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Recommendation for drone for capturing small forest area




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    Götz Echtenacher

    Hi alice,

    when you found one at a reasonable proce, let me know!  :-)

    No seriously, I think that in theory this is possible but not "plug and play" out of the box.

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    yeah trees and drones don't mix very well, i guess you would need one with a lot of avoidance detection.


    there are a number of apps that will automatically setup a grid or double grid to shoot. but i have only seen ones that limit to jpg. and it also may not fully support vision detection in that mode. so you would need to research that

    also keep in mind gps dosen't work very well under lots of trees. 

    it might be possible with a phantom4 pro. but i bet you would crash it a lot.  

  • Avatar
    Michal Rus


    If your 10x10m area is vertically and horizontally isolated from surroundings (other trees etc.) and you want to capture whole area from bottom to top, you can do that nowadays easily with DJI Phantom 4 Pro. The sensors will make sure you will not collide but it's not 100% safe to rely on sensors only as they might fail to recognize objects such as trees. Make sure it's a calm day else you end up with a bad model (trees should not move a bit). If trees have green leaves, use multiple mission altitudes above this area. Use double grid mission above area and circle missions from bottom to top. Make sure you have 80/80% overlap on those missions. If you are too close to the trees in your area, the RC might get into problems with aligment. 

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    There is no safe quadrocopter now. You got to plan missions in UGCS with 3D ground level, only this thing will help to you with known obstacles. UGCS is only for flying above forest.

    You can't fly inside the forest. Better use some special photo mast.

    But if you want to try - you can use UGCS No fly zone:

    Or DroneHarmony for Android, it have advanced noflyzone editing. But I'm shure it's bad idea to fly in forest) 


  • Avatar
    Michal Rus

    Hi Alexander,

    what do you mean "There is no safe quadrocopter now" ? You mean each copter is unstable or that it will crash to the trees during a planned mission ? I don't know how much experience you've got with drones and Phantom 4 Pro in particular but this one is reasonably well able to distinguish if an obstacle is in your mission path or not. You just have to make sure you set your mission flight speed reasonably low so that onboard sensors have the ability and time to react to surroundings. I've done this many times and it works well. 

    You can use UGCS ground station to plan your misson however it's not magic on it's own. UGCS is using just DTM with draped orthomosaic surface texture over it. It doesn't know the DSM height anyway - I mean it doesn't know the height of the trees in the forrest so you cannot rely on it.

    Also the underlying orthomosaic is not reliable when you plan mission in advance. Usually these mosaics are a year or more old. Therefore it's better if you use mission planning app (or multiple apps) that supports creating a new orthomosaic (sometimes called photomap) with low photo overlap directly in the field. This means right after flight ends the data are sent to your iOS/Android device to create an orthomosaic of your project area. This way you can plan your mapping mission with much more precision when you use this new orthomosaic as a much more reliable source of data for further mapping objectives.

    Obviously this is still just a first step towards the precise mission planning. Orthomosaic is just draped over DTM. So the drone still doesn't have the information about the DSM structure. I think in this way we will see some improvements in the near future regarding mission planning apps development.

    Fly Safe !

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