Huge mountain mapping challenge


Im checking out the possibility to use Dronedeploy to map whole mountains or large natural areas. The purpose of this would be to create cool looking hiking maps and either manually draw the hiking path afterwards in some Adobe program or somehow import the gps-coordinates of the hike into the model. Currently I own a Mavic Air but I am very aware of its limitations in pretty much everything that requires semi-long range so I am looking to upgrade to phantom 4pro (for its mechanical shutter) or mavic pro 2.

Im putting this out here to see if anybody in the community has done something similar or know about similar projects being done. Or if its even possible. According to the app it would take about 18 batteries to finish mapping one mountain.

It would therefore take multiple trips back and forth between home and the area I would be mapping to finish it. Does the dronedeploy app support continuing where it left off on the same map even the following day?

Also, this would obviously take a lot of time if using only one drone. Is it possible to use multiple drones to map the same project at the same time? Without them colliding with each other. Maybe its possible to create multiple discrete projects with different drones and later put them together somehow?

Any kind of input or thoughts on this monster project is appreciated! Thanks!


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My disclaimer is that those types of projects are not really applicable to small quadcopters but it can be done. As long as the ambient temperature isn’t above 80°F or so you should be able to fly through all of your batteries but if it is above that temperature then the drone will heat up and I wouldn’t recommend running more than three or four batteries consecutively.

The only difference I see and what you are doing and what is normally done is the large amount of elevation change by which you should be able to use the terrain awareness feature as long as you are on an iOS device.

In order to get line work or waypoints on the map for people to reference you can either make the annotations in DroneDeploy and export them as an SHP file or skip that process and use QGIS to import the ortho and make your annotations there. From QGIS you can then easily export the data for use in an enabled device like a Garmin.

It’s pretty sketchy if DroneDeploy is going to let you continue a mission once you have left and turned off the hardware. I have seen it do it before but I don’t think it is an intended function and can be relied upon. Instead I would suggest making multiple Maps that slightly overlay each other. You can do this in DroneDeploy but I would recommend Google Earth Pro or QGIS so that you can see all of the flights on one map and coordinate correctly. Once you have them set up just export them as KML and make different flights in the same project. Once you have flown a couple of plans you can upload all the images together to make one comprehensive map but when the area gets very large it would be better to export each flight into QGIS to make a comprehensive orthomosaic.

I continually recommend QGIS and think it is one of the more important softwares that drone mappers should become familiar with. It is pretty much a survey CAD program as far as the functionality that it provides and works with all kinds of data including CAD DXF files.