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Background:
I am a land surveyor, and I am implementing a sUAS and photogrammetry program with the goal of providing a sUAS for each crew as another tool in their toolbox. We are 100% Autodesk (ACAD) Civil 3D, so 3dr's Sitescan seemed like the perfect fit. We were about to pull the trigger when they imploded, and it became apparent that while they had warehouses with Solo's in them, they were no longer a robotics company, but a software and service company, or at least that was where they were headed. For the price point, we determined that being a guinea pig for a startup was not where we wanted to go. (If that seems harsh, I apologize. The guys we talked to were professional, helpful, and we liked them. We liked the sensor. The Sony sensor was the BIG deal.)

We decided to let a company called Aerotas help us implement a program. It has been successful. It is built around Pix4D, and utilizes a DJI Phantom 4. About a month later, the P4 Pro became available, and I really wish we had that system, but you have to pull the trigger at some point, and I was not aware of the DJI product cycle at the time. Lesson learned. The Pro's sensor compares well with the Sitescan Sensor. (Not 100% equivalent, of course.)

When Best Buy got rid of their Solo Stock, I purchased one. I got a screaming deal. The store I went to could not sell them for $299, so I ended up with a Solo, 2 batteries, a gimbal, and a used Hero4 with an extra battery for $379 before tax. (GoPro was private party.)

Opinions:

After using the P4 and the Solo, I am glad that we purchased the P4. The GPS issues with the Solo make it a toy, in my opinion. A powerful, fun, tinkering type of toy. Yes, people have used Solo to map and make money, I am not putting you down, or your system, but our expertise is NOT tinkering with UASs, we need it to just work. Yes, it is a Rev A. But, from what I read here Rev B is a bit of a gamble as well. Out of the box the performance is unacceptable. Perhaps the Sitescan systems have a different board? I would like to know if anyone has information on that. I know I will get flamed for this paragraph, but it is what I observe. I would have been horrified to have recommended the Solo, and then had the performance that I have observed. We would have never have actually used this system. Too risky.

The Phantom 4 works flawlessly. The imagery is better than a GoPro, of course, but no where near what Sitescan and the Sony system can offer. I WANT the Sony system...and of course the sony sensor (not the lens system) was implemented on the P4 as the P4 Pro soon after our purchase. The Phantom 4 sensor combined with Pix4D is meeting expectations. (Thank you to Aerotas for getting us up and running.)

My experience with Solo has left me very grateful that we did not purchase one. The tech of the UAS is about 2 generations old, combined with the best Sony sensor available. The sensor is key, but my experience with GPS lock failures and such have convinced me that the Solo would have been a mistake. Unless there is an upgrade to the GPS board and software for the Solos used in the Sitescan program, I cannot imagine using it in a suburban environment.

I think the P4 Pro has made the Solo Sitescan system obsolete. Sitescan is proprietary. That is true vertically, horizontally, in every way. The Solo seems to essentially be a toy at this point. Yes, guys on the cutting edge have been making money mapping with Solo for a long time, but when it crashes into something, our corporate environment does not want to be explaining how we modified the GPS board to make it work.

Wish list:
A GPS upgrade from 3dr.
Maybe even an approved 3rd party upgrade that snaps onto the existing GPS cover?

Sell the Sony gimbal and sensor standalone. (If they even sold it at cost or at a loss, there are so many cheap Solo's out there that their new bread and butter Sitescan would greatly increase in subscriptions, if the GPS could be worked out.)

Continue to offer updates to Solo firmware, apps, etc.
Having a useful Solo and supporting it is an important marketing aspect. When I discovered in Decemeber that they system they were attempting to sell me had zero support and development ongoing, I had no option to move forward.

I WANTED to work with an American company that was fully integrated into ACAD. I could not push my company into the Solo platform. I wanted to, but I couldn't. My experience with my Best Buy toy has confirmed my decision.

I know I will get flamed, but I am interested in the conversation...
 
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As the first comment, I intend to mod and fly Solo as a hobby. I am NOT anti Solo. I just wanted to provide feedback for people considering their options for mapping systems. I could be wrong, I hope I am.
 
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Your assessment of the GPS is absolutely correct. 3DR (mainly one person, the CEO) forced the pile of garbage upon it and pretty much ruined it for anyone with even moderate expectations of a $1400 advanced product.
 
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Agreed. The mRo upgrade is well worth the money spent if you want to make it more reliable along the GPS lines. IMO the Pixhawk FC is far and away a better FC than any of the Naza offerings.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 
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dmyhill,

Thanks for the writeup. I'm not in the survey business, my business using Solo offers everything I need. Every one of my customers have been in awe with the shots and photography they pay me for.
I've been a solo owner/flyer since solo came out. My fleet has over 600 flights with zero GPS problems. I've flown all over the US from Seattle, Montana, New England to Florida.

