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.
Follow these settings if you use a Matrice 300 or 350, the Zenmuse P1, and AeroPoints for data collection.
Certain edge cases require more thought and preparation.
|Check flying restrictions for your site and follow the law.
|Charge the batteries for your drone and controller using the DJI BS60 battery station that comes with your drone.
|Ensure you have a recommended SD card in the camera.
Check for any available updates when turning on and connecting the controller to the internet.
Aside from the interference warning generated from being inside a building, verify no other warnings are posted in the status bar.
Set the units and maps for your region.
|Power down the drone, followed by the controller after adjusting your settings and updating firmware.
Before leaving the office: Mission Planning
Flight mission planning is easier if completed with an internet connection.
Plan your mission by:
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.
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 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
For linear missions, such as corridor surveys, tap Flight Route, Create a Route, followed by Linear.
5. Locate your site by panning around the map and using two fingers to adjust the zoom.
6. Add your site polygon by tapping the screen once to add a preliminary boundary.
A four vertice polygon will automatically generate.
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.
7. Display and adjust the mission settings by tapping the white tab with arrows on the right.
8. Save your mission by pressing the gray and white floppy disk button to the left.
9. Switch to the sensor view by tapping the Zenmuse P1 sensor view in the bottom left corner.
Ensure the P1 action is set to photo.
10. Adjust your camera settings by pressing Menu.
To restart mission planning, tap the four squares in the top left or press the back button near the top left on the remote controller (RC).
Before leaving the office: Settings
|Question to ask yourself
|Zenmuse P1 (35MM*)
Which camera are you planning to use for this mission?
The mission parameters will be different for different lenses. You should set this to match the lens used for the mission.
* The 35mm lens is the most common. A 24mm or 50mm lens can also be used.
|Should the feature be used for this mission?
|For most missions, this feature can be left disabled. If you require more detail on vertical faces, then enable it. However, the mission will take longer to complete.
|Relative to the takeoff point
|What elevation is your target altitude referenced to
|Unless you are referencing altitude above sea level (ASL) in the EGM96 geoid model, set this to ALT.
|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.
|Flight Route Altitude
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).
Target Surface to Takeoff Point
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 0ft.
How fast should the
drone take off?
Faster takeoff speeds
will slightly reduce the battery life but may be necessary on active sites.
|*Max Speed Allowable
|How fast should I fly?
*Unless you’re trying to reach 10 minute flight time, increase speed to minimize the overall flight time. The M300 or M350 will notify you on the RC screen if your speed is too great for the interval distance.
In low light conditions, reduce the speed and the shutter speed to ~1/800
Is the terrain or altitude expected to vary during the flight?
A few oblique images are captured from the center of your survey area for optimization for certain software.
This is not required when submitting data to Propeller.
|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 return to the home point automatically.
|Go to Advanced Settings
Side and Front Overlap
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.
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.
How much margin do you want to leave around the survey area?
You don't need any margin if you have accurately covered the entire area you want to survey.
Distance Interval Shot
What metric is used to capture images?
|Distance shooting allows the drone to capture images with consistent overlap.
|Go to Payload Settings
|First Waypoint Autofocus
|How do I want my camera to focus on my site?
|Focus problems may cause blur. Make sure this is set to First Waypoint Autofocus and not Calibrated Infinity Focus
|Should the camera apply dewarping?
Leaving the dewarping off allows the photogrammetric software to undistort the images. This usually does a better job of this.
For any non-surveying purposes, leave it enabled.
|Do I want a single photo at each distance interval?
|This should always be set to Photo. The distance interval setting should automatically account for this.
|How much of the image should be cropped?
3:2 utilizing the whole sensor, deleting nothing.
Other settings will crop the images.
What file format should I choose to save the photos?
|Images must be saved in JPG format for processing.
|Set to the conditions of the day
|What conditions should I accommodate?
Adjust the setting to reflect current weather conditions.
Setting the white balance incorrectly will result in poor stitching and/or inaccurate coloring of your model.
Camera Settings (Wrench Icon)
|Do I want my camera to utilize 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.
|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.
|What should I set my shutter speed to?
|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 the speed.
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.
If you need to place an AeroPoint on a known point
Onsite: Preflight Checks
Onsite: Flying the Drone
Onsite: Post Flight Checks
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 email@example.com