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I need a bit of help with setting up a waypoint mission...

JoeDimwit

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I work for a well known manufacturing company as an electrician, but i also fly a Mavic 2ED for them on occasion (yes, I have my Part 107 certificate). They are in the process of building a new factory building, and the project manager heard about our little group of drone pilots. This manager would like for us to fly over the site, weekly, and get progress photos. I would prefer to set and save a waypoint mission that we could just select and start so we can give them whe same pictures each time for comparison purposes.

We fly with a Smart Controller, which I like, but we don’t have internet available for me to get a good view of the property to set my waypoints and camera angles to capture the pictures I want from the field, and I don’t have WiFi in my building to connect to either. Is it possible to record a manual flight path and turn that into a waypoint mission? Can I set up a waypoint mission on my iPad and transfer it to the Smart Controller?

thanks in advance,
Joe
 

clolsonus

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Probably others can jump in with better suggestions, but I have experience creating/flying routes with the pix4d capture app and drone deploy's app. Pix4d capture let's you setup your route ahead of time when you have internet and saves everything on the device so you don't need any kind of internet connection during the flight. Drone deploy is similar, and has some offline capabilities, but seems much more tethered to the internet generally, and recent versions have had some glitches for some people. I've personally started using pix4d more and more in the past few weeks. These tools generally let you draw a polygon boundary, set your altitude, and then will generate a grid that covers the area (and offer other options possibly as well to customize the flight for your needs.) I haven't seen anything that let's you define a specific path and specific locations for photos and save that, but that isn't my use case so I haven't gone out looking for that. When you fly, you plug your device into the hand controller and the external device (ipad, phone, etc.) takes over and flies the drone ... you may never even touch the sticks the entire day.
 

JoeDimwit

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Probably others can jump in with better suggestions, but I have experience creating/flying routes with the pix4d capture app and drone deploy's app. Pix4d capture let's you setup your route ahead of time when you have internet and saves everything on the device so you don't need any kind of internet connection during the flight. Drone deploy is similar, and has some offline capabilities, but seems much more tethered to the internet generally, and recent versions have had some glitches for some people. I've personally started using pix4d more and more in the past few weeks. These tools generally let you draw a polygon boundary, set your altitude, and then will generate a grid that covers the area (and offer other options possibly as well to customize the flight for your needs.) I haven't seen anything that let's you define a specific path and specific locations for photos and save that, but that isn't my use case so I haven't gone out looking for that. When you fly, you plug your device into the hand controller and the external device (ipad, phone, etc.) takes over and flies the drone ... you may never even touch the sticks the entire day.
I appreciate your reply. Part of my issue is that IT won’t let me connect to the network, and the drone program won’t let me add software to the controller, so I’m basically stuck with the DJI Pilot app, without internet access. I’d set up a hotspot from my phone, but my carrier won’t allow that with my current data plan.

I would LOVE to be able to give them orthomosaic images, but as yet, they are not requesting that. To the best of my knowledge, all they want is a few pictures that they can see progress from. That’s why I am hoping that I can set a few waypoints, and aim the camera from each, so the pictures can be replicated every week without a bunch of manual jockeying around.
 

clolsonus

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We only have the dumb controller here so my perspective is only as good as that.
 

jnoel1453

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I have a phantom 4 pro which I use to fly construction jobs taking progressive shots just like you’re describing. I bought the Litchi app from the Apple store and downloaded it to my phone. I use this app to fly construction sites and take progressive photos just like you’re describing. I connect my phone to the remote, connect to the drone, upload the waypoint mission and take off. I don’t think an internet connection is necessary for this app to work but I have a strong cellular signal most times. If your phone has service and it will connect to your remote this may work for you?
 
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JoeDimwit

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I have a phantom 4 pro which I use to fly construction jobs taking progressive shots just like you’re describing. I bought the Litchi app from the Apple store and downloaded it to my phone. I use this app to fly construction sites and take progressive photos just like you’re describing. I connect my phone to the remote, connect to the drone, upload the waypoint mission and take off. I don’t think an internet connection is necessary for this app to work but I have a strong cellular signal most times. If your phone has service and it will connect to your remote this may work for you?
can I hook my iphone to the smart controller to do this?
 

jnoel1453

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can I hook my iphone to the smart controller to do this?
I’m not sure. I would try plugging your phone in to the controller and see if opening the go 4 app will allow you to control your drone. If that doesn’t work then I’m not sure.
 

jnoel1453

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I have found if you download the apk file for the software you want to use, to a micro sd card, plug that into your controller and install the apk file then it works. I don’t care for the smart controllers personally. They’re a pain to work with.
 

