Use 3DR Solo for advanced mapping

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#1
Guys,
I have a solo drone. Didn't buy a Go Pro yet or a Gimbal. I need to use solo for mapping. Here are my basic requirements.
  1. Calculate distance between 2 points.
  2. Calculate area of a selected section. (like area of a forest which hard to measure by ground)
  3. Height of a pile of sand and rocks (Like small mountains)
Since I'm new to Solo drone, i don't know what are the cameras and applications are suitable for this. I got GitUp Git2 camera and Firefly 6s camera which I borrowed from a friend to test. Since i only use Solo for mapping, do I need a Gimbal ? Can I take mapping quality photos using above mentioned cameras ?

And for the application, I saw this : GitHub - OpenDroneMap/OpenDroneMap: OpenDroneMap is a tool to postprocess drone, balloon, kite, and street view data to geographic data including orthophotos, point clouds, & textured mesh. In the tradition of the Ship of Theseus, it was originally forked from qwesda/BundlerTools https://github.com/qwesda/BundlerTools.
Can this work with photos taken by solo ?
And are there any applications to fulfill above tasks ?
Do I need a Gopro and a Gimbal ?

Please help me on this.
 
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#2
Hello guys,
3DR is a mapping drone other than any drone.
But no reply.
No one is doing mapping using this ?
Please help me.
 
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#3
Hello guys,
3DR is a mapping drone other than any drone.
But no reply.
No one is doing mapping using this ?
Please help me.
Hi there, the 3DR solo was a commercial drone, it was only when 3DR went bankrupt that they shifted their entire focus to mapping services. If you're interesting in the mapping services you should contact 3DR directly, they can supply the services you need and charge you accordingly..

It sounds like you may not have much experience in this area and what you're asking is for people to spend quite a lot of time teaching you how to use mapping products, how to convert your drone to a proper mapping/survey drone. What camera's you'll need, how to install them, print off the adapters that you'll need for mounting them, how to wire them, how to export the images and combine them to use for mapping data, what programs to use and how to use them............ obviously no one is jumping on the bandwagon here because that's more time than most people have.

If you're interested in "learning" about using the solo for mapping, try searching the forums for the information you require, there are plenty of threads about this and you'll be able to find out a lot of information on your own. I'm also interested in using my solo for mapping and surveying and I started by searching these forums also. That's where I'm getting most of my info and I ask questions if I need clarification on anything.

Good Luck!
 
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#4
The Solo was designed for videography where film makers are filming short sequences. With it's short flight time it is limited for other uses. So it depends on the area that you need to map. Second, to calculate areas or distances your images must not be distorted by a fisheye lens which the cameras you noted and most all cheap sports cameras have. Third you must have a real reference to measure from which requires geo tagging your images to know where they were taken and the scale. Taking the tagged images and creating a geo-referenced map is complicated and many people use software 10 times more expensive than a Solo to do it.

So you can do it but it is not ideal for that purpose and you have some major research to do as mentioned by the Irishman.
 
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#5
Hi there, the 3DR solo was a commercial drone, it was only when 3DR went bankrupt that they shifted their entire focus to mapping services. If you're interesting in the mapping services you should contact 3DR directly, they can supply the services you need and charge you accordingly..

It sounds like you may not have much experience in this area and what you're asking is for people to spent quite a lot of time teaching you how to use mapping products, how to convert your drone to a proper mapping/survey drone. What camera's you'll need, how to install them, print off the adapters that you'll need for mounting them, how to wire them, how to export the images and combine them to use for mapping data, what programs to use and how to use them............ obviously no one is jumping on the bandwagon here because that's more time than most people have.

If you're interested in "learning" about using the solo for mapping, try searching the forums for the information you require, there are plenty of threads about this and you'll be able to find out a lot of information on your own. I'm also interested in using my solo for mapping and surveying and I started by searching these forums also. That's where I'm getting most of my info and I ask questions if I need clarification on anything.

