Mapping with Waypoints

Using Waypoint Map for a mapping mission

Thanks to Mick Green at DriftMedia who has shared this ‘how to’ video on using Waypoint Map so you can capture a mapping mission with the DJI Mini 4 Pro, DJI Air 3, or Mavic 3 Pro using the DJI RC or RC2 remote control.

Mick is also using a BoxWave Stylus Pen to help with the setup of the waypoints.

Important things remember

When conducting a mapping mission, the outcome is to produce an orthomosaic. The algorithm that is used to create this orthomosaic from the photos you take, requires overlapping photos to match the photos together.

So, when you are setting up your waypoints and the flight lines, make sure:

  • Your flight lines are close enough together that the photos will have sidelap (this will be some trial and error with this manual setup).
  • Your drone is taking photos every 2 seconds. This will make sure your photos have overlap as it flies down the flight line.
  • You fly a slightly larger area than what you need captured. The edges of your othomosaic are always going to be slightly blurred due to the lack of sidelap and overlap at these parts.

Why do this manually?

Many apps exist that allow you to simply draw a polygon over the area you want to map, and the app does its magic and works out the flight lines, overlap, and sidelap needed to get a good orthomosaic, and then can autonomously fly this mission.

This requires the drone manufacturer to release its Software Developers Kit (SDK) so that the app can talk to the drone.

DJI has not released the SDK for many of its latest drones (Mini 4, Air 3, Mavic 3 Pro, Mavic 3 Classic), as it aims to limit functionality of its drones and push consumers to its higher end drone, the Mavic 3 Enterprise, which has a native drone mapping capability built into the DJI remote control. 

This means that third party app developers like DroneLink cannot enable these drone on its app if they don’t have access to the SDK.

The workaround is using Waypoints, and doing a more manual set up process like Mick describes in the video. Whilst this is not as clean a process as using a mapping mission planning app, it is an achievable workaround if you can’t afford the higher end Mavic 3 Enterprise.

Credits

Thanks to Mick at DriftMedia for making this video.

Waypoint icon by Bakunetsu Kaito (CC BY 3.0)

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Topographic map with dots displaying data points of environmental drone mapping data. Three drone mapping overlays in different environments

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