You got a killer deal for your hobby setup compared to the many who have had one from the start.

Your continued input is welcomed from the old timers.
 
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dmyhill,

Thanks for the writeup. I'm not in the survey business, my business using Solo offers everything I need. Every one of my customers have been in awe with the shots and photography they pay me for.
I've been a solo owner/flyer since solo came out. My fleet has over 600 flights with zero GPS problems. I've flown all over the US from Seattle, Montana, New England to Florida.

You got a killer deal for your hobby setup compared to the many who have had one from the start.

Your continued input is welcomed from the old timers.


I acknowledge that many have had great results, and made money off the platform. I did get a great deal. I think even with an $80 dollar board it will be a good deal.

I was wondering if there was a plug and play implementation of one of those GPS "pucks" that you see advertised. I am a full on new guy at this, but I do have some understanding of the basics of GPS, and if the antenna was above the battery, it would have a better view of the sky. Perhaps a mast, but I was wondering if there was clearance maybe it would work just velcro'ed on top of the GPS cover, or the battery.
 
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Honestly, the mRo god upgrade takes about 10 minutes to do and expands you from the U.S GPS system to also receiving the Glonass (Russian) and Galileo (EU).

I'll be interested to follow your foray into this field.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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I am in photogrammetry also except I am a developer. Couple years ago, I came to same conclusion and made the same recommendation to my clients. That said, after two years with dji products, we are moving back to APM, more precisely pixhawk platform. Granted, moving to APM means moving towards customized UAVs which against my clients desired for RTF solutions. We reported a drift issue to dji and they confirmed in the developer forum almost two years ago. They have not corrected this issue even in their upcoming SDK 4.0.

For photogrammetry to work, precision flight path is more critical than camera resolution, we need the UAV yaws certain degrees while tilting the camera to certain angles. The callback design of dji SDK makes the timing coordination tricky and uncontrollable.

About a year ago, we did a face recognition project. As usual, we started the prototype with our APM platform, the proof of concept was completed in about a month and accepted by the client.During the migration to dji phase, we encountered so many issues, we had to reduce the scope of the delivery. In postmortem session, we concluded the closed dji SDK and dji business focus are issues. We were basically unpaid dji SDK developer by finding the bugs and providing work around.

My client preferred RTF UAVs not because of cost. They want to avoid airworthiness issue. It is a risk management issue and FAA regulations issue that I don't have the answer.


Anyway, the reason I posted is, when you use dji UAV for photogrammetry project, do you need to use additional manual flight in data acquisition.
 
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Background:
I am a land surveyor, and I am implementing a sUAS and photogrammetry program with the goal of providing a sUAS for each crew as another tool in their toolbox. We are 100% Autodesk (ACAD) Civil 3D, so 3dr's Sitescan seemed like the perfect fit. We were about to pull the trigger when they imploded, and it became apparent that while they had warehouses with Solo's in them, they were no longer a robotics company, but a software and service company, or at least that was where they were headed. For the price point, we determined that being a guinea pig for a startup was not where we wanted to go. (If that seems harsh, I apologize. The guys we talked to were professional, helpful, and we liked them. We liked the sensor. The Sony sensor was the BIG deal.)

We decided to let a company called Aerotas help us implement a program. It has been successful. It is built around Pix4D, and utilizes a DJI Phantom 4. About a month later, the P4 Pro became available, and I really wish we had that system, but you have to pull the trigger at some point, and I was not aware of the DJI product cycle at the time. Lesson learned. The Pro's sensor compares well with the Sitescan Sensor. (Not 100% equivalent, of course.)

When Best Buy got rid of their Solo Stock, I purchased one. I got a screaming deal. The store I went to could not sell them for $299, so I ended up with a Solo, 2 batteries, a gimbal, and a used Hero4 with an extra battery for $379 before tax. (GoPro was private party.)

Opinions:

After using the P4 and the Solo, I am glad that we purchased the P4. The GPS issues with the Solo make it a toy, in my opinion. A powerful, fun, tinkering type of toy. Yes, people have used Solo to map and make money, I am not putting you down, or your system, but our expertise is NOT tinkering with UASs, we need it to just work. Yes, it is a Rev A. But, from what I read here Rev B is a bit of a gamble as well. Out of the box the performance is unacceptable. Perhaps the Sitescan systems have a different board? I would like to know if anyone has information on that. I know I will get flamed for this paragraph, but it is what I observe. I would have been horrified to have recommended the Solo, and then had the performance that I have observed. We would have never have actually used this system. Too risky.

The Phantom 4 works flawlessly. The imagery is better than a GoPro, of course, but no where near what Sitescan and the Sony system can offer. I WANT the Sony system...and of course the sony sensor (not the lens system) was implemented on the P4 as the P4 Pro soon after our purchase. The Phantom 4 sensor combined with Pix4D is meeting expectations. (Thank you to Aerotas for getting us up and running.)

