Solex Missions, Tower, Mission Planner, or QGroundControl

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Hey Kelly the only thing in this regard that I can think of off the top of my head is sometimes we fly in steep terrain and want to keep the camera close to a set AGL. When I create plans in Tower for this I cross reference with elevations in Google Earth. Its a little painstaking but the models Iv been able to do have been awesome. Two examples of using this is a slope that wildfire nuked off and we modeled it to monitor runoff and erosion. The second was a wagon trail that we wanted to fly a narrow strip out to the end of radio range and back, this when done in terrain thats not level can be rough if you dont change the altitudes.
 
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Hey Kelly the only thing in this regard that I can think of off the top of my head is sometimes we fly in steep terrain and want to keep the camera close to a set AGL. When I create plans in Tower for this I cross reference with elevations in Google Earth. Its a little painstaking but the models Iv been able to do have been awesome. Two examples of using this is a slope that wildfire nuked off and we modeled it to monitor runoff and erosion. The second was a wagon trail that we wanted to fly a narrow strip out to the end of radio range and back, this when done in terrain thats not level can be rough if you dont change the altitudes.
That's pretty cool... I understand the comfort level with using a PC for this (and being able to cross-ref with elevation data, etc). I could do something that does a kind of "direct import" from a file that Mission Planner produces, and send it straight to the vehicle. So you could load missions into Solex and then once you're in the field, pick them from a list to send directly to the vehicle without Solex trying to import it into its own editor.

The elevation item above reminds me of an idea I've been thinking of for Solex: A way to look up the elevations along a path and adjust waypoint altitudes to make the mission "follow the terrain" as opposed to flying a straight altitude the whole time, or requiring the user to update the altitude for waypoints manually. You'd have to have an internet connection for it to work, but that seems like it's OK since you (or I, at least) plan missions a lot of times at my office before heading out to fly them.
 
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The elevation item above reminds me of an idea I've been thinking of for Solex: A way to look up the elevations along a path and adjust waypoint altitudes to make the mission "follow the terrain" as opposed to flying a straight altitude the whole time, or requiring the user to update the altitude for waypoints manually. You'd have to have an internet connection for it to work, but that seems like it's OK since you (or I, at least) plan missions a lot of times at my office before heading out to fly them.
That would be pretty slick to have a follow the terrain option with a user define relative offset. You would only need internet during the mission planning editing stage right? Just purchased missions and geotag, hoping I can try it out as soon as it warms up a bit more.
 
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That would be pretty slick to have a follow the terrain option with a user define relative offset. You would only need internet during the mission planning editing stage right? Just purchased missions and geotag, hoping I can try it out as soon as it warms up a bit more.
Cool, yes, you should only have to have a WiFi connection while you're at "HQ" planning missions. :) The elevations would be looked up and just used to adjust altitudes in the mission.
 
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I'd be interested to know: What's stopping you from using Solex's mission editor for making complex missions? I do it pretty often, but I'm kind of partial to using it for that. I'd like for the mission editing in Solex to be cool enough that people grativate toward using it instead of other editors. :) Is it just that it's more comfortable to plan a mission on a PC, or is there some other reason?
Hi @Kelly Schrock
Apart from being more precise with a mouse and big screen over large areas, here are the main reasons why i still use MP:
- I always plan mission surveys for commercial work using existing polygons (often complex shapes) imported from the project's GIS or google earth database
- because I'm mapping in natural areas with steep terrain, I always need grid survey point altitudes adjusted for terrain
- with usually 8-10 flights per polygon, i maximize the flight time by calculating the distances from point to point and making microadjustments to get the most efficient RTL points between sub-missions... I don't actually know if Missions can automatically split a big mission into a certain number of smaller (feasible) missions with auto launch and RTL commands inserted.
I hope that's useful.
Cheers
 
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Hi @Kelly Schrock
Apart from being more precise with a mouse and big screen over large areas, here are the main reasons why i still use MP:
- I always plan mission surveys for commercial work using existing polygons (often complex shapes) imported from the project's GIS or google earth database
- because I'm mapping in natural areas with steep terrain, I always need grid survey point altitudes adjusted for terrain
- with usually 8-10 flights per polygon, i maximize the flight time by calculating the distances from point to point and making microadjustments to get the most efficient RTL points between sub-missions... I don't actually know if Missions can automatically split a big mission into a certain number of smaller (feasible) missions with auto launch and RTL commands inserted.
I hope that's useful.
Cheers
Hi Damien,

That's actually really useful, it gives me some ideas on how I can improve the mission planning in Solex, so thanks for sharing. I had been thinking about how to make "multi-battery missions" similar what you mention above, and found out from a user that the way they do it is to let the vehicle RTL on low battery threshold, fly back and land. They swap out the battery, launch and switch back to Auto. The vehicle resumes the mission at the point where it stopped, and this continues until the mission is complete. It seems like that would work, but I bet I could improve on it and make that process a bit more predictable.

