Terrain Follow and Offline Mapping Improvements

Hello, I fly a lot of forestland on steep mountain slopes in the Pacific Northwest, USA. These are often in remote places with no wifi. I desperately need:

  1. The ability to have terrain follow cached for offline use. I have tried cheating the system by creating the flight plan with TF on beforehand, in wifi service, leaving the app open and driving to the location. Occasionally it works and most of the time it doesn’t.

  2. The ability to use terrain follow for flight plans larger than 200 acres in size. I need the ability to
    make map plans that are more like 600+ acres.

  3. The ability to create a “margin” or “buffer” around an imported KML or SHP. There are often times thousands of vertices for the boundary of the flight area. In order to ensure there is sufficient coverage on/over the boundaries of the flight area, I need a feature that “grows” the shape of the flight area by a percentage. A slider that grows the flight boundary in all directions by say 1-20% would be great.

  4. A toggle to switch the starting and ending waypoint with each other. Changing the flight direction feature rarely will get you this result. This feature would help the DD ortho stitching turn out better as the spatial and temporal pattern interruptions relating to sun shadows could be lessened. This feature would allow us to fly a large area that currently requires multiple 200-acre flight plans, more fluidly.

  5. The ability to load more than 200 waypoints. By far one of the larger shortcomings. In steep terrain, I get one to two passes before the drone comes back. DD will not load more waypoints with the pause feature when I am out of internet service which is more often than not. Many times, even when I do have internet service, it still won’t pause and load the waypoints. I am unsure if this is a DD bug or not but being able to load all waypoints from the get-go would keep a whole string of issues from arising such as wasting battery, app crashing, angry fists shook in the air, etc.

There are many things I love about this particular app and would like to keep using it. Our clients really like our enterprise DD platform where we store their completed projects. With many thousands of acres of steep, remote forestland to cover, it would be awesome (and necessary) to have these features, please.

-Stacey

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Good stuff! Just to hit a couple of the highlights I agree that the inability to cache surface data for offline use and only loading a portion of a flight plan are something that needs to be addressed quickly.

As for the starting point swap are you interested in starting at a waypoint from the middle of the mission? I have never had an issue changing from one side to another. If you’re doing multiple missions to capture the entire area just adjust your perimeter and it will put the lane at the overlap you specified the correct distance from the last lane of the previous flight.

What drones are you flying? You might check out Map Pilot for terrain following.

Hey Michael,

I sometimes start from a waypoint in the middle of a mission when DD crashes and doesn’t realize I already flew a section of it. But what I am talking about is different for the purpose of initial flight planning, there are times that no matter which degree I rotate the initial flight direction to, it will not put my start point where I want it. I fly a lot of rectangle shaped plans and having this capability would be so helpful. Its not an overlap between flight plans issue. Sorry If I am not explaining it clearly. Basically DD may put my starting point in the NW corner of a rectangular flight plan and the ending in the SE corner. I want the start in the SE corner and ending in the NW corner. Sometimes rotating the flight plan will not get these results. Another app I use has a toggle to quickly swap starting and ending points. I use it a lot.

You said" If you’re doing multiple missions to capture the entire area just adjust your perimeter and it will put the lane at the overlap you specified the correct distance from the last lane of the previous flight." Are you saying there is a way to see another plan while I am laying out another flight plan for the next 200 acres in a flight area? This is not really an issue I have since I try to use land features to make sure I’ve gotten enough overlap between flight plans but if it’s possible, it might save me a few minutes of prep time.

I’m mostly flying 200 series DJI matrices right now.

I’ll look into the suggested app. I’m now onto trying to learn UgCS which isn’t super user friendly in my opinion But I am open to anything that will allow me to terrain follow offline while not slowing the drone down for every single picture like ground control does.

Rotating the plan 180d has always accomplished that for me so I’m not sure what going on there. There is also a box that allows you to pick which waypoint you start at which is very handy if your mission happens to get broken or if you have a very large plan that you need to spread out over a couple of days.

I tried UgCS and it is a great program but not something that I want to put on my pilots. Personally I fly the Yuneec H520E RTK so I am flying in DataPilot anyways and it has all of these functions. Too bad it is only for Yuneec models.

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