Good Luck!
Thanks buddy. I did search a lot and lot. I got many solutions.
I think i can use GitHub - OpenDroneMap/OpenDroneMap: OpenDroneMap is a tool to postprocess drone, balloon, kite, and street view data to geographic data including orthophotos, point clouds, & textured mesh. In the tradition of the Ship of Theseus, it was originally forked from qwesda/BundlerTools https://github.com/qwesda/BundlerTools. for creating my mapping.
And also for geo tagging, i'm gonna use Description this.
I know i asked a lot. Actually i wanted to get to know about real software to use at all.
I'm a software engineer by profession and have enough knowledge to use these systems.
Specially I was confused between Mission planner and Solex app. And finally i'm planning to go with Solex app.
If you have some free time and if you are doing, please tell me what are the applications you are using for following tasks :

1. To automate the flight and take all the images of selected area. ( my choice Solex)
2. If no geo tag by default, what is the app u are using to add geo location. (my choice : geosetter)
3. What is the app u are using to create the map or 3D model ? ( my choice : OpenDroneMap)
 
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#7
Thanks buddy. I did search a lot and lot. I got many solutions.
I think i can use GitHub - OpenDroneMap/OpenDroneMap: OpenDroneMap is a tool to postprocess drone, balloon, kite, and street view data to geographic data including orthophotos, point clouds, & textured mesh. In the tradition of the Ship of Theseus, it was originally forked from qwesda/BundlerTools https://github.com/qwesda/BundlerTools. for creating my mapping.
And also for geo tagging, i'm gonna use Description this.
I know i asked a lot. Actually i wanted to get to know about real software to use at all.
I'm a software engineer by profession and have enough knowledge to use these systems.
Specially I was confused between Mission planner and Solex app. And finally i'm planning to go with Solex app.
If you have some free time and if you are doing, please tell me what are the applications you are using for following tasks :

1. To automate the flight and take all the images of selected area. ( my choice Solex)
2. If no geo tag by default, what is the app u are using to add geo location. (my choice : geosetter)
3. What is the app u are using to create the map or 3D model ? ( my choice : OpenDroneMap)
1: Solex can be used with the mission planner add on, and I believe Kelly is constantly improving this software, so it may be worth taking a look at, I use it and I'm enjoying learning the ins and outs. However there isn't a lot of training material for it so you have to kinda dive in and get comfy with it yourself.
2: Solex now has an additional purchase for geotagging images. May be worth your while as it would mean using the same program to geotag images rather than having to export them to another program to perform this function.
3: I don't know how much faith I have in programs building 3d images from photo's alone. What I have seen on the forums are people who are using multi camera setups or even a Lidar assist. It may be worth checking out those if you're comfy with tinkering with your drone.

Speaking of which, what upgrades have you done with your drone at the moment? Whats the approx area you're intending to survey?
 
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#8
I have successfully used a Hero4 Silver Mission Planner and OpenDroneMap to create both hi-res maps as well as 3d models.

The images must be flattened and geotagged

That said I think GoPro cameras suck. I will be looking at other mapping cameras in the coming months.

Good luck
 
Likes: chanu1993
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#9
Your original post is a very loaded question and difficult to answer. You must understand that the drone is only used to collect the imagery and not used to process or analyze the data. Opendronemap does the processing and analyzing of the data. I sat in on a conference session of a opendronemap developer and was impressed but they required ubuntu at the time and I didn't have a spare computer.

As others have said, the action cams are not the best choice for mapping projects although some of the post processing softwares can handle the fisheye distortion.

Your first two questions about obtaining measurements are really GIS questions more than a Solo question. The measurements are easily obtained with a GIS program, such as, QGIS (free) or Arcmap (very expensive). If you are wanting to use Arcmap for fun or educational you can buy the full version for $100 per year instead of a thousands.

Note: Focus on collecting your data first.

