.

But wanted to know if anyone could provide recommendations on alternatives, or DIY UAVs?


All depends on your budget mate, there’s quite a few out there. Check out Aeromao, Event 38, Lehmann Aviation, PrecisionHawk, Sensefly, Little Smart Things, they all have fixed wing drones for sale. You could always go down the rabbit hole of building your own! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks, I’ve actually gone and ordered parts for a Skywalker 1680 build (parts available from Hobby King and can ship to Malaysia), with Pixhawk flight controller.
Now trying to source a Canon camera that is CHDK capable.
I am intending to use Mission Planner but don’t think it is available for Mac, will have to try APM.

Also seems like I’ll have to build some custom parts such as camera mount with a 3D printer.

Something to keep in mind if you are in the USA, and are flying under Part 107 exemption for commercial use, is that you are mandated to fly within VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) at all times, unless a waiver has been issued for that specific activity by the FAA. VLOS is defined as unaided vision, and no more then 1,500 feet from the pilot at all times.

I was looking into the eBee fixed wing with onboard RTK gps. for that but its pricy