Map Failed to process due to low altitude of flight

Hoping for some help as i assess drone deploy for company use.
i have yet to complete a perfect 3D model but i am close and think i will get there but bumped into this erro whiel trying to model a liight house, noted for its long tower and very low to the ground building structure.

I attempted the following

  1. selected a “Structure” option , and set flight altitude to 40m
  2. using beta feature of Flight mode i set it to :structures"
  3. using beta feature of “Overlap Optimizer” i set altitude of highest structure to 30m where the building structure is at 8m high and the tower is at 30m
  4. i flew at altitude of 40m

Questions follow the error response from Drone Deploy after processing

Your DroneDeploy Flight: “macquarie lighthouse” at 7 Old South Head Rd, Vaucluse NSW 2030, Australia Failed to Process


Unfortunately, we could not process your data into a map. We automatically detected the following issues:

1. The flight altitude was lower than 30m (~100ft)
The average altitude for images on this map was 30 meters AGL. While flying low does increase resolution, it can reduce the number of significant objects in each image, making the process of stitching them together into a map more problematic. Flying lower also reduces overlap on the tops of buildings, trees and stockpiles. For more reliable map processing, we recommend flying at least 100ft (30m) above your subject material.

2. “Structures” Map Type was selected.
The Structures Map Type can help produce better 3D models, but sometimes fails when the Terrain Map Type would have succeeded. You could try processing again with the Map Type set to “Terrain”.


  1. the flight plan remains in “processing” mode some 18 hours after this message and does not allow me to enter the flight plan. How would i reset this?

  2. Making a copy of the flight plan does not seem to provide the option to reprocess the pictures with the “Terrain” setting

  3. Looking at the copy, it does not seem to provide an upload option to re-upload pictures without flying the plan again. is this correct?

  4. why am i getting this message when it seems my flight was ok, should i have flown at a higher altitude than the 10m above the tower point. Is it correct that i used AUTOPILOT to do an orbital flight at 15m to capture the lower part of the structure? i s this set of pictures causing some confusion

  5. As i am assessing the free version Drone Deploy app for broader use in my company i dont seem to see a method to contact drone deploy if manual intervention is needed to reset or reprocess anything?

Thanks in advance for your help
The Digital Dove

Hello @TheDigitalDove,

Let me look into the best answers for your questions. In the mean time, have you checked out our 3D Models guide and Troubleshooting for Map Engine support document? Those are a good place to start.


thanks HAnnah
Very Sloppy of me given the hours i have spent on the projects
I note recommended altitude is 250 feet and higher than my flight of about 131 ft over light house with has tower up to 98 ft but most of structure sits at 0-25 feet high

As a layman modeller i though that closer flight was preferable for both stitching and QALITY of the shot for the skin of the model, and that additional flights such as orbitals at lower levels could be used to fill in the sloppy low walls of the structure . i use a Mavic pro camera

Indeed i have found that the vertical walls at the lowest part of the structures i have previously attempted to capture do at times need additional pictures. And the question i have not resolved is wether i should simply increase the grid of my flight to fly at a greater distance from my target object to allow a better angle to shoot the lowest part of the structure ( ie structure parts that are 0-10m off ground). Wil test that today

I found it surprising that there are not additional modes such as orbital or zipline mode but I assumed I could fill those in with manual flights or the Autopilot app.

welcome comment about

  1. how to ensure the best resolution and quality of the texture or skin
  2. how to ensure the best quality of capture of the low parts of tall structure - expand grid or add pics from additional flights as i did?]

I will review Hannah’s texts in the interim

This may help.

  1. Copying the plan just allows you to fly it again or modify it for flight.
    2 -3. ​You can re-upload all the images as another map starting over.
    You can always use the Upload images button under the plus sign on the lower part of your dashboard to upload/re-upload any images. Just choose Upload Images, name the map as you wish and upload as normal. You don’t need to have a flight plan flown to upload.
    4-5 Sculpting 3D with a drone is part art and part science. The automated program is generic and does not know the details of your subject matter. It can help but you are better equipped to capture those. I did this one by flying manual orbits with the DJI GO4 app at two altitudes shooting 85 overlapping oblique images looking down 45 – 60 degrees. I did not shoot any vertical grid images.

Using the progress photo flight as a hack to get orbital images. Two or three flights of 16 images each should easily model a lighthouse. Just make a base plan and copy it to change the altitude of the different flights then upload all the images to one project in the method Gary explained. Can you share a plan to make sure we understand what you are shooting?

An example of what I did for a recent building model. Focal point altitude set to 0.