For determining volume, this can also be done in the GIS programs but becomes more complicated. Typically, volumes are able to be found because the data is in the form of a digital elevation model (DEM) and usually collected by using aircraft and lidar. Recently, photogrammatrist have developed solutions to allow this data to be accurately obtained without using lidar.

You do not necessarily need to geotag photos to stitch them together it just makes stitching easier. Once they are combined you can upload the image to the GIS and georeference by hand using predefined reference point coordinates (most accurate) or common locations like the corner of roads or buildings.

If you want a much simpler process there are many programs that automate the process but you quickly go broke.

For mapping I will personally be using a Diy pixhawk with Canon sx260hs, although this is quickly becoming outdated. As Mike_Kelly said, the Solo is really designed for video.

All that being said you could connect your camera using the static mount facing downward and set your camera to take pictures continuously. Use your solex or mission planner to upload the mission to Solo and go. This should give you the images you need to get started with mapping.
 
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#10
I have successfully used a Hero4 Silver Mission Planner and OpenDroneMap to create both hi-res maps as well as 3d models.

The images must be flattened and geotagged

That said I think GoPro cameras suck. I will be looking at other mapping cameras in the coming months.

Good luck
A Canon S110 is somewhat reasonably good.
 
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#11
1: Solex can be used with the mission planner add on, and I believe Kelly is constantly improving this software, so it may be worth taking a look at, I use it and I'm enjoying learning the ins and outs. However there isn't a lot of training material for it so you have to kinda dive in and get comfy with it yourself.
2: Solex now has an additional purchase for geotagging images. May be worth your while as it would mean using the same program to geotag images rather than having to export them to another program to perform this function.
3: I don't know how much faith I have in programs building 3d images from photo's alone. What I have seen on the forums are people who are using multi camera setups or even a Lidar assist. It may be worth checking out those if you're comfy with tinkering with your drone.

Speaking of which, what upgrades have you done with your drone at the moment? Whats the approx area you're intending to survey?
Hey buddy,
Thanks for the reply. So I think Solex is matching for my requirements.
And about the upgrades, nothing much. I have a non gropro camera and also these days looking for a mount for camera. And i have 2 extra batteries. :)
 
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#13
I have successfully used a Hero4 Silver Mission Planner and OpenDroneMap to create both hi-res maps as well as 3d models.

The images must be flattened and geotagged

That said I think GoPro cameras suck. I will be looking at other mapping cameras in the coming months.

Good luck
hey buddy, Mission planner is ok. But we need to have additiaonal board to connect with drone.. no ?
So Solex will work for me.
And you said "The images must be flattened and geotagged". Are you using any kind of application to do this ?
 
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#14
Your original post is a very loaded question and difficult to answer. You must understand that the drone is only used to collect the imagery and not used to process or analyze the data. Opendronemap does the processing and analyzing of the data. I sat in on a conference session of a opendronemap developer and was impressed but they required ubuntu at the time and I didn't have a spare computer.

As others have said, the action cams are not the best choice for mapping projects although some of the post processing softwares can handle the fisheye distortion.

Your first two questions about obtaining measurements are really GIS questions more than a Solo question. The measurements are easily obtained with a GIS program, such as, QGIS (free) or Arcmap (very expensive). If you are wanting to use Arcmap for fun or educational you can buy the full version for $100 per year instead of a thousands.

Note: Focus on collecting your data first.

For determining volume, this can also be done in the GIS programs but becomes more complicated. Typically, volumes are able to be found because the data is in the form of a digital elevation model (DEM) and usually collected by using aircraft and lidar. Recently, photogramatrist have developed solutions to allow this data to be accurately obtained without using lidar.

You do not necessarily need to geotag photos to stitch them together it just makes stitching easier. Once they are combined you can upload the image to the GIS and georeference by hand using predefined reference point coordinates (most accurate) or common locations like the corner of roads or buildings.

If you want a much simpler process there are many programs that automate the process but you quickly go broke.

For mapping I will personally be using a Diy pixhawk with Canon sx260hs, although this is quickly becoming outdated. As Mike_Kelly said, the Solo is really designed for video.

