How to create and upload KML files
Importing KML files onto your Phantom 4 RTK controller is a great way to complete your mission planning on a larger screen or with a stronger internet connection.
- MicroSD card and reader for your computer
- Software that can produce KML files. If you don't have software that produces KML files, you can:
- Use Propeller to convert measurements/linework
- Use a free version of Google Earth Pro
- Produce a DXF and convert it to KML file (there are many DXF converters available online)
Before you start creating a KML:
- Format the SD card using the aircraft and remote controller.
- Create the correct file structure on the SD card, using the steps below.
Creating the Right File Path
1. Insert the microSD card into your computer or adapter.
2. Create a folder called "DJI" in the root directory.
3. Open the "DJI" folder and create another folder called "KML". The folder path should look like: D:\DJI\KML.
It's vital that these folders are set up in this exact way. Otherwise, the file will not import onto your controller.
Using processed surfaces in Propeller
If you've completed a survey in the past and it's on Propeller, it's easy to plan your missions and export directly from your browser. Here’s how:
1. Open your site on Propeller.
2. Use the Polygon tool to create a boundary around the area that you would like to survey (any template will work).
3. Name the polygon and save it. This will be your flight plan boundary.
4. Click on the Export icon, then KML. This will download a KML file of your selected area.
5. Once the download is complete, the file is ready to transfer to the controller.
Converting linework to flight plans in Propeller
1. Import the linework into Propeller.
2. Go to the Designs tab.
3. Enable the linework you want to use to create a flight plan.
4. Click on the polygon you would like to use.
5. Right click on the polygon to convert it to a measurement.
6. Export the measurement as a KML file using the above method.
Creating a KML file in Google Earth
Create a polyline for linear flight missions, and a polygon for area survey missions.
If you have imported multiple polygons in as a single KML file each "layer" will be able to be selected individually after hitting the Start button stage. This works well on large sites where you may not have the time to survey the whole site each time, but you want a range of easy mission options without drawing them in manually.
1. Open Google Earth and locate the mission area.
2. Define a path or polygon using the path or polygon tool. You can change the boundary points by clicking and dragging them.
The GS RTK app supports up to 99 boundary points through a KML file. We recommend using as few boundary points as possible.
3. Save the file as a .KML.
Importing KML files onto your controller
1. After you've created a KML file, you can add it to the folder you created above. The file path should look like: D:\DJI\KML\********.kml.
You can copy multiple files into this folder if you have created many KML files, or you can export multiple polygons as a single KML file and then plan separate missions for each shape in that file.
2. Once you've uploaded all of your files, eject the microSD card from your computer and insert it into the controller. The port for the SD card is on the right-hand side of the controller, within the rubber grip. The SD card is inserted upside-down with the pins facing up at you.
3. Turn on the controller. If the file structure is correct a prompt will be displayed to import your KML files.
4. Tap Import and wait for the success notification to display.
5. Tap the icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen (three horizontal bars).
6. Tap the page icon followed by the dropdown menu.
7. Select KML File.
8. Tap on the file that you want to use for your mission and hit Start. The file will be displayed on the map.
9. Tap Edit to convert the KML area into a mission.
If you have too many waypoints, you will not be able to create a mission. GS RTK can only handle KML files with 99 or fewer waypoints (or boundary points). Edit the KML file on your computer and import the file again using the steps above.
10. Edit your mission to your preferred specifications then hit Save.
11. Don't forget to remove the microSD card after you are finished so that it will not prompt you each time the craft is turned on.
Having issues importing KML files onto your controller?
Sometimes the KML files won't automatically import when you power on your controller even if you've set up the folder structure correctly. To solve this, we recommend trying a couple different methods of getting them imported.
1. From the main menu, tap the icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen (three horizontal bars).
2. Tap the SD card icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
3. If necessary, change the dropdown menu at the top to KML File.
4. Select the KML file(s) you wish to import.
5. Tap Import.
If you still can't see your KML files properly, try removing and inserting the micro SD card while the controller is turned on.
The GS RTK app supports up to 99 boundary points through a KML file. If the KML file you created has more than 99 boundary points, you will not be able to plan or invoke missions. We recommend using as few dropped points as possible to prevent this error.
We do not recommend using Trimble Business Center to create KML files for mission planning, as there are often too many boundary points for GS RTK to handle.
If you already have a KML from Trimble Business Center, we recommend importing the file into Google Earth, retracing the boundary, and exporting the traced version to use for mission planning.
I still can't do it!
We wrote these articles to arm you with everything you need to get the job done on your own, but we understand that sometimes this isn't sufficient.
If you're stuck, the Propeller hardware support team may be able to help. You can contact our support team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.