Quick Start Guide: Matrice 300 or 350 PPK 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. 

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.

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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 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. 

  • Open the DJI Pilot app then select HMS (Health Management System) to see which components of your system need firmware updates.

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.

  • Switch to the sensor view by tapping the P1 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 “Mapbox.”
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.

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.

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

  • 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 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

  • Mapping (for most sites) 

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).

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Before leaving the office: Settings

Setting Set to Question to ask yourself Reason
Camera 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.

Smart Oblique
Disabled 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.
ASL/ALT 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.
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.
Flight Route Altitude

250–400ft (80–120m)

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).

Target Surface to Takeoff Point

0ft

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.

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.

Speed *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

Elevation Optimization

Disabled

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.

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 return to the home point automatically.

Go to Advanced Settings

Side and Front Overlap

~75%

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.

Course Angle

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.

Margin 0

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.

Photo Mode

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
Focus Mode 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
Dewarping Disabled 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.

Camera Menu
Photo Mode Photo 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.
Image Ratio 3:2 How much of the image should be cropped? 3:2 utilizing the whole sensor, deleting nothing.

Other settings will crop the images.
Image Format JPEG

What file format should I choose to save the photos?

Images must be saved in JPG format for processing.
White Balance 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)
Mechanical Shutter Enabled 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.

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.

Shutter  1/1000 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.
  • 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