Night Mapping

Has anyone tried staking out, or placing some inexpensive solar powered patio/walk way lights and flown at night? My free month ran out. I had a lot more to try.

I had difficulty locating a line of pin flags under canopy. I would like to explore mapping under canopy a bit more and improve precision. I think night mapping with “pin lights” may work well. Very interesting environmental possibilities in regards to location work. Put lights on your control as well.

After your free trial you can continue to map. It may not be very clear. You just can’t export your data, etc.

I was under the impression that flying at night (outside the hours of official sunrise to official sunset) was illegal. Am I missing something?

The USA’s UAS rules are not the only rules in the world. This company boasts on serving the international community. Not sure if it is a situation of nothing to see means nothing to stitch. Just testing. I had great success with stratified ginseng seed planting with a leaf blower under canopy in tight rows. I was not sure if the method would work. It did. I tried flying it low at 120’ before the leaves came on. The problem is you get a tree top swish if you fly to low. I started flying at 375’ and the trees come out great but I can’t see the pin flag lines now. I have flown the same spot several times now. Looking for new ways to explore this.

I can put panels out with OPUS solutions in fields next to obscured areas to check exports. That does not mean there will not be shifts from photo to photo. We have a full moon to play with. I think pin lights will work. I am testing on private land and I am not working commercially.

UAS are only going to get tighter. If adding sensors to appliances follows something like Moore’s Law and I compare a dishwasher to a telephone I realize UAS are still very much in their infancy. Disruptive technology does not move linearly and LiPOs have been the driver, until stitching stepped in. RTK will be of great help for accuracy, but I think about all of the other sensors and conditions we fly in. I am just testing.

We haven’t had many studies on night maps. Would be interesting to hear!

I am hoping it will be kind of like radiology. See under the canopy by o-snapping on a radius of light.

840nm-950nm IR LEDs may be bright enough to emit a pattern you could drop a circle on in AutoCAD. I think you could tape a calculator battery between one and stick it on a pin flag. I will try with patio/walkway LED lamps in a field first. Conceptually it is promising.

Let us know how it turns out.

Not really “see under canopy” but get a better x,y with light in areas obscured by canopy. O-snap on the center of the center of the circles image created by a small light on a 2D orthomosaic.

I put in a transect of patio lights. Some under canopy, tall grass, ditch bottom, mowed field. A good mix of things that obscure location, and areas they can bee seen.

I flew four flights on the light transect at varying altitudes from 120’ to 375’ from 75% to 90% overlap on both parameters. Ran out two batteries 560+ shots combined. I am going to process each flight separately.

I can’t see shit it one of the freaking photos. What a drag. I wonder if the LED’s on the Phantom 3 wash out the ground shot. It looked great lawn mowing away in the dusk, and honestly I do not think this was a fools attempt.

Nothing. And is was not even that dark.

Hi Justine

I’ve had a go at taking night shots before and had a similar experience with getting basically black images.

A couple of ideas you could try … use the DJI pilot app and fly your drone manually with manual camera settings set to slow exposure and widest aperture to see if the camera can actually see the LED’s you’re trying to capture. Maybe try with an led that isn’t hidden by trees first. With the long exposure you’ll need the drone to be basically static to get a decent image.

You can turn the arm led’s off on the phantom … yes they do wash out the image or tint it red at least.

If you can get a reasonable image using this process then go to drone deploy … disable auto camera settings and reduce the speed to it’s minimum setting and try a small area. review that before doing multiple missions just in case it doesn’t work.

Good Luck