UnFair use

I got the fair use warning 2 days ago. I contacted support who (eventually) sent me a message

Hi Tony,

Thank you for sending over your email address! Please note that our Fair Use Policy was put in place to ensure we can provide the best service to all our customers. Where we detect out of the ordinary usage such as yours recently, we must verify the information above before we can reinstate your services. We’d love to get this resolved for you as soon as possible but will need to understand a few things before we can move forward.

To ensure that you are using DroneDeploy’s product in the way it is intended, can you please share your use case and help us understand the frequency in which you are uploading datasets for processing?

In the meantime, I have placed your DroneDeploy account, on a temporary exemption. You will be able to access your DroneDeploy account, upload, and process as usual for 14 days. This temporary exemption will expire on December 7, 2020.

Also, I’d like to introduce to you your Account Executive, Ian Sullivan, who handles all matters regarding your DroneDeploy account. He will be the one to reach out to you directly regarding the reasoning behind the Fair Use error message received as well as options to reinstate your DroneDeploy account to get you back up and running permanently.

Ian, please reach out to Tony who has received a Fair Usage Quota error message at your earliest convenience. Please let me know if any additional information is needed from me! In the meantime, I will mark this ticket as resolved.


I replied:
hi there

I am confused. I am a charity: i upload as and when local community groups ask me to survey their sites

I am doing a presentation tomorrow evening, 7.30pm gmt](outlook-data-detector://0), to over 200 of the top archaeologists in the uk, and a couple from the EU. I have always promoted drone deploy, in academic and scientific papers. I am one of your biggest fans, and responsible for lots of uk archaeologists using you

I have only uploaded about 4 or 5 small maps in the last month! That is not enough to hit a fair use limit for someone who promotes you for free! Not enough at all. It’s utter rubbish to be frank

I have been downloading and exporting lots of maps recently: do they count towards the fair use limit? Can you please be clearer on what you are measuring?

Due to your rubbish communication on this issue I have removed all reference to drone deploy from my talk tomorrow; this is the link

You have therefore lost a number of potential clients and free advertising through your stupid algorithm. Cheers

Now: a further issue. There are a number of bugs in your software. Up until now I have overlooked then since we have a long relationship. However as you are going all ‘fair use on’ me I am raising these with a view to telling you that your software failures are costing me time and I am not getting what I am paying for. Therefore please credit an appropriate number of monthly subscriptions to allow for:

Ndvi processing doesn’t work properly

Missions fail to start (5 times only 2 days ago!)

The app on my iPad can take up to 10 min to start - not acceptable

The focus on the x5 camera is clunky please sort this.


(Yes, I’m p*sped off with you, in case you didn’t get that)


My point, in brief, is that we as users put up with an app that costs a reasonable amount and is often clunky and buggy with no recompense, but if we go over some undefined and arbitrary limit we are blocked. I have only uploaded a couple of maps in the last 2 weeks so WTF?

No reply as yet…

Anyone got any experiences of this?



1 Like

I share your frustration to some degree.

I’ve yet to experience the ‘Fair Use’ restriction which I would consider odd, as one month I might process 3-4 maps maybe, but then the next month it could be 10. I think Admin have stated before that the restriction is only there to help as a guide for them, so that they can assign their system resources where they need them and once they understand the client’s use, they can set a better considered level of restriction.

But like I say, that theory goes out the window when the likes of me are doing a couple of processes one month and a dozen the next. There doesn’t appear to be any continuity.

The clunky app is beyond laughable. It’s ridiculous and have voiced my frustration both here in the forum and with Support many times. I don’t know of another developer that gets away with operating like this and why I’ve persistent asked that a stable version be released alongside the experimental version we are seemingly only permitted to use. If my employer knew about the inefficiency of me using the app, they’d cancel the subscription in a heartbeat. This is why I can’t bring myself to upgrade to the current version. You never know what’s going to happen or how long it’s going to set you back by. I’m on V4.2 and am happy-ish for now. Don’t breathe.

