Welcome, Commercial Drone Pilots!
Join our growing community today!
Sign up

Decision Point - DroneDeploy, Pix4d Cloud, or Pix4d Mapper (Desktop or Cloud)

prodigal27

Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
7
Age
37
Hey Pilots,

I could use some professional input. I do various types of work but do not currently perform any survey-grade work mainly due to lack of equipment and lack of software. I've been using DroneDeploy Pro for the last year and although it works for me it's missing what I consider "Pro" features. I have some choices to consider. I'm in this for the long haul and want something that is going to be the best bang for the buck capabilities wise. What do you all use or recommend? I don't want to list each of the pro's/con's for each product, just looking for your input. Here is my breakdown thus far:

DroneDeploy (Business): $3,588 (Yearly)
Pix4d Cloud (Basic): $1,989 (Yearly)
Pix4d Mapper (Cloud): $3,500 (Yearly)
Pix4d Mapper (Desktop Perpetual): $4,990 (One-Time)

I have a high performance PC, so no additional investment on P4dM Desktop would be needed.
 

jaja6009

Active Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
13
Age
47
Location
Boardwalk Empire, New Jersey
Capturing Reality has really caught my interest thanks to some forum members. $4000 perpetual. Their 3D Models absolutely destroy Pix4D's and the last data set I did and compared the Ortho was better too. I was a Pix4D disciple, but am really considering Capturing Reality now.

Drone Deploy is nice and easy but way too expensive in my opinion. I do not think they use Pix4D's Engine anymore either. Their 3D models are really good now, and their Orthos are good too.

The largest problem with Capturing Reality is how to share your deliverables. Drone Deploy and Pix4D Cloud make it super easy to share since they host your data.
 

R Martin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
807
Reaction score
586
Location
Denton, Texas
Hey Pilots,

I could use some professional input. I do various types of work but do not currently perform any survey-grade work mainly due to lack of equipment and lack of software. I've been using DroneDeploy Pro for the last year and although it works for me it's missing what I consider "Pro" features. I have some choices to consider. I'm in this for the long haul and want something that is going to be the best bang for the buck capabilities wise. What do you all use or recommend? I don't want to list each of the pro's/con's for each product, just looking for your input. Here is my breakdown thus far:

DroneDeploy (Business): $3,588 (Yearly)
Pix4d Cloud (Basic): $1,989 (Yearly)
Pix4d Mapper (Cloud): $3,500 (Yearly)
Pix4d Mapper (Desktop Perpetual): $4,990 (One-Time)

I have a high performance PC, so no additional investment on P4dM Desktop would be needed.

It depends entirely of who you want to have control of your final product; a third-party vendor or yourself. If a third-party isn't an issue then DroneDeploy (while costly) is a way to go. Otherwise, hands down, bite the bullet and go with Mapper desktop perpetual. You control the final product and you pay for the software once. Don't forget there is an annual maintenance cost associated with the Mapper desktop perpetual license and that cost this year was $870.00.
Also, if you plan on running large datasets (over 1000 images per session) I would suggest that you seriously look hard at your PC that is going to be running the software and if it doesn't meet the top side of the requirements, plan on upgrading. Changed our processing times from 1+ weeks to under 48 hours.
Also of note, Pix4D split their cloud services off of the Mapper license and they require you to pay for each separately now. Depending upon the amount of customers you have that require output packages, it might be more cost effectively to purchase a few external SSDs to share data or, if you have a large client base, purchase their cloud service.
 
  • Like
Reactions: prodigal27

Recoveryone

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
85
Age
58
Location
Inland Empire
Website
Recoveryonedrone.com
My experience is limited in this area, but what I have read falls under "what the client wants" the issues with mapping goes under the deliverables. Other than the price (to high IMHO) for any of the major products out there you almost need to have subscriptions/accounts to at least 2 programs to cover most projects. Then you have to hope that the client has the computer power (hardware) to support the deliverables you send out/link them in to. I work for a city and not every computer is capable of viewing the orthro's let alone the 3D's maps I have done of projects. Then there is the cost, I have used DroneDeploy in the past and to be able to support multi users you would need an enterprise account (everybody wants to be in the loop). Can you afford to carry that level of cost long term? Until a program that comes along that makes the deliverables basic (Jpeg format) that can be supported on just about any computer system, then I see mapping primarily being an inhouse operation for companies that can afford the software overhead. They can continue to hire pilots to fly the missions, but that cuts into our ability to earn more money.
 
