Large area mapping

I will be mapping a large area of farm land (approximately 1200 acres) and I am wondering what the best way to go about doing this would be? I have an inspire 1, P3, and Matrice 100. can I use them all and upload the images from each to create sectional maps? I have three large areas of about 400 acres each that I want to make maps of what would be the best way to do that?

You need a fixed wing platform if you expect to continually map things over 80 acres. It looks like you’ll be up for a few battery changes at that rate. DD has swarm mapping built in the back end but wont allow you to use it. Darn FAA.

Are all of your cameras the same focal lengths?

I have a P3, Inspire 1, and Matrice 100. Inspire and matrices both have X3 camera and P3 has the DJI camera. I also have a DRAK plane but it is not set up for autonomous mapping yet. Even when it is I don’t know that the camera will be able to add the geo tag information needed by DD to process all the info. Another issue with a plane is wind. It’s all open ground and can get a bit windy which minimizes the days I can fly.

Please excuse my butting in; What is “swarm” mapping and why won’t the FAA allow it? Thanks.

We had a cool project done by some MIT guys with some of our early copilots. They flew multiple drones, each doing a specific job autonomously, they communicated with each other over LTE, and worked together to do water testing. Flying multiple drones autonomously would be an example of a swarm.

Fwiw, I’ve run an intervalometered Canon s100 data set thru the DD Map Engine and was pretty pleased with the results. Might be worth a go on your fixed-wing platform. For the rotorcraft, “one piece at a time” is safest I reckon. Fly the same sensor in the same lighting conditions (and same time of the day) until it’s all mapped and then dump all the photos into one big mission “blob”. You could even validate each mission along the way by processing the “smart survey”.

Are you able to capture the geo tag information with that camera setup on your plane? I have been looking at pixhawk with GCS and a similar camera setup but I wasn’t sure how DD would process it if it didn’t have all the geo tag info. What is the smart survey you are talking about?


The swarm is definitely a great way to utilize the technology and cover large areas quickly. 12 Phantoms for the price of a current ag fixed wing on the market. One of the dilemmas I am running into is making a large area map only 1.2 square miles, in the dashboard appears to be valid, however, when I go out and try to fly, the checks commence and the app fails and doesn’t allow for the flight to commence.

Dalek, are you getting an error message? I was having the same issue only to find I had the Phantom too close to the car, move it and problem solved. The DD pre-flight check seems a little fussy sometimes.

Hi Mark,

It worked when I made the area smaller…I felt the software didn’t have the limitation in the past. So far I have been told a minimum of 2km between waypoints. What is the largest single AOI that you have been able to make on the dashboard?

Is that 2km minimum or maximum between waypoints?

At the moment there is a 2KM maximum between waypoints. This is an easy fix for us and we are planning to get around this soon.

That’s great to hear, so if I understand correctly, it is a 2km flight line? I added the white dots (what I thought were waypoints) around the boarder and they are definitely within 2km of each other.


I’m planning to map a larger area and I thin that at some points I will lose rc signal with the drone. Will the drone continue the mission without signal? (I have a dji ph 3)


It will continue its mission.

Ok. Thank you for the reply.

For what it is worth, I fly 100’s of acres at a time with high overlap with an Inspire 1. I have 13 batteries and occasionally use alot of them :slight_smile: