Offline automated mapping - is there an option that actually works?!

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#1
I'm getting ready to go to Peru to make archaeological survey maps in locations that are far from internet/phone access. I need to have satellite maps visible in the field and to be able to create new missions without an internet connection.

I have spent a lot of time working with offline mapping apps and I haven't found a solution that works both adequately and consistently. Maybe someone has better suggestions. I know of three standalone apps that provide offline mapping. Here has been my experience with each:

Drone Deploy: Works wonderfully if you have internet access and it has an option to download maps for offsite flight. It seems to work fine if I don't turn my tablet off between creating mission and flying it, but I have not had a single successful mission, either with P4 or P3 when I used it the way I will actually need to in the field. The downloaded satellite maps show up now but the the mission either aborts and hovers, fails to take pictures or the app crashes. After one failure the app will not allow you to try again (seems to think you're trying to edit your mission and freezes because it can't find the internet)

Pix4Dcapture: This app works flawlessly every time EXCEPT for being able to consistently see the satellite maps when offline. I have used both the download satellite maps option and the import KML option. When I get out in the field there is about a 50% chance the satellite image actually shows up, or sometimes it is there but with large gaps. This would not be a huge problem except that I will need to tune missions in the field and create new ones based on on-the-ground observations.

Precision Flight: This is a bare bones app that seems to do the job, but with one BIG problem. If I create a mission at home it will fly offline but without satellite map visuals. There is an option to download a satellite map for the region of your mission, which is buggy but can be cajoled into working with multiple retries. BUT after you have downloaded a map, the app crashes immediately upon leaving Wifi access.

Any suggestions or observations?
 
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#2
I've used Maps Made Easy with good success. You can create a number of missions, save them and then recall them once in the field. I never have wifi in the field and rely on these stored maps. Maps several months old are still in the file.
 
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#3
Thanks Richard, unfortuanately we're using Android tablets and I think Maps Made Easy is iOS only (&%$!).
 

Meta4

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#5
Drone Deploy: Works wonderfully if you have internet access and it has an option to download maps for offsite flight. It seems to work fine if I don't turn my tablet off between creating mission and flying it, but I have not had a single successful mission, either with P4 or P3 when I used it the way I will actually need to in the field. The downloaded satellite maps show up now but the the mission either aborts and hovers, fails to take pictures or the app crashes. After one failure the app will not allow you to try again (seems to think you're trying to edit your mission and freezes because it can't find the internet)
DroneDeploy have their own forum which might be a good place to find answers: DroneDeploy Forum
 
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#6
I am looking into a software called ContextCapture by Bentley. It is an expensive software but it seems to be working well. I have requested a trial version to test it out. You can upload all your videos and photos into the software and it will automate an accurate map. It can identify exact elevation and distances by GPS triangulation. But I'm not sure if it would still be able to do that in areas with no internet access.
There is a YouTube video that demos how it works. You can search ContextCapture and it should come up. See if this will work for your application
 
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#7
Check out UgCS, I've been tinkering with it and it looks really solid. Has a bit of a learning curve though.

The offline maps works perfectly for me though. Just gotta get my GPS and ADS-B receivers working with it.
 
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#8
Check out UgCS, I've been tinkering with it and it looks really solid. Has a bit of a learning curve though.

The offline maps works perfectly for me though. Just gotta get my GPS and ADS-B receivers working with it.
Officious, I downloaded the mobile app and it looks like you need to do your actual mission planning in advance on a PC. Is that right? I'm hoping for something that will let me create flightplans from scratch in the field from pre-downloaded satellite maps. Also, it's curious that UgCS doesn't use overlap parameters and requires you to enter either time intervals of distances to trigger photographs.
 
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#9
Hi friends,
I have p3se and I want to plan missions for survey. I want to buy an iOS ipad mini4. I used Android but I have problem of compatibility with the apps like drone deploy and pix4dcapture. Does anyone plan mission and execute normally with p3se?
Thanks
 
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#10
I'm getting ready to go to Peru to make archaeological survey maps in locations that are far from internet/phone access. I need to have satellite maps visible in the field and to be able to create new missions without an internet connection.

I have spent a lot of time working with offline mapping apps and I haven't found a solution that works both adequately and consistently. Maybe someone has better suggestions. I know of three standalone apps that provide offline mapping. Here has been my experience with each:

Drone Deploy: Works wonderfully if you have internet access and it has an option to download maps for offsite flight. It seems to work fine if I don't turn my tablet off between creating mission and flying it, but I have not had a single successful mission, either with P4 or P3 when I used it the way I will actually need to in the field. The downloaded satellite maps show up now but the the mission either aborts and hovers, fails to take pictures or the app crashes. After one failure the app will not allow you to try again (seems to think you're trying to edit your mission and freezes because it can't find the internet)

Pix4Dcapture: This app works flawlessly every time EXCEPT for being able to consistently see the satellite maps when offline. I have used both the download satellite maps option and the import KML option. When I get out in the field there is about a 50% chance the satellite image actually shows up, or sometimes it is there but with large gaps. This would not be a huge problem except that I will need to tune missions in the field and create new ones based on on-the-ground observations.

Precision Flight: This is a bare bones app that seems to do the job, but with one BIG problem. If I create a mission at home it will fly offline but without satellite map visuals. There is an option to download a satellite map for the region of your mission, which is buggy but can be cajoled into working with multiple retries. BUT after you have downloaded a map, the app crashes immediately upon leaving Wifi access.

Any suggestions or observations?

Hi,

I’m a profession photographer with a similar problem. I’m soon going into the outback of Australia where there is no internet and want to make super high resolution stitched photos using a mapping programme. I believe map pilot for DJI has some way you can actually download and store satellite maps offline. I haven’t got my head around it yet but here are a couple of links they sent me:

Map Caching and Recall

Bring Your Own Basemap into Map Pilot - BYOB

If I get my head around it I’ll let you know. If you find or have found a solution I’d appreciate it if you could point me towards it. I’d appreciate it if you emailed me ([email protected]) as I don’t often follow these forums. Best of luck.

Paul Harmon
 
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#11
DroneDeploy seldom causes problems (for me) and I am guessing the issues are due to older android devices. Get a cheap second-hand iOS device and you should be set.
 
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#12
I think I have found a partial solution to full offline planning and executing. Pix4D keeps up to 100mb of Mapbox tiles for “2-3 days depending on how you use temporary memory” I don’t know what that actually means but the offline maps I’ve tested have remained in memory even when I re-boot my iPad mini 4.
 

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