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Do mapping missions HAVE to be done autonomously?

COFW-UAS

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This came across my mind as I'm trying to figure out how I can map a roadway without flying over traffic and without shutting down a road. Can a route be flown by hand where I can fly one run, move out of the way, then resume? All of the mapping software offer their own autonomous flying apps but are they absolutely necessary? I understand the need for overlap and whatnot is normally the reason autonomous is beneficial. Anyone tried this? I'd probably just have to take more photos than normal.
 

azvr44

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Most apps (Pix4Dcapture, MME) have a pause button, so you could do a section, pause and hover/move out of the way or land and then resume when traffic is gone.

The main concern is that you have done a JSA/risk assessment. If you have not and something happens, your insurance will probably be negated and CASA/FAA will probably fine you. Doesn’t look good on your record and word gets around. Organise some traffic management and pass the cost onto the client. You could do it in sections so people do not have to wait in line too long. You’re also doing your bit for the drone/UAV community image by operating safely and professionally. If you decide to not use traffic management ‘cause it’s a quiet road, as a minimum have a spotter. My two cents. 👍🏼

PS: yes you could do it manually, but the same issues arise. You’ll need a spotter as you will be concentrating on flying and not traffic. I’ve used DJI Go with a 2 sec interval but found it hard to maintain the right speed as it was pretty windy. You’ll end up with more photos than usual but better to be safe than sorry. Maybe do a practice run.
 
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COFW-UAS

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Most apps (Pix4Dcapture, MME) have a pause button, so you could do a section, pause and hover/move out of the way or land and then resume when traffic is gone.

The main concern is that you have done a JSA/risk assessment. If you have not and something happens, your insurance will probably be negated and CASA/FAA will probably fine you. Doesn’t look good on your record and word gets around. Organise some traffic management and pass the cost onto the client. You could do it in sections so people do not have to wait in line too long. You’re also doing your bit for the drone/UAV community image by operating safely and professionally. If you decide to not use traffic management ‘cause it’s a quiet road, as a minimum have a spotter. My two cents. 👍🏼

PS: yes you could do it manually, but the same issues arise. You’ll need a spotter as you will be concentrating on flying and not traffic. I’ve used DJI Go with a 2 sec interval but found it hard to maintain the right speed as it was pretty windy. You’ll end up with more photos than usual but better to be safe than sorry. Maybe do a practice run.
Thanks for the input! I actually work for a city engineering office. We have an in house program. Our police department has a fleet of 9 mavics and 1 Matrice 210 and we've got a Matrice 210 RTK V2 on order for us. We've had discussions for certain mapping missions using the police department to shut down the roads for us to survey. The benefit is it only takes minutes to do with a drone. I'll have to do that on busier roadways but for medium traffic I'm hoping to do what I stated above.

We operate in a very weird way where we are self insured... Even on our vehicles we self insure which is just a completely odd concept. I pray that we never have an accident and have to cross paths with the FAA!

I'll probably do a practice run both ways and compare them to each other. It'll be interesting to see the results with the new M210 V2 and how it's embedding the survey grade GPS data into each photo. Maybe that'll be my lifesaver with this.
 

wxfloyd

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If you don’t mind me asking, what camera did you get with the 210 RTK v2, and what software do you plan to use for data collection and post processing?

I’m researching drones for mapping (eventually survey grade) and was initially planning to go with a 210 because of its more robust platform and so we could expand services (inspections, thermal, LiDAR, etc). But since I found out the Zenmuse X4S camera was discontinued, I’m having a hard time determining a good camera specifically for mapping. I was also planning to use Pix4D for post processing, but they state they do not support the Zenmuse X7 camera.

I’m now wondering if the Phantom 4 RTK (likely will use a PPK option) would be better suited for mapping.

Thanks for the input! I actually work for a city engineering office. We have an in house program. Our police department has a fleet of 9 mavics and 1 Matrice 210 and we've got a Matrice 210 RTK V2 on order for us. We've had discussions for certain mapping missions using the police department to shut down the roads for us to survey. The benefit is it only takes minutes to do with a drone. I'll have to do that on busier roadways but for medium traffic I'm hoping to do what I stated above.

We operate in a very weird way where we are self insured... Even on our vehicles we self insure which is just a completely odd concept. I pray that we never have an accident and have to cross paths with the FAA!

I'll probably do a practice run both ways and compare them to each other. It'll be interesting to see the results with the new M210 V2 and how it's embedding the survey grade GPS data into each photo. Maybe that'll be my lifesaver with this.
 

COFW-UAS

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If you don’t mind me asking, what camera did you get with the 210 RTK v2, and what software do you plan to use for data collection and post processing?

I’m researching drones for mapping (eventually survey grade) and was initially planning to go with a 210 because of its more robust platform and so we could expand services (inspections, thermal, LiDAR, etc). But since I found out the Zenmuse X4S camera was discontinued, I’m having a hard time determining a good camera specifically for mapping. I was also planning to use Pix4D for post processing, but they state they do not support the Zenmuse X7 camera.

I’m now wondering if the Phantom 4 RTK (likely will use a PPK option) would be better suited for mapping.
We've got our order in waiting for delivery at this point. We ordered the Matrice 210 RTK V2. We got the X5S and Z30 with it. Along with a set of 10 batteries for the drone and multiple for the cendence, crystal sky, and ground station. We will be using Dronesense for capture, flight management, live broadcast, etc.. Then I think we're going to use Pix for post process. But we're going to trial pix and drone deploy and see what works better. Our big thing is we need to export to AutoCAD. But we will be using it for bridge inspection and monitoring construction as well.

Edit - we've got $30,000 wrapped up in this. If you don't need upper gimbal it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to get the P4P
 

LUIS MARTINEZ

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This came across my mind as I'm trying to figure out how I can map a roadway without flying over traffic and without shutting down a road. Can a route be flown by hand where I can fly one run, move out of the way, then resume? All of the mapping software offer their own autonomous flying apps but are they absolutely necessary? I understand the need for overlap and whatnot is normally the reason autonomous is beneficial. Anyone tried this? I'd probably just have to take more photos than normal.
I've done a few manual overlap mapping missions. However, the need to ensure proper coverage can burn battery time (did I take that last shot..better go back & do over...) Hard to beat mapping for efficiency.
 

UAV_Mapper

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I'd recommend against a manual mapping flight, if at all possible. You'll get much better results with the automatic mission and you can concentrate on all of the other things going on with the flight. To shoot roads, we generally setup the mission to fly over the fog line or outside of the traffic lanes. We do this in the app and the verify the locations on site, but that allows us to fly in a legal manner and not have to worry about crossing into traffic. When we cross the road, we'll wait for a break in traffic and then continue the flight, as previously mentioned. Of course, all of this goes out the window if there are pedestrians around, or it at least pushed our flights farther from where they're at. Getting the overlap, orientation, and height to work together to get this to work takes a little practice, but isn't too difficult. We primarily use GS Pro for our mapping missions, FYI.

There are still some vendors with large supplies of X4S cameras available, but they won't last long. DJI hasn't really released a professional mapping camera to replace that one, so you might want to pick one up while you still can. PM if you'd like a contact number for who's holding.
 
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