1 Like

Please do report back what you find out. I’ve been contacted several times about this very use policy in the last couple of days so I think there is something else going on in a more holistic view. When you say “downloading an exporting a lot of maps”, what exactly do you mean? It’s my understanding that the limitations only apply to processing, but if you are creating an extraordinary amount of traffic I guess that could be a flag as well. Interesting thing is that there is no mention of fair use anywhere on the website or documentation so I agree that something’s not right here. @Jamespipe

Sorry to hear about that. I’ve been waiting to get hit with the same issue. I go a month or two with very little use, then some months I do 10-15 large flights and numerous exports. I am a very sporadic user in that regard and I assume when I do use it there are a lot of resources being used by my account. Crossing my fingers that I never get hit with fair use claim.

The iOS app on the other hand… that is the biggest pile of garbage I have ever attempted to use. I have a 6th gen iPad which is a little dated now but the amount of freezing, stuttering, and failure to load going on with the app is astounding, but I’ve never bothered to report the issues. Many times I have to reboot the device or try airplane mode to even get it to launch the app properly. All this to say that the iOS app is worlds better than the android app. Don’t get me started on the android app…

1 Like

Hi Tony, same super frustrating issue - my account has been suspended re: fair use in the middle of a large project and of course, this happened during DD’s ‘Wellness Day’ (Friday April 2) closure. I too have a deadline for presentation and and cannot complete my work, stuck waiting on ‘Support’ to come back online after their extended weekend holiday.

What makes this more frustrating, in December I received a message from the DroneDeploy Team with the subject line: “Come Back and Fly - We Miss You!” I receive these messages periodically and am reminded how much of the year I pay for services not rendered. All the more frustrating when in the midst of a busy period, my work is suspended for a non-disclosed image/map quota limit?

I am an academic user and my work ebbs and flows with the academic calendar, with weeks and months of non-use between terms.

We are budgeting for next academic year and if this is going to be a persistent problem, I have no choice but to reconsider the many new cloud based options including Pix4Dcloud and ESRI’s Site Scan.

Tony, did your issue get resolved?

I would also consider the pay-as-you-go structure of Carlson Photocapture and Maps Made Easy. What point are you stuck at? Did it stop in the middle of processing?

I would be happy to process you map on our account and get you the data you need now. If interested PM me a link to download the images and any GCP file. I can delete the project when you have what you need if you like.

happened again Buck…#

Once again the mysterious fair use policy has got me.

Drone deploy you are now more trouble than you are worth: the app crashes in the middle of a mission 50% of the time. The NFZ database is more out of date than my dress sense, you just dont give a F anymore about your customers, and here I am, sunday morning, cant upload images. I have a team of volunteer archaeologists waiting for the results

so sad,. I think we are done. cheaper, better and more reliable alternatives are available. Time to start shopping around. The real pity is that after 3 years of research towards my Phd as the results are ready to publish some other app is going to get the credit.

You promised me last time it wouldn’t happen again,. I go weeks without uploading then i do a few at once and get locked out. Time to start downloading my data and moving on.

sad really, but idiotic arbitrary limits are gonna lose you you a lot of potential clients in the archaeology market

Make sure you email support as well. The forum is hardly the place to get recognized on a rant.

Have you thought about local processing? I can’t imagine that you have many sites going on at the same time right? Cloud processing is best for people with allot of flights where local processing is just not feasible. I’m running about 10 sites a week now and it is all I can do just to push the data without the worry of processing, but if I wanted to fly one site daily or every other day I could easily do it myself. How large are your sites?

Oh yeah support have had both barrels! Lol

What software are you using for local processing? I’m doing about 5 sites a week but sometimes I process the same site several times



We decided to use SimActive Correlator3D for our local processing. It was originally developed for large format (200mp+) imagery from planes so it was designed with processing allot of data at speed. It is much faster than Pix4D or Metashape. They don’t even offer the option to down-sample imagery because they don’t need to.