My experience with Solo has left me very grateful that we did not purchase one. The tech of the UAS is about 2 generations old, combined with the best Sony sensor available. The sensor is key, but my experience with GPS lock failures and such have convinced me that the Solo would have been a mistake. Unless there is an upgrade to the GPS board and software for the Solos used in the Sitescan program, I cannot imagine using it in a suburban environment.

I think the P4 Pro has made the Solo Sitescan system obsolete. Sitescan is proprietary. That is true vertically, horizontally, in every way. The Solo seems to essentially be a toy at this point. Yes, guys on the cutting edge have been making money mapping with Solo for a long time, but when it crashes into something, our corporate environment does not want to be explaining how we modified the GPS board to make it work.

Wish list:
A GPS upgrade from 3dr.
Maybe even an approved 3rd party upgrade that snaps onto the existing GPS cover?

Sell the Sony gimbal and sensor standalone. (If they even sold it at cost or at a loss, there are so many cheap Solo's out there that their new bread and butter Sitescan would greatly increase in subscriptions, if the GPS could be worked out.)

Continue to offer updates to Solo firmware, apps, etc.
Having a useful Solo and supporting it is an important marketing aspect. When I discovered in Decemeber that they system they were attempting to sell me had zero support and development ongoing, I had no option to move forward.

I WANTED to work with an American company that was fully integrated into ACAD. I could not push my company into the Solo platform. I wanted to, but I couldn't. My experience with my Best Buy toy has confirmed my decision.

I know I will get flamed, but I am interested in the conversation...

Convince a big gold mine /construction company to procure 2x complete site scan systems.

Used 2x with not even a issue as described .

Prior to that- was using a solo with GoPro for over 12months without any upgrade

Can share .

Support form the paid premier 3DR support is second to none. Our Non geo location was not a issue either




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Site Scan has an upgraded gps. I had 18 sats while flying the one we have at work. Still had a touch of wander in the lines but your going to have that in units of this size if you don't upgrade to am rtk type system.
 
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Site Scan has an upgraded gps. I had 18 sats while flying the one we have at work. Still had a touch of wander in the lines but your going to have that in units of this size if you don't upgrade to am rtk type system.

Does your work have any spare sitescan motorpods? Or should you have an opportunity to remove a motorpod from the sitescan solo, it would be beneficial to see if there are any obvious differences. There is apparently one capacitor that was added or upgraded.
 
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I will have to look. I haven't looked too close myself but my boss mentioned he looked at the outside and it looked the same.
 
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Background:
I am a land surveyor, and I am implementing a sUAS and photogrammetry program with the goal of providing a sUAS for each crew as another tool in their toolbox. We are 100% Autodesk (ACAD) Civil 3D, so 3dr's Sitescan seemed like the perfect fit. We were about to pull the trigger when they imploded, and it became apparent that while they had warehouses with Solo's in them, they were no longer a robotics company, but a software and service company, or at least that was where they were headed. For the price point, we determined that being a guinea pig for a startup was not where we wanted to go. (If that seems harsh, I apologize. The guys we talked to were professional, helpful, and we liked them. We liked the sensor. The Sony sensor was the BIG deal.)

We decided to let a company called Aerotas help us implement a program. It has been successful. It is built around Pix4D, and utilizes a DJI Phantom 4. About a month later, the P4 Pro became available, and I really wish we had that system, but you have to pull the trigger at some point, and I was not aware of the DJI product cycle at the time. Lesson learned. The Pro's sensor compares well with the Sitescan Sensor. (Not 100% equivalent, of course.)

When Best Buy got rid of their Solo Stock, I purchased one. I got a screaming deal. The store I went to could not sell them for $299, so I ended up with a Solo, 2 batteries, a gimbal, and a used Hero4 with an extra battery for $379 before tax. (GoPro was private party.)

Opinions:

After using the P4 and the Solo, I am glad that we purchased the P4. The GPS issues with the Solo make it a toy, in my opinion. A powerful, fun, tinkering type of toy. Yes, people have used Solo to map and make money, I am not putting you down, or your system, but our expertise is NOT tinkering with UASs, we need it to just work. Yes, it is a Rev A. But, from what I read here Rev B is a bit of a gamble as well. Out of the box the performance is unacceptable. Perhaps the Sitescan systems have a different board? I would like to know if anyone has information on that. I know I will get flamed for this paragraph, but it is what I observe. I would have been horrified to have recommended the Solo, and then had the performance that I have observed. We would have never have actually used this system. Too risky.