  • Like
Reactions: prodigal27

R Martin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
807
Reaction score
586
Location
Denton, Texas
Until a program that comes along that makes the deliverables basic (Jpeg format) that can be supported on just about any computer system, then I see mapping primarily being an inhouse operation for companies that can afford the software overhead. They can continue to hire pilots to fly the missions, but that cuts into our ability to earn more money.

Apples and oranges. Generally the people that need the high accuracy have the software and hardware to use the data effectively. Those that don't need the accuracy don't. The JPEG format can be made to work but you lose accuracy in doing so. If you need the accuracy that the TIFF format provides along with the geolocated imagery, you pay for that option. The end user can always port it over to a JPEG for the marketing and planning staff to use. They don't need the accuracy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: prodigal27

prodigal27

Member
DSAR Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Messages
11
Reaction score
7
Age
37
It depends entirely of who you want to have control of your final product; a third-party vendor or yourself. If a third-party isn't an issue then DroneDeploy (while costly) is a way to go. Otherwise, hands down, bite the bullet and go with Mapper desktop perpetual. You control the final product and you pay for the software once. Don't forget there is an annual maintenance cost associated with the Mapper desktop perpetual license and that cost this year was $870.00.
Also, if you plan on running large datasets (over 1000 images per session) I would suggest that you seriously look hard at your PC that is going to be running the software and if it doesn't meet the top side of the requirements, plan on upgrading. Changed our processing times from 1+ weeks to under 48 hours.
Also of note, Pix4D split their cloud services off of the Mapper license and they require you to pay for each separately now. Depending upon the amount of customers you have that require output packages, it might be more cost effectively to purchase a few external SSDs to share data or, if you have a large client base, purchase their cloud service.

Thanks for the detailed response. I can appreciate the ability to deliver products to customers with DD, but am fine with doing it myself through something like Google Drive or my website. If you don't mind me asking, which solution did you end up going with?
 

R Martin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
807
Reaction score
586
Location
Denton, Texas
Thanks for the detailed response. I can appreciate the ability to deliver products to customers with DD, but am fine with doing it myself through something like Google Drive or my website. If you don't mind me asking, which solution did you end up going with?

We are currently using Pix4D Mapper (perpetual license) for the assembly process which was a one-time charge for the software and we pay $870.00 annually for support and software updates. I did have to shell out $4500.00 for an Alienware R7 rig to handle the processing after the Dell workstation choked. The Dell was able to keep pace with our Inspire 1 but when we added the FireFly Pro with the 42MP Sony RX1RII we had to find another solution because of the number of images (due to the increase of area mapped) and the image sizes. With a DJI product you should be able to get by with an average system as long as it meets the hardware requirements. IIRC, Inspire jobs usually ran for about 24 hours or less (7 acres or less in area coverage). Currently jobs are running at about 100-150 acres (~5500 images @ 14-18MP ea) in ~24-36 hours of processing time.

Once we ramp back up and start construction I will be flying the site at least twice a week to catch as much as possible on the civil side of construction and walking the rest of it with a GPS unit to ground-truth the project. It makes sense for us to own the software and hardware which is the most cost-effective means of spending taxpayer dollars. The cost on Pix4D Mapper has come down considerably after they split the Cloud side off this year. You can pick the software up for about half of what I payed for it. Still, if you are going to shell out $4K you need to be using it often in order to justify the expense.

There were two main reason we went with the software purchase. One was control of the product and two was DD wanted to charge for each map they process with ground control and all of our work is done with ground control. Between our two aircraft we log about 100-150 flights a year. I didn't like the idea of giving up control to someone else to handle the processing and accuracy of the product and there was no way in heck I was going to go hat in hand and beg for money each time we needed to do some processing. Getting a budget from the state once a year is a pain; getting approval for 'x' number of single jobs...I'm not gonna do that much paperwork.
 

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
3,045
Messages
29,017
Members
4,395
Latest member
wallygator sc