When you need to quickly capture aerial data over large areas for reconnaissance or calibration purposes, Litchi is a powerful tool for creating systematic drone mapping missions. While not designed for generating high-quality orthomosaics, Litchi’s mapping features allow you to efficiently cover extensive areas and gather valuable data for further analysis. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up a reconnaissance mapping mission using the Litchi app on an iPad.

Step 1: Open Litchi and Navigate to Your Location

Begin by opening the Litchi app on your iPad. Use the map to zoom into the location where you want to create your mapping mission.

Step 2: Save Your Mission

Tap the “Save” icon on the left-hand side of the screen to save your mission. Give it a descriptive name, such as “Reef Recon Test.”

Step 3: Set General Mission Parameters

Next, tap the icon below the “Save” button to open the general mission settings. Here, you can adjust various parameters, such as flight speed and photo capture interval. For reconnaissance missions, you can set a higher flight speed (e.g., 4-8 meters per second) since you don’t need a high degree of photo overlap. Set your desired photo capture interval (e.g., every 30 meters) and review the other settings before closing the menu.

Step 4: Create Waypoints

Now, begin creating waypoints for your mission. Tap on the map to place your first waypoint. Litchi will display the waypoint number and the flying altitude. To adjust these settings, tap on the waypoint number. In this example, we’ll lower the altitude to 20 meters for better visibility of sea cucumbers. Verify that the other settings, such as cruising speed and photo capture interval, have carried over from the general mission settings.

Step 5: Add More Waypoints

Continue adding waypoints by tapping on the map. Litchi will use the same parameters as the previous waypoint. You can adjust the spacing between waypoints by zooming in and dragging them to the desired locations. Keep an eye on the total mission time and distance, displayed in the bottom-left corner, to ensure your drone has sufficient battery life to complete the mission and return to the launch point.

Step 6: Remove Waypoints (Optional)

If you need to remove a waypoint, tap on the waypoint number and then tap the minus (-) button in the upper-left corner of the screen. Litchi will update the mission accordingly.

Step 7: Connect Your Drone and Fly

When you’re ready to fly, connect your drone, tablet, and controller as you normally would. Litchi will display a “Connected” message at the top of the screen. To begin the mission, tap the play button on the left-hand side of the screen.

By following these steps, you can quickly create and fly reconnaissance mapping missions using Litchi. While this method is not suitable for generating high-quality orthomosaics, it’s an excellent way to cover large areas efficiently and gather data for calibration, validation, or initial site assessment.

If Litchi isn’t your drone mapping software of choice, check out our drone mapping mission guide overview and you’ll probably find the one you’re looking for.

Happy flying!