Looking for OFFLINE mapping solution that allows for RAW Capture.

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#1
I work in very remote locations, without cell service and thus no internet (think oil drilling operations). I need to be able to create mapping missions while on-site. Client also request RAW images (this is not negotiable). Before you say, "why do you need raw images for mapping?" or "you only need .jpg" this only tells me you didn't read the comment about it being non-negotiable.

I've been using Litchi, problem is I can't program this in the field. I have to do it before hand when I have to idea what the actual site looks like. (Often times I only get a GPS coordinate in a field). I do often edit my litchi missions with Excel, which I find is a great way to do it since their tablet interface is atrocious. Only problem is getting the mission from the CSV file into an actual Litchi Mission, this requires an internet connection to import the CSV to a mission.

DJI GSPro: Great app, does everything I need except the offline loading of maps (without at least some kind of base map I have no scale) and ability to capture RAW images (even with X7). Love the offset missions for obliques, love the ability to walk the site with drone and "set corners" of map. Need a better way of duplicating missions, without editing existing. (I want to fly nadir, -60 degrees, and -30 degrees gimbal pitches of same map, from 3 different directions). Also love that it will stop drone and take picture at each waypoint (this is almost essential with RAW capture, because it takes about 5 sec between shots anyway).

Maps Made Easy: allows for RAW capture, but only at altitudes greater than 130' (all b/c it won't stop and snap the picture, it wants to remain in constant motion). My missions must be flown at about 30' and 45' and 60'.

Drone Deploy: Love this app, use it all the time, just not anything that will work for these types of jobs at all. Plus, not offline. No RAW capture, 66' is lowest you can go.

DroneHarmony: I am looking into this app, I just need to get a better Android tablet. (who uses Android?)

Also, I'd like to use the Crystal Sky for these missions but I can suffer through with an iPad.
 
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#2
Hi,

Can't modern smartphones create WIFI networks. So you use the internet connection from this WIFI network?

Have you contacted the companies, they maybe be able to help. I remember seeing a video about mapping rice fields in Vietnam. Not sure how they transferred the data.

Hope this helps.
 

Meta4

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#3
Client also request RAW images (this is not negotiable). Before you say, "why do you need raw images for mapping?" or "you only need .jpg" this only tells me you didn't read the comment about it being non-negotiable.
No solution but a few comments.
I read it but I think your client doesn't know what they are talking about.
  • Hardly any mapping apps capture in Raw because of:
  • The time taken to write the bigger files would mean the drone can only fly slowly and cover much less ground [er battery
  • The file sizes of a composite orthophoto would be gigantic (does any mapping software even handle raw image formats?)
  • No-one needs to use raw images when creating orthophotos anyway. It's pointless when you get more detail than you need from jpg files.
I've been using Litchi, problem is I can't program this in the field.
Litchi for mapping? That sounds clunky.
My missions must be flown at about 30' and 45' and 60'.
How big are your sites? Are you just mapping individual wellpads?
At such low heights, there is too much change between adjacent images. You would only move the drone very short distances between shots.
Mapping from such low altitudes introduces more problems than it's worth.
Drone Deploy: Love this app, use it all the time, just not anything that will work for these types of jobs at all. Plus, not offline. No RAW capture, 66' is lowest you can go.
It's a great app and does have an offline option.
If you could get the survey area as a shape file you can just import that.
DroneHarmony: I am looking into this app, I just need to get a better Android tablet. (who uses Android?)
Also, I'd like to use the Crystal Sky for these missions but I can suffer through with an iPad.
Crystalsky has serious limitations with 3rd party apps (you can't use them) but if you are shopping for a good Android tablet, look at the Huawei M3 or M5 (either one works just as well).
They are probably the best flying tablets on the market.
 

Meta4

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#4
Can't modern smartphones create WIFI networks. So you use the internet connection from this WIFI network?
Trying to hotspot from a mobile phone won't do anything if there's no mobile coverage to connect to.
(Read his first sentence again.)
 
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#5
No solution but a few comments.
I read it but I think your client doesn't know what they are talking about.
  • Hardly any mapping apps capture in Raw because of:
  • The time taken to write the bigger files would mean the drone can only fly slowly and cover much less ground [er battery
  • The file sizes of a composite orthophoto would be gigantic (does any mapping software even handle raw image formats?)
  • No-one needs to use raw images when creating orthophotos anyway. It's pointless when you get more detail than you need from jpg files.
I'm capturing images for modeling. Not Mapping. I need mapping missions because trying to catch a 80% overlap by hand gets to be tedious and spotty.

Litchi for mapping? That sounds clunky.
Agreed.

How big are your sites? Are you just mapping individual wellpads?
At such low heights, there is too much change between adjacent images. You would only move the drone very short distances between shots.
Mapping from such low altitudes introduces more problems than it's worth.
We typically will fly differing heights to adjust for the lack of overlap at low altitudes. We calculate overlaps for ground, center of subject, and top of subject ignoring outliers. But you're right, it's a huge PITA.

It's a great app and does have an offline option.
If you could get the survey area as a shape file you can just import that.
I don't even get a shapefile, just a set of GPS coordinates.

