How high and wide?


The manual says the altitude is your friend. That’s nice.

Is there more practical way to determine the best altitude and the perimeter for a given subject? How wide should the flight path be from the edges of the property?



250’ works for me 99% of the time. Overlaps at 70 side and 75 front. I seen zero gains by going any more, but there is a use case for flying higher and maybe more overlap if you are flying an area like a field that has very little unique features and are hard for the system to stitch.
I try to get a line on the perimeter so you may need to adjust the overlaps to get the first last runs as as close to the edge of the perimeter as possible. Going further outside the property may be suggested, but I don’t think that is a good practice in populated areas unless you inform the adjacent landowners. I have put a short notification of the back of my business cards before and left them at the front door to make sure I can say that I at least made the attempt to contact.


On the edges, you might consider that stitching works best with three rows of images so some people extend the boundaries by about 10% so their area of interest is covered by three rows to get good data.


There’s the recommendation, hence my suggestion. Mind your P’s and Q’s as a responsible pilot. At 70% I have never had any problems with 2 rows at the edge. Eight images per point is just fine. Be respectful of your neighbors.


@Gary thanks for the quick response. I am still a newbie so I didn’t quite follow your answer. Could you send a screenshot of an example plan?

For example, here is a house in a crowded neighborhood. If I keep the edges over the property only, it does not take enough pictures (i.e. 29 shots). Should I keep extending the boundaries? Until when…so I can tell it capture a good overview and 3D view?


Change your sidelap to 75 to get more coverage.
Ideally (your call) I would make the flight plan borders about 10-20% beyond what you really want.
I would also fly east-west to get more coverage.

If it is a newer drone I would also use the 3D Mode to get oblique images around the perimeter.


@JamesChung That flight plan works well with Gary’s recommendation. The plot is so narrow that even at 150’ all the rows should overlap each other.


Hi @JamesChung,

Welcome to DroneDeploy! We’re very excited to have you join our mapping community here on the Forum. :slight_smile:

You might consider expanding your flight plan to cover a larger area. We typically recommend capturing at least 120 images for optimal stitching to create a successful map. You can always use our Cropping tool to adjust your map boundaries and display only the area of interest (in this case, a house).

I hope this helps. Happy flying!



@Stephanie Do you have any advice for flying over adjacent properties? It only takes one person to cause you allot of trouble or shut down a job…


Hi @MichaelL,

That’s a very good point. As the pilot, we always advise erring on the side of caution and getting permission to fly the property. In this case, I recommend requesting written permission from neighbors before flying and being mindful of power lines or obstructions. However, flying in large open spaces (such as a field) would be the best place to start if you are a new pilot.



Great advise all around! Yes, I am mindful of being professional and courteous every time I fly.

Since we have a nice thread going here on mapping…here is a tricky one. I’ve recently mapped the USS Hornet that is docked. As you can imagine the water reflection creates challenges.

  1. What else can I do in the mission planning to optimize mapping near water?

  2. Can I take photos in RAW so that I can post-process them in Adobe Lightroom before uploading to DroneDeploy?

  3. If RAW is possible, what’s the best thing to for the water (reflection, brightness, etc.)?


Honestly, I don’t think DD has a mode for this. You need to do a strafing orbit. You basically fly the perimeter of the deck the same distance out as the height of the deck from the water in order to create a 45deg camera angle. As an alternative you could increase the altitude 25% to create around a 60deg angle. I’ll sketch a visual aid and share it in a bit.


This one is from 350 ft. from the flight deck where as the previous one was at 250 ft. It looks worse.

I think the warping is from the water reflecting. That why I was thinking to use Adobe Photoshop to remove. Of course, JPEG is harder to do than if it was in RAW format.


Just from looking at a couple of pictures and finding out the total height, I would say the deck is about 60-70ft above the water. If you set your flight plan at 75’ altitude and 75’ from the ship you will get approximately 45deg. I would set it at 125 and 100 for a little more of a safety buffer. Flight line something like this looking perpendicular to the ship.


Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to model it better than Google… You can do it!