R Martin

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I work for a well known manufacturing company as an electrician, but i also fly a Mavic 2ED for them on occasion (yes, I have my Part 107 certificate). They are in the process of building a new factory building, and the project manager heard about our little group of drone pilots. This manager would like for us to fly over the site, weekly, and get progress photos. I would prefer to set and save a waypoint mission that we could just select and start so we can give them whe same pictures each time for comparison purposes.

We fly with a Smart Controller, which I like, but we don’t have internet available for me to get a good view of the property to set my waypoints and camera angles to capture the pictures I want from the field, and I don’t have WiFi in my building to connect to either. Is it possible to record a manual flight path and turn that into a waypoint mission? Can I set up a waypoint mission on my iPad and transfer it to the Smart Controller?

thanks in advance,
Joe
Internet connectivity issue: a lot of the telecoms sell mobile hot spots. We use one by T-Mobile to connect our apps to the net and it works great. They are also extremely affordable. We ran into an IT issue where they got their knickers in a twist over an external connection. We cut them out of the loop after they were unable to provide a viable solution in its place.

There are free apps on the market that you can create a waypoint flight plan with. You will have to check and make sure that it is compatible with your aircraft. Once the flight plan is created and transferred to the aircraft, you generally do not require any connectivity to fly the mission. Of course this information is based upon an Inspire-based app. The Mavic should work as well.
 

R.Perry

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I use Litchi weekly to do exactly what you are asking about. You don't need internet connection to use it and it's accuracy is fantastic. It also does a great job with panos. If you have any questions about how to set up with Litchi, PM me I'll see if I can help you. I posted a couple of my flight on here in the photography area that were flown with Litchi.
 

chasco

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Litchi by far. It is so much more configurable as each waypoint can its own altitude, yaw and pitch so you can make a couple of dry runs and get exactly the shots you want every time.
 

JoeDimwit

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For everyone suggesting Litchi, the issue there is that my company won’t allow us to use anything but the DJI Pilot app.
 

JoeDimwit

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What is their reasoning behind the restriction. That really limits what you can do.
They don’t want to risk the drone malfunctioning because of a program glitch due to the use of software from another provider. Believe me, it makes no sense to me either.
 

Dave Pitman

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They don’t want to risk the drone malfunctioning because of a program glitch due to the use of software from another provider. Believe me, it makes no sense to me either.
Since it's clear "they" don't have good understanding of the dji flight ecosystem, show up when the plant's closed and get'r done. Turn in the deliverables on Monday. It also sounds like you're up against your knowledge/experience limit. Not a problem there either. Reach out to someone in your area that has more experience and hire them to help you out the first time.

Not trying to be a jerk. But what you want to accomplish is not difficult. We all had to start somewhere.
 

Airmapper

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They don’t want to risk the drone malfunctioning because of a program glitch due to the use of software from another provider. Believe me, it makes no sense to me either.
In my old job I ran into this a lot. That is an excuse. IT doesn't like to do their job, plain and simple. If they have to get off their rump and click a mouse, it's too hard. I was the on site IT guy of sorts for the most part, and while me and the corporate IT guy got along, if it required him doing more then resetting a password the excuses would roll. Guy could set up a router, that was about the extent of his troubleshooting efforts.

What you probably need is to get a manager to assign you as the de-facto authority over UAS, not IT. IT has no business with your aircraft. If they have any say over the aircraft, they all need to get Part 107 licenses. You need a Wi-Fi connection from them, that's it.

Flight systems, including flight software, is your domain. You get it, set it up, and run it. IT needs to keep their fingers off of it. Use dedicated hardware if needed that you manage. I used to be in Engineering, we managed our own software for the most part because IT didn't have the chops to install CAD packages. We specified what hardware we needed, they would set up the OS and web connections and then we took over and installed what we used.

Defend your authority as a pilot. If anything goes wrong ever, the FAA is going to slap you personally and it will be your license they take, your employer will happily let you take all the liability. Remember anything that assists you in flying safely is paramount. Push that safety angle always. Software is definitely a safety feature. Anything that allows you to avoid distraction and keep eyes on the aircraft is inherently safer.
 

R.Perry

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I use three programs, DJI, Drone Deploy, and Litchi. I have had more issues with DJI software than I have had with Litchi or Drone Deploy. Besides, you can't do mapping with DJI software. Ask you management to do a little research.
 

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