Quick Start Guide: Mavic 3 Enterprise Data Collection


Propeller’s powerful tools rely on consistent, globally accurate data. When surveying your site, the only way to obtain accurate data is through good ground control distribution and consistent flying practices.

Following these settings using a Mavic 3 Enterprise and AeroPoints should yield good results for basic data capture.

Certain edge cases require more thought and preparation.

Aside from the interference warning generated from being inside a building, verify no other warnings are posted in the status bar.
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Pre-flight preparation

Check flying restrictions for your site and follow the law.
Resources:

Charge the batteries for your drone and controller using the battery charger that came with your drone.

Ensure you have a recommended SD card in the camera.

Check for firmware updates that may be available by turning on and connecting the controller to the internet. 

  • Open the DJI Pilot app, then select the Status button in the top right corner to access the Health Management System to see which components need firmware updates.

Set the units and maps for your region.

  • Switch to the sensor view by tapping the camera view in the bottom right corner. 
  • Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select the three white dots at the bottom below the RTK settings.
  • Change the units to your preference and the map type to “MapTiler.”

Set the units and maps for your region.

  • Switch to the sensor view by tapping the camera view in the bottom right corner. 
  • Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select the three white dots at the bottom below the RTK settings.
  • Change the units to your preference and the map type to “MapTiler.”

Power down the drone, followed by the controller after adjusting your settings and updating firmware.

 

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Before leaving the office: Mission Planning

Flight mission planning is easier if completed with an internet connection.
  • Using the on-screen map on the controller, or
  • Importing a KML file of the survey area into the app

1. Find out what coordinate reference system (CRS) your site is using. 

You'll require additional information if the site has a local calibration. If you aren’t sure, the project surveyor or engineer should be able to provide the CRS used.

2. Plan where you are going to launch the drone.

Launch from a higher elevation to avoid having insufficient overlap over the elevated parts of your site, which can result in holes in your model.

3. Plan your AeroPoint placement.

  • AeroPoints need a clear view of the sky and not be in the path of vehicles or machinery for the entire flight.

Clear_view_infographic.png

  • If you’re using a local grid system or are not covered by the Propeller Corrections Network, an AeroPoint must be placed on a known point.
  • The known point still needs a clear view of the sky and should rest on a flat surface (not sitting on/near a ledge).
  • Using a site rover, you can create a known point by recording the center of the AeroPoint (once it’s placed on the ground).
  • When processing the AeroPoint survey, you can input the rover recordings as the known point.

The Propeller PPK solution requires at least one AeroPoint to be placed.

If you have more than one AeroPoint in your survey, you can select which are used as ground control points (GCPs) and which are used as checkpoints to validate the model’s accuracy.

 

For larger sites (>150 acres, or about 60 hectares), we recommend using at least three AeroPoints as GCPs.

4. If you’re using the controller to plan your mission, tap 

  • Flight Route

Flight_Route.png

  • Create a Route

Create_a_Route.png

  • Area Route (for most sites)

Area_Route.png

For linear missions, such as corridor surveys, tap Flight RouteCreate a Route, followed by Linear.

Linear_Route.png

5. Locate your site by panning around the map and using two fingers to adjust the zoom.

Locate_Site.png

6. Find your site by panning the map screen. Then tap the screen to add a boundary point.

Panning.png

To move a pin, tap on it again to select it, then either use the lat/long adjuster on the right or drag it around with your finger.

You can also delete the selected pin by tapping the trash icon on the left side of the screen.

 

7. Display and adjust the mission settings by tapping the "Mapping Area" check mark.

Mapping_Area.png

 

8.Select the Aircraft Model, Camera Model, and Lens. Tap OK.

Select_Aircraft_Model.png

 

9.Select the Ortho Ground Sample Distance (GSD).

Ortho_Collection.png

We recommend not changing this setting.
The Ortho GSD will change depending on your mission height. Once you set the Route Altitude, the Ortho GSD will be set accordingly.

Changing the GSD setting will automatically change your mission height settings and may cause the drone to fly above the legal limits. 

 

10. Once your mission parameters are set, save your mission. Tap on the Save icon in the top-left of the screen.

Save_Button.png

You will not be able to save a mission if you haven't selected the camera in the settings. If your mission doesn't seem to be saving,  make sure you have chosen the camera.

 

Ready to save: Ready_to_Save.png NOT ready to save: Not_Ready_To_Save.png

 

11. Make sure the drone is powered on.

Press the battery button twice (long hold on the second press) to turn on the drone.

