Agriculture use

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@Andy Ritchie

Check out AgVault. Has mobile and desktop app. Im looking to invest in the Sentera NDVI and AgVault is another one of their products.
Hey pal, thanks for that information, I'll have a look at that, I'm starting to think that I might dedicate one of my 650 quads to this use because they have APM 2.8 FC's in them and I can program loads of different flight modes through the software very easily and quickly! I'll need to start looking into a camera which will do the job so I have been looking at the ones suggested earlier in this thread!
 
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This stuff is truly fascinating. I'm thinking of a quick modd though not sure how to make FPV work.

1. Attach a Raspberry PI NoIR camera to the stock camera of the P3 drone.
2. Use the PI Zero as it is very lightweight.

The only 'puzzles' left to resolve are:

3. Powering the PI Zero directly from the drone (needs 5V)
4. Streaming the camera signal via WIFI, for live FPV

Not a 'clean' solution, but I think fairly doable with minimal cost ~$50.
 
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Has anybody used the Sentera NDVI upgrade for the Phantom series? I have a Phantom 3 Pro, and am very interested in breaking into this market. It seems like a reasonable price for the upgrade, as you get to keep your stock imagery functionality. Definitely seems cheaper than getting a dedicated NDVI drone.
 
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Has anybody used the Sentera NDVI upgrade for the Phantom series? I have a Phantom 3 Pro, and am very interested in breaking into this market. It seems like a reasonable price for the upgrade, as you get to keep your stock imagery functionality. Definitely seems cheaper than getting a dedicated NDVI drone.
I have their single sensor and an Advanced.

I do not use their software/application.

It will do what they claim it will do.
 
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I've got a Phantom 3 Standard, I've managed to do some basic agriculture imaging for small farms using free or low cost tools. You can check plant health with visual images in good light like with rice plants and grape vines but to really see photosynthetic activity, you'll need an NIR camera to get NDVI images. I'm planning to hack an action camera to see NIR and mount it to the back of the Phantom.

I'm using an Android device for drone control and a Windows tablet for data processing. I'm using or plan to try the following tools:

Flight control and mission planning:
  • DroneDeploy - I'm using this now, it allows easy mission planning by setting the area bounds, altitude and coverage overlap on a phone or tablet. The app handles takeoff and landing, waypoint navigation, it takes photos automatically and all I have to do is to keep my finger on the controller RTH toggle for emergencies ;)
  • InFlight Data Mapper - couldn't get it to work with the Phantom 3 Standard.
  • Litchi - I use this if I want to fly waypoints but take pictures manually. It's a good replacement for the DJI Go app. It allows flying to waypoints without having to fly there by hand first, unlike the Go app.

Image stitching
  • Microsoft ICE - free, fast, works on small Windows tablets.
  • Hugin - free, cross platform, but a pain to use if you have a lot of images to stitch together.
  • ImageJ or Fiji - free, cross platform Java application, needs a lot of RAM to process large images.

Orthorectifying
  • I haven't got to this stage yet, most people recommend Pix4D but it's pricey.
  • QGIS and Grass are free open source tools that offer ortho plugins.

GIS
  • I use QGIS with a Grass backend, they're great cross platform tools that run on Linux, Mac and Windows. Lots of plugins too.

NDVI processing
  • It's possible to create NDVI images in Gimp, a free open source image processing program, by combining NIR and visual images by hand.
  • ImageJ/Fiji offers NDVI processing using the Photo Monitoring plugin.
  • DroneDeploy offers a cloud service for NDVI and other formats, just upload the image files to their server and get stitched mosaics, NDVI and point clouds as output. I haven't tried it though.
What else?
 
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Hey pal, that's just the very post it have been waiting for lol! I am hoping to give this a go this year but the cost of the camera and software is far too prohibitive just to try it out. I am not a business and I probably never will be so your post will make it affordable for me to try out and see if I like it!!
Thanks for taking the time to post what you are using!

Sent from my SM-G920F using PhantomPilots mobile app
 
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Thanks! I'm also not doing this as a separate business, it's more of a support tool for the farm. I'm a bit cheap so that's why I went for the P3S :)

With a cheap and small Windows tablet like a Dell Venue 8 Pro, it's even possible to do onsite analysis by copying data from the MicroSD card and running whatever programs you need on the tablet. It's a lot faster than running back to the house to use the PC and then running back out to the paddock to check out any problems.
 
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I have just decided to get rid of my P2 after a crash meant I lost the zenmuse gimbal and gopro hero 3+ camera but I don't have much cash to upgrade. I may have to be left with no other choice than to try and get a P2V so that I can use the 5 batteries and load of spares that I have. The P2V can be connected to Litchi so I will probably be left with no other option than to try and get one of those and see what mischief I can get up to lol!!

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Litchi for P2 is free, I think.

I tried flying at 30 m to do a crop survey over 5 ha, DroneDeploy calculated the resolution to be 1 cm per pixel. It took forever to stitch the photos together and the resulting 200 megapixel images aren't easy to work with either. That kind of detail is fine for architectural surveys but it's overkill for agri images.

I think flying at 100 m altitude gets good enough detail with much shorter flying times. Infrared cameras don't have much resolution either. I don't have a background in remote sensing so I'm making this up as I go along :)
 
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Litchi is free but the P2 doesn't have any software that can be used with it, it's only the P2V and up that has software. This is why I think that I will be able to afford a P2V, they are so old now and folks are more interested in getting a P3 so hopefully I will be able to get one relatively cheap.

Sent from my SM-G920F using PhantomPilots mobile app
 
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I hacked a tiny action camera to see NIR by removing the hot mirror and I mounted it to the back of the Phantom 3. The bird struggles a bit in strong wind from the extra off center mass but it's still a stable platform. I've gotten single image NDVI working, now I need to see how those images tally up with actual crop conditions.
 
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I've switched from Drone Deploy to Litchi because the latter is more stable and I get better pictures. Drone Deploy shoots on the move, that's fine when I'm above 100 m but I get blurry images when I'm near 60 m. The heading also changes as the bird does a zigzag pattern so it makes it harder to stitch images. Drone Deploy also makes it a hassle to repeat missions, the completed flight has to be copied and offline map data downloaded before it can be flown again.

Litchi lets me set a constant heading and gimbal angle at each waypoint so I get clearer images that are pointed in the right direction. The downside is manually having to set individual waypoints instead of just drawing a bounding box like in Drone Deploy. It's possible to draw a path by hand in Litchi and let the app create intermediate waypoints. Litchi waypoint missions are also slower because the bird stops at each waypoint to snap a photo.
 
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I know there is mapping like drone deploy etc. what I need is a good app that will put the grid lines and plots setup. I wish the go app had the waypoint option like the old app had for pv-2+. Anybody using there p3p for ag use?
AgVault is the top app currently. They have a way more efficient ap that give you more control than drone deploy. Plus they have an awesome customer service unlike a lot of these other mapping developers.
 
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Hello Guys, I’m coming to this post a bit late.
Can anyone point me in the direction of where I can buy an NDVI lens for a P3pro in the U.K. Heliguy fit them for £399 but I’d be happy to do it myself if I can buy the lens.
Your help will be much appreciated.
 

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