Crystalsky has serious limitations with 3rd party apps (you can't use them) but if you are shopping for a good Android tablet, look at the Huawei M3 or M5 (either one works just as well).
They are probably the best flying tablets on the market.
I will definitely check those out, thanks.
 
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#6
I've been here before...when it comes to accurate 3d modeling its not as easy as getting photos good enough to pump out a simple orthomosaic. Capturing raw files has tons of benefits and is recommended by all the professional photogrammetrists that I have studied and discussed this with because of the dynamic range achieved compared to the high contrast and highly compressed jpeg files(shadows can be brightened in post with no consequence to detail, photos with cloud coverage can be corrected to match exposure of photos without, ect.). For some reason thats a concept some pilots will never comprehend. Trying to have complete control of all aspects of your camera and capture raw files while also having terrain following and offline capabilities lead me on a very long search that ended with a program called UgGS. It can handle everything you need but with a few caveats. First the raw capturing is delayed to 10 seconds between pictures to ensure all photos are captured which increases flight time significantly but if you're doing small areas it should be workable. Second, You'll need an android tablet (Huawei m5 and the nvidia shield k1 are probably the best performers and are great but I've even used a nexus 7 2013 without issue) and you'll also need a laptop since ugcs is a pc based program thats linked to the flight controlling app in the tablet over a Wi-Fi connection. I have heard that you can sideload it onto the crystalsky but I have no personal experience with it. I've used all the other apps you listed and still use nothing compares to the control you get with ugcs although there is definitely a bigger learning curve and requiring a laptop, flight control tablet and Wi-Fi hotspot(my phone) does add extra time and equipment for field ops.

On another note...what type of structure are you modelling or is it a site with multiple structures? and does your client dictate your flight planning about wanting a three level grid flight with the nadir,30,60 gimbal angles? With most structures I've gotten better results with a single 80/80 nadir flight and mutiple orbits at differing elevations and gimbal angles but full sites are a different story.
 
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#7
Hi,
I'm CTO of SPH Engineering, developer of UgCS.
I personally used UgCS in places where is no internet like in the middle of Greenland. UgCS should cover all you needs. You can preload maps, elevation data, import your custom imaginery and DEM, 3D objects etc - and use this all stuff when there is no any possibility to connect to Internet.
 
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#11
I've been here before...when it comes to accurate 3d modeling its not as easy as getting photos good enough to pump out a simple orthomosaic. Capturing raw files has tons of benefits and is recommended by all the professional photogrammetrists that I have studied and discussed this with because of the dynamic range achieved compared to the high contrast and highly compressed jpeg files(shadows can be brightened in post with no consequence to detail, photos with cloud coverage can be corrected to match exposure of photos without, ect.). For some reason thats a concept some pilots will never comprehend. Trying to have complete control of all aspects of your camera and capture raw files while also having terrain following and offline capabilities lead me on a very long search that ended with a program called UgGS. It can handle everything you need but with a few caveats. First the raw capturing is delayed to 10 seconds between pictures to ensure all photos are captured which increases flight time significantly but if you're doing small areas it should be workable. Second, You'll need an android tablet (Huawei m5 and the nvidia shield k1 are probably the best performers and are great but I've even used a nexus 7 2013 without issue) and you'll also need a laptop since ugcs is a pc based program thats linked to the flight controlling app in the tablet over a Wi-Fi connection. I have heard that you can sideload it onto the crystalsky but I have no personal experience with it. I've used all the other apps you listed and still use nothing compares to the control you get with ugcs although there is definitely a bigger learning curve and requiring a laptop, flight control tablet and Wi-Fi hotspot(my phone) does add extra time and equipment for field ops.

On another note...what type of structure are you modelling or is it a site with multiple structures? and does your client dictate your flight planning about wanting a three level grid flight with the nadir,30,60 gimbal angles? With most structures I've gotten better results with a single 80/80 nadir flight and mutiple orbits at differing elevations and gimbal angles but full sites are a different story.
Thank You, finally someone who gets it. Whew. I will definitely look into UgCS, I've downloaded the trial and will play with it some. We're typically capturing full industrial setups in the field of things that could include lattice structures, trailers, tanks, complicated piping and tubing structures and more. These are typically spread over an acre or two and with the kind of overlap we're talking about, shooting takes a good while. I really like that DJI GSPro will offset the flight path for the capture of obliques. I don't know of another solution that does this. The client does dictate the flights but we're all just after the best technique. Unfortunately, time is money and we don't get a lot of time to experiment on-site.

In my initial browsing of UgCS, I didn't see an option for the X7 camera and compliment of lenses. Is this something that can be accommodated for?

I reached out to DJI directly for help in unlocking the RAW photos in GS Pro and they said, wait for DJI Terra. Which, after some googling, seems to be haunting the internet with no real understanding of what it is.
 
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#12
I didn't see an option for the X7 camera and compliment of lenses.
Please go to menu, Payloads and here you can add any camera. Second step - browse Profiles menu section, find profile of your drone and add camera to profile.
After that you will be able to use your camera in Photogrammetry tool.
 

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