The Phantom 4 works flawlessly. The imagery is better than a GoPro, of course, but no where near what Sitescan and the Sony system can offer. I WANT the Sony system...and of course the sony sensor (not the lens system) was implemented on the P4 as the P4 Pro soon after our purchase. The Phantom 4 sensor combined with Pix4D is meeting expectations. (Thank you to Aerotas for getting us up and running.)

My experience with Solo has left me very grateful that we did not purchase one. The tech of the UAS is about 2 generations old, combined with the best Sony sensor available. The sensor is key, but my experience with GPS lock failures and such have convinced me that the Solo would have been a mistake. Unless there is an upgrade to the GPS board and software for the Solos used in the Sitescan program, I cannot imagine using it in a suburban environment.

I think the P4 Pro has made the Solo Sitescan system obsolete. Sitescan is proprietary. That is true vertically, horizontally, in every way. The Solo seems to essentially be a toy at this point. Yes, guys on the cutting edge have been making money mapping with Solo for a long time, but when it crashes into something, our corporate environment does not want to be explaining how we modified the GPS board to make it work.

Wish list:
A GPS upgrade from 3dr.
Maybe even an approved 3rd party upgrade that snaps onto the existing GPS cover?

Sell the Sony gimbal and sensor standalone. (If they even sold it at cost or at a loss, there are so many cheap Solo's out there that their new bread and butter Sitescan would greatly increase in subscriptions, if the GPS could be worked out.)

Continue to offer updates to Solo firmware, apps, etc.
Having a useful Solo and supporting it is an important marketing aspect. When I discovered in Decemeber that they system they were attempting to sell me had zero support and development ongoing, I had no option to move forward.

I WANTED to work with an American company that was fully integrated into ACAD. I could not push my company into the Solo platform. I wanted to, but I couldn't. My experience with my Best Buy toy has confirmed my decision.

I know I will get flamed, but I am interested in the conversation...

"Flamed?" So here's some conversation...

First...what was this post all about, bottomline? Unless you are flying a DJI Inspire, doesn't that little phantom look at least a bit toy like? You now know that you are an Autodesk expert and not a UAV expert....that was a good thing you got your firm some consulting help.
You also likely surmised that the ChiCom DJI product line/SDK has as much stolen code in it as their developers can ferret out of the open system developer sites all over the world. I'm with the other guys in this group - OPEN SYSTEMS from FREE PEOPLE developers...= the future of sUAS
I got on board with 3DR when I bought an Iris+ and have been impressed ever since. Wind-tunnel tested airframes and well functioning open source software that turned a novelty item (multi-copter) into a useable tool. And the Solo, with the Solex or Tower apps, makes a great tool, albeit one that takes skill to master. Too bad 3DRs management made the decisions they did...but that's history. And that's my perspective/opinion...we all got one.

Now, DJI is not the only game in town....IdeaFly is cranking out Pixhawk-powered multicopters from Shenzhen (ShenZhen Idea-fly Technology Co., Ltd) ...making our point that the sUAS biz will be well-served by Pixhawk and Pixhawk-2 FMS' in the future. I don't see any reason a startup can't take the 3DR and IdeaFly designs and start making some good product in San Diego or Austin under license...start as a parts supplier, like 3DR did way back when. IMHO, the Shenzen crowd doesn't play on a level-playing field...so there's that.

btw: did you ever notice that it seems like most of the "drones" flying illegally in controlled airspace are DJI phantoms either on a fly-away or being piloted by guys who are too stupid to know better? The new client I have said the US EPA came out one day with their little Phantom ("to do an inspection") and promptly crashed into the company's equipment....without operator input.....geez.
At any rate, the FAA could take their usual precision approach to regulation and ground all Phantoms flying commercially due to "lack of confidence in the software safety of the Naze FMS used by DJI." And then were would DJI be? This is not a far-fetched possibility...the Part 107 system will eventually have links back to Part 23, aircraft airworthiness standards.

Conversation end.
 
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yeah I totally expect the FAA to start setting standards on flight controllers and avionics
I suspect the PH2 would hold up pretty well, I don't know enough about the NAZ to comment
 
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Its coming....btw, software safety of an open system and making a statement about the enormous number of flight hours the PH has with just colleges and universities - was all info I put into my Sect 333 proposal.
 
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To my knowledge, the pixhawk with Arducopter is the only commonly available flight controller and firmware that supports ADB-B based avoidance of equipped manned aircraft. That should be a huge win as far as the FAA is concerned.
 
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Yessir! Just look over the UAVionics website. Rich capability all plug-and-play into the PH FMS. Now, how long will it be before their product secrets and code is stolen by employees on H1B Visa's? Just asking...
An H1B Visa holder from China stole all my son's code work at a GeoSeismic exploration firm here in Houston and he (my son) eventually got pushed out by the supervisor who hired said criminal, the supervisor being an unassimilated Chinese immigrant. There, I said it.
 

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