Switch to the sensor view by tapping the camera view in the bottom left corner.

Sensor_View.png

 

12. Adjust your camera settings by pressing the appropriate settings at the top.

Camera_Settings.png

 

To restart mission planning, tap the save icon near the top left of the remote controller (RC).

 

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Before leaving the office: Drone and camera settings

 

Setting

Set to

Question to ask yourself

Reason

Aircraft Model M3E Series Which drone am I using? DJI Pilot 2 uses the same interface for the M3E Series, M300/M350 RTK, and M30 Series.
Camera M3E

Which camera are you planning to use for this mission?

The mission parameters will differ for different cameras, so ensure this is set accurately.

Lens WIDE Which Lens am I using?

The mission parameters will differ for different lenses, so ensure this is set accurately.

Ortho  Ortho Collection Am I performing a 2D photogrammetry mission? In a 2D photogrammetry mission, the camera should only face straight down for the entire mission.
Ortho GSD *default   *The Ortho GSD will change depending on your mission height. Once you set the Route Altitude, the Ortho GSD will be set accordingly. Changing the GSD setting will automatically change your mission height settings.
ASL/ALT

Relative to takeoff point

What elevation is your target altitude referenced to Unless you are referencing to altitude above sea level (ASL) in the EGM96 geoid model, set this to ALT.
Route Altitude 200–400ft (60–120m) How high should I fly compared to the take-off point? The height balances how fast you would like to complete the survey (higher makes it faster) and the ground sampling distance you need (lower makes it better).
Elevation Optimization Disabled

Is the terrain or altitude expected to vary during the flight?

When enabled, the drone will take a few oblique images at the end of the flight. You do not need these to process your data with Propeller.

Safe Takeoff Altitude User preference What is the height of the lowest potential obstacle in my survey boundary? The drone will take off vertically to that height and then fly at a diagonal to the start point for the rest of the ascension to the start point.

We recommend setting it to the same altitude as the mission.
Speed *Max Speed Allowable How fast should I fly? *Unless you’re trying to reach the required 10 minute flight time, increase speed to minimize the overall flight time. In low light conditions, reduce the speed and the shutter speed to ~1/800.
Course Angle User preference. 

Adjust the flight direction with the slider.

What direction should I fly to cover the survey area?

Fewer turns mean more area covered per battery. 

For linear/narrow surveys, use the Linear Flight Mission mode instead of Mapping.

Upon Completion Return To Home

What should I do after completing the mission?

Using this setting is safer and prevents losing your drone. Once completed, the drone will go back to the home point automatically.

Terrain Follow Disabled

 

Do you want your RTK-connected drone to follow the terrain?

This setting can only be used when using an RTK connection. We will leave this disabled since PPK corrections and processing will be used.

Target Surface to Takeoff Point

0

Is the terrain I want to survey at a different altitude than my home point?

Unless the terrain that you are surveying is at a much different height than your home point, leave this at 0.

Takeoff Speed User Preference

How fast should the drone take off?

Faster takeoff speeds

will slightly reduce the battery life but may be necessary on active sites.

Go to Advanced Settings

Side and Front Overlap

~80%

How much should each of the images overlap?

This provides enough overlap for some

images to be missing or of poor quality while still building a contiguous model. The lower the detail on the surface below, the higher your overlap should be. 

If you have a large area to survey, you can reduce the horizontal overlap (no lower than 60%) to increase the area you can cover per battery.

Margin 0

How much margin do you want to leave around the survey area?

Provided you have covered the entire area you would like to survey accurately, you don’t need any margin.

Photo Mode

Distance Interval Shot

What metric is used to capture images?

Distance shooting allows the drone to capture images with consistent overlap.
Camera settings

Camera setting Set to Question to ask yourself Reason

Camera Mode
S (Shutter Priority)

How should the exposure be controlled?

S is shutter priority mode. Shutter priority tells the camera that a fixed shutter speed must be used. The camera can adjust the exposure and ISO.

Auto Exposure (AE)
Unlocked Can the camera auto-adjust exposure? This must be unlocked for the camera to adjust the exposure with aperture and ISO.
Shutter speed
1/1000

What should I set my shutter speed at?

To avoid motion blur. 1000 is usually a good place to start for sunny conditions. In low light conditions, reduce the shutter speed to ~800 and decrease the flight speed.

Focus Mode

AFC (Auto Focus Continuous)

How do I want my camera to focus on my site?