All that being said you could connect your camera using the static mount facing downward and set your camera to take pictures continuously. Use your solex or mission planner to upload the mission to Solo and go. This should give you the images you need to get started with mapping.
Thanks brother. Your answer is so clear and well documented. I got a good idea on what i'm going to do.

Since I'm a Linux user, I can use opendronemap easily and I almost done with installing that into my cloud server. Have some issues. Need to fix them. :)

I also have a Sony digital Camera and also Canon DSLR. So I think I can use Sony Model G digital camera with a static mount. All I need to do is 3D print or buy one. Will do some search.

To use opendronemap, i think we must need to geo tag images. No ? It's nice to hear that QGIS doesn't need geo tagging. I will give that a try.

So this is my final tool kit.
Solex app for planning my mission and take geo tagging images if needed. when using Solex, we don't want to use pixhawk board. No ? So Solex is easy for me.
And opendronemap or QGIS for image processing part and generate map. opendronemap has some nice feature to generate 3D models.
And non fish eye action camera (Gitup git2 ) or my Sony digital camera for taking images.
Please if you have some time, let me know if I have done any mistake brother. :)
 
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#16
Thanks brother. Your answer is so clear and well documented. I got a good idea on what i'm going to do.

Since I'm a Linux user, I can use opendronemap easily and I almost done with installing that into my cloud server. Have some issues. Need to fix them. :)

I also have a Sony digital Camera and also Canon DSLR. So I think I can use Sony Model G digital camera with a static mount. All I need to do is 3D print or buy one. Will do some search.

To use opendronemap, i think we must need to geo tag images. No ? It's nice to hear that QGIS doesn't need geo tagging. I will give that a try.

So this is my final tool kit.
Solex app for planning my mission and take geo tagging images if needed. when using Solex, we don't want to use pixhawk board. No ? So Solex is easy for me.
And opendronemap or QGIS for image processing part and generate map. opendronemap has some nice feature to generate 3D models.
And non fish eye action camera (Gitup git2 ) or my Sony digital camera for taking images.
Please if you have some time, let me know if I have done any mistake brother. :)
You will be using open Drone map for image processing and QGIS for image analysis and georefeeencing the final image. I'm not sure if open Drone map georeferences. It might get really close if the photos are geotagged. Check out arducopter as there is info on some image processing software and one of them is free and doesn't require geotagging but does require having the image order defined. Geotagging just gets the images close to the right order.

As far as pixhawk, Solo is using the Pixhawk 2. I was referring to some diy drones I have that are Pixhawk and can be used to trigger some cameras to include Canon or you can use an intervalometer script loaded on the cameras.

The cameras you referenced should work as long as you can make them take pictures continuously and mount it to the Solo. The Canons s110, s110, sx260hs and a few others are popular because you can load CDHK and they have a built in GPS to geotagged photos. And they are cheap on ebay. IMP Concepts makes mounts for them too. Check it out.

Definitely check out arducopter'section on cameras. Some of this info will apply to you.
 
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#17
Check out some youtube video's by MAPIR. Show you how to do many of the things you're asking about. They also make mapping cameras, and have a 4 camera array specifically made for solo

MAPIR Camera
 
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#18
I don't know how much time you spent on your "research". So far, you had not mentioned photoscan nor photogrammetry. Please google those terms.
 
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#19
I currently use my Solo for mapping. I use Tower Beta for autonomous control, DroneDeploy to stitch my maps and Mapir 3 cameras (they now have GPS). I generally use this setup for NDVI mapping of my 80 acres of blueberries but you can use it for just about any type of mapping you need. There is lots of information on how to do this at the Mapir website. MAPIR CAMERA
 
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#20
I don't know how much time you spent on your "research". So far, you had not mentioned photoscan nor photogrammetry. Please google those terms.
so u spent how much time reading through just to criticize someone? That seems more of a waste of time, when maybe you could have provided links or information that added t o the conversation
 

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