I think it was last week that someone mentioned the ability to follow terrain. I think that's a great idea, and I have an item in my todo list to put that feature in. Basically the way it would work would be to take all of the waypoints in the mission and the vehicle's home point (including camera points in surveys, etc) and look up the ground elevation for each. Then I think you could set an altitude on the first waypoint as a reference, and adjust the altitudes of all other points so they maintain that altitude above the ground elevation.

I've actually been working on a device/software that can be used with Solex instead of Solex itself lately, but I'm collecting ideas to work on once I get back to it. There's quite a few, and mission-related stuff is at the top of the list.

Thanks,
Kelly
 
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There is outside some guys who made 18 Solos to do mission then come back to charge area and next one keeps mission. I was found video on YouTube one time. They I think was students from some research. But they did not show all in process. And battery was modified.
 
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I'm confused about Solex and Missions. Perfectly happy to spend the $30 on it, and from what I can tell it appears to support creating missions. It doesn't look like there's an extra charge for getting something called Missions, unless I'm missing something. [Correction, you have to pay $20 for Missions.] It refers to Missions as part of Solex. Not sure what the in-app purchases are going to be.

We've been using Tower for more than a year now, flown dozens of mapping missions, and have generally had good luck with it. It does crash a lot however and that's a problem -- that hasn't created a crash of the aircraft yet, but we've not been sure what to do in the middle of a mission when the app crashes; the mission still works in the aircraft, but we can't monitor the mission at that point.
 
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I'm confused about Solex and Missions. Perfectly happy to spend the $30 on it, and from what I can tell it appears to support creating missions. It doesn't look like there's an extra charge for getting something called Missions, unless I'm missing something. It refers to Missions as part of Solex. Not sure what the in-app purchases are going to be.

We've been using Tower for more than a year now, flown dozens of mapping missions, and have generally had good luck with it. It does crash a lot however and that's a problem -- that hasn't created a crash of the aircraft yet, but we've not been sure what to do in the middle of a mission when the app crashes; the mission still works in the aircraft, but we can't monitor the mission at that point.
Solex is $30 and then you have the option of buying the two add ons:
Missions is $20
Geotag is $10
 
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The mission is stored on the aircraft when you upload it. When tower crashes just close it, reopen, connect, and download the mission from the Solo. It will keep flying what it was last told to do unless you change that. I just leave it going and once reconnected Tower will pickup from there and you can monitor again.

Iv been using Solex Missions a bit and helping Kelly get a few things working better. It's all good now. Main thing I like at this point is the terrain following.
 
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when was tower last updated?
I can update it any time I wanted.
When you have mission critical flight path, there is no better setup with a pc and MP. The computing power of Android and iOS can't compete with pc.
 
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The mission is stored on the aircraft when you upload it. When tower crashes just close it, reopen, connect, and download the mission from the Solo. It will keep flying what it was last told to do unless you change that. I just leave it going and once reconnected Tower will pickup from there and you can monitor again.

Iv been using Solex Missions a bit and helping Kelly get a few things working better. It's all good now. Main thing I like at this point is the terrain following.
Thanks for these ideas. We're going to test things out this next week, as otherwise Tower is working fine for us.

But we're also going to give Solex + Missions a try, since it's currently supported. Most are our flights are with a MicaSense RedEdge 5-band camera, and I have the camera parameters, etc. We use a grid survey for this, and I've mostly liked the way Tower does this. In Solex/Missions I got confused initially by the Grid option, but what we want is the Survey type, which lets you choose the camera (MicaSense isn't listed, but we can use a different 48 deg FOV). I like the ability of choosing the grid angle; that will help a lot.

We'll test this out at our limited test area this week to see how it works in an actual mission, but here are the observations so far:

Similar capabilities to Tower:
1. Ability to create gridded survey missions, based on the camera FOV and altitude.
2. Ability to cache image maps for planning missions away from the internet. With Solex/Missions, seems to work more like Pix4Dcapture, where images are saved with corresponding missions.
3. Ability to download missions from aircraft, as a check to see what it has loaded. Have to press the Options in the Layers view to see this option.

Advantages of Solex/Missions related to Tower:
1. Ability to set the angle of the survey grid.
2. Terrain following (haven't tested, but would love this to work).

Bugs of Tower:
1. Random crashes during mission planning or during a flight.

Bugs of Solex/Missions (on Nexus 9 at least):
1. Entering a survey, message displays "Oops, not a survey" -- fixed if careful by redoing.

So far, so good for the most part.
 
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trying Solex Missions again

Is there a difference on what "Actions" can be performed when connected versus not-connected?

There is some reference to this in the manual, but does't say what.
 
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trying Solex Missions again

Is there a difference on what "Actions" can be performed when connected versus not-connected?

There is some reference to this in the manual, but does't say what.
All of the actions can be run when not connected, except:

  • Start Video
  • Stop Video
  • Gimbal Angle
  • Camera Mode
  • Set LEDs
These are actually run by the app, not the vehicle.
 
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Thanks!

You saved me lots of experimenting.

We need this to get documented, somehow in the app when you select these options
 
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Thanks!

You saved me lots of experimenting.

We need this to get documented, somehow in the app when you select these options
I could have sworn I documented this somewhere. But I just looked, and I guess not. :) I'll put some indication in there as to what type of action a given action is.
 
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