PLEASE NOTE: The M3E will automatically switch to Manual Focus (MF) at the start of each mission. This is expected, and no user input is required.
Go to Camera Menu (Slider icon) 

Camera Slider Bars
Set to Question to ask yourself Reason
Image ratio 4:3

How much of the image should be cropped?

4:3 deletes nothing, utilizing the whole sensor. 

Other settings will crop the images.

Image Format JPG

What file format should I choose to save the photos?

Images must be saved in JPG format for processing.

Overflow settings

Lock gimbal while shooting

Enabled Do you want the gimbal to lock in place while it takes a photo? Leave this on the default setting. This will help prevent blurry images.
Mechanical shutter Enabled

Do I want my camera to use the mechanical shutter?

A mechanical shutter uses conventional front and rear shutter curtains at the front of the sensor. 

Leaving this turned off can introduce distortion.

Dewarping Enabled

Should the camera apply dewarping?

This will help improve the accuracy of your data. Disabling this setting can lead to lower accuracy.

All other settings Default setting    

 

Verify

Verify the mission settings in the Mapping Checklist. Ensure you set the correct parameters for the mission and that Dewarping is turned on.

Mapping_Checklist.png

 

  Onsite: Ground Control Placement

Lay out ground control and checkpoints. If you are using AeroPoints, we recommend laying them out before conducting your preflight checks.
  • Ensure you have placed your AeroPoint(s) at least five minutes before you start flying. 
  • If you do not have a known point on site, you must leave the AeroPoint 2 on for at least 10 minutes. If you are using AeroPoint 1s or a mixed fleet, they must be on for at least 45 minutes.
  • Do not turn off the AeroPoint before you finish flying.
Proper AeroPoint placement reminder
  • A clear view of the sky in all directions. Avoid power lines, walls, and trees.
  • To be on a relatively flat surface with a maximum of 20° from horizontal.
  • To remain unmoved during data capture. Avoid areas with foot traffic, if possible.
  • To be turned on to collect data. A solid green light will show next to “Logging” when on (applicable for AeroPoint 2 only). 
  • Record where you have put each AeroPoint, so they can be easily recovered at the end of the survey flight.

If you need to place an AeroPoint on a known point

  • Place the AeroPoint stencil precisely over the known point.
  • Spray-paint the corners.
  • Place the AeroPoint on top of the painted stencil.

  Onsite: Preflight Checks

  • Check that the batteries for the drone and controller are fully charged.
  • While the drone is off, ensure that the propellers aren’t damaged and that the frame arms are unfolded.
  • Check that a suitable SD card is securely inserted into the drone. Regularly format the card through the DJI Pilot App.
  • Place the drone in an unobstructed, flat area. No obstacles should be above or near the drone, and no traffic in the landing area at any time.
  • Turn on the controller and the drone. Always power the drone on after the controller.
  • Check that the controller has a reliable connection to the aircraft. 
  • Check that the obstacle avoidance sensors are clean. 
  • Calibrate the compass if prompted to do so.

Tip: Ensure you are far from metal objects or magnets.

  • Set up the mission by tapping on Mission Flight, then tapping on your prepared mission from the list. Or plan a new one using “Create a Route” or “KML Import.”
  • Check the settings and that they match the conditions of the day.
  • Activate any airspace certificates you have unlocked through Aircraft Settings (3 white dots on Top Right) and GeoZone Unlocking.

 Onsite: Flying the Drone

  • Confirm that the drone is ready by checking the status bar.
  • Start the mission.
  • Tap the blue start arrow on the left side to start the mission. A final preflight check screen will appear, asking for your confirmation before launching. Re-verify that the settings are correct.
  • Check for any obstructions or low flying aircraft.
  • If it’s safe to take off, start the mission.

If you need to pause your mission for any reason, you can quickly do so by pressing the red pause button on the controller or the gray and white pause button to the left in the mapbox. You can then resume the mission from the DJI Pilot app.

  Onsite: Post Flight Checks

  • Turn off the drone and remove the batteries. The batteries will be warm but should not show signs of puffing or excessive heat.
  • Remove the SD card from the drone.
  • Check the image quality if possible.
    • Open a couple of the images to ensure they are sharp and clear and not over- or underexposed.
  • Check that your images cover the desired area and no major issues are detected.

Please refer to this tutorial for more detailed information on uploading images from your Mavic 3 Enterprise to the Propeller Platform.


I still can't do it!

We wrote these articles to equip 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 them by emailing hardwaresupport@propelleraero.com.au

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