C3D gives you better control of the Aerial Triangulation process and tie-points. I recently helped another user with a map of a heavily forested area that no other software was processing because I could more easily recognize manual tie-points across images and had greater control of the Bundle Adjustment process. The DTM’ing process blows away anything I have seen from anyone else including DroneDeploy. Another nice feature is the ability to script and batch process. It makes it allot easier to tailor a specific configuration for each jobsite and click one button to process all future flights. The workflow of walking through import to running each step of the process is just more intuitive.

I think Pix4D is the best for structures and cinematic quality models, but we never consistently got the ground accuracy we need and their GCP process is clunky. Metashape is the least expensive but is also the most limited and did neither ground or structures better than the other two.

I have gotten good results with Agisoft’s Metashape program. You can get started with the Standard Edition for only $179 and then upgrade to the Professional version later if you need its features. There is also a free trial period. The Professional version is roughly half the cost of C3D and provides free updates for many years not just 1. Metashape also supports scripting for better automation. My Metashape results on pitachio orchards could not be matched by DroneDeploy because Metashape created a much better depth map which is key to recovering accurate tree height data. I get good run times with a Nvidia GTX 1080ti GPU though this has been superceded by later Nvidia GPU’s like the RTX 3090 which run a bit faster.


1 Like

Anyone have experience with ESRI partnered Site Scan?

I am at an academic institution and our GIS lab computers run ESRI products fine but too anemic for processing large photogrammetry datasets locally (currently have an EDU lab license for Pix4Dmapper). However, I need cloud-based solutions for fieldwork and COVID necessitated remote applications. If DroneDeploy is imposing processing limits (not outlined in our contract btw) then I need a new cloud-based solution.

Btw, Pix4D has excellent support for education and Pix4Dcloud is good but Pix4Dcapture is not great for mission planning and only usable on OS devices.

You can fly with DroneDeploy for free and use Pix4D for processing as is the case with any flight/processing software. You might also look at WebODM, it’s free.

Just had my account suspended 1 week into a year contract (fourth year renewal) for using DroneDeploy as a demonstration tool, teaching principles of photogrammetry to GIS students - showing students how researchers use drones to make maps. Wondering how other users, teachers, and researchers who regularly present projects in DroneDeploy are treated?

The initial reasoning for suspension was exceeding limits, 30 processes maps or 9,500 images per 30-days (limits still unpublished). After explaining my case use, the account was suspended indefinitely because I use DD in demonstrations in education and offered only one option - Enterprise.

Was informed by sales that the “Professional” tier is for “hobby” users.

1 Like

Too bad there’s not an educational license providing the ability to use all functionality. Seems like that would be handy when trying to teach kids that are going to be doing this kind of stuff in the future.

I was just informed Enterprise is the “education” license and unlike industry, education institutions cannot afford Enterprise-level licenses. Especially so if we only use them for two months in Fall and two months in Spring.

I use DroneDeploy (or “used”) to demonstrate/teach photogrammetry. We only have one drone and that drone is used by me to ‘demo’ planning, acquiring data, processing and final product output (deliverable) as an example what a cloud-based application does/can do. I have a Pix4D classroom (license for students to process data). DroneDeploy cancelled my user contract simply because I am in front of students (rather than clients) - determined to sell an Enterprise-level subscription service that would be a waste of taxpayer resources when not used 8mos of the year and, for insurance reasons, students don’t fly or acquire data. I cannot believe DroneDeploy would not want its application in front of further GIS professionals?!?

Pix4Dcloud has an EDU license and "will’ return calls.


The ongoing downfall. Licensing models and client sharing capabilities. They appear to focus on larger clients and have become pretty rigid over the last couple of years. Good luck with Pix4D. Been there done that.

Is this still true? They force you into the 14 day trial on sign up but does the app continue to work for data collection after the trial?

1 Like