Flight Planning and SImulator

Hello - I’m a new user of DD and have a project coming up in a few weeks. We will be mapping 36 hectares with a P4P, and while we have plenty of experience filming with drones this is our first mapping project.

I’m trying to prepare as best I can and have been reading with interest a lot of the threads here, and now have a couple of questions:

This is the proposed flightplan:

1 - I understand that flights that require multiple batteries are supported, but when we run the simulator on DD strange things happen. Points that follow are based on the screenshot attached: when RTH is engaged for a battery change (1) the simulator sends the drone to the start point (S), and then to the home point (H). When it resumes (after the theoretical battery change) the drone is not sent to where it stopped recording, but to goes to a point further in the flight plan (2) thereby skipping a whole section of the plan.

The question is - is the simulator accurate, and is this the normal reaction?

2 - Obviously raising the altitude and sticking to one battery will avoid this, but we are trying to get a decent level of quality. Does anyone have any recommendations on altitude for a project like this? It is undeveloped lakefront real estate with mostly shrubs and trees, so nothing of real importance except the change in altitude and we need to include a 3d model into the presentation.

3 - Does enhanced 3D mode improve the overall quality if there are no structures?

Many thanks for helping out!

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Welcome Calypsic and congrats on the upcoming maiden map! I don’t put a whole lot of stock in the simulator as it is meant to give you a vague idea of how the flight will get from home to first waypoint and back. Even the duration calculator when setting up the flight is pretty gracious and over-estimates the needed time. I suspect what is happening is that there has been a feature called Precision Point Return released since the development of the simulator and it may not know how to handle the protocol. Basically before PPR the drone would return to the last major waypoint completed but now it can return to within meters of where it actually stopped on a path and not all the way back to the perimeter.
Enhanced 3D Mode will help with any vertical subjects so it isn’t just limited to structures/buildings. If you are not looking for survey-grade terrain then I would almost always use oblique imagery. We do allot of earthwork so we usually fly nadir with Ground Control Points. Sometimes we will even run half of the crosshatch to simulate a standard flight with an oblique angle. Bottom line is that obliques are good for cleaning up vertical faces which will make the 3D model more accurate in the sense but the increased geometry and depth of field can inversely affect terrain accuracy. If you aren’t using GCP’s then it doesn’t matter.

Do I see that you have terrain awareness turned on? Enhanced 3D will only work with a standard nadir flight plan.

Thanks Michael - I was hoping to get your feedback as I have already learned a lot from your posts, and it’s clear now.

I need to use terrain awareness as it’s quite steep, so that takes Enhanced 3d out of the equation.

The only question I have left is altitude. Should I stick to 250 feet with 3 batteries as recommended in the app, or will 500 feet with one battery suffice?

Thanks again!

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There is one thing that I have not tried myself but maybe worth a test flight. Go into the app market and search for Auto Flight Modes. This also has a crosshatch and I actually prefer it over Enhanced 3D because it allows you to set the gimbal angle which was useful and different types of situations.

I will also say that if there are allot of trees then you will still want some nadir images because you will need every point you can get in between them. Oblique images will be blocked from those bare spots for the most part.

As for the AGL I would check with your regions flight restrictions because most places limit us to 400ft AGL. I think 250ft is a pretty sweet spot and I never fly over 300ft but that’s not saying that there aren’t situations where that is the right move. Typically when you see people flying that high they are using an aircraft that has a camera with a higher megapixel count and focal length.

How much elevation change is there? What are your current mission settings?

@MichaelL We’re bringing custom gimbal angle settings to Advanced settings within the next month or so. Stay tuned.

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