P4 RTK standard vs SDK Controller

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Greetings All

I’m about to add a P4 RTK to the hanger here and I’m just at a loss to find a definitive answer as to whether I’m better off going with the standard controller or the SDK unit. Believe me I’ve looked here on the forums and on YouTube and all the usual places. Perhaps I’m missing the obvious but I’m running out of research time as I can snag a really sweet deal if I order this week.

Let me say up front that of my current 3 P4P v2.0s they are all the standard controller versions and I really dislike the + version built in display controllers and have Tripltek and iPad Mini 6 devices so obviously I’m inclined to go with the SDK controller package at first impulse but can anyone tell me if I’ll be missing out on anything as far as software or abilities by not getting the standard controller?

Many thanks in advance

Regards
Ari

Edited for spelling to try and not appear like a troglodyte.
 
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Hi RPA!
I myself faced the same question a few weeks ago and decided to buy the P4RTK with standard remote instead of the SDK. I couldn't find much information on using the SDK remote and what I did find led me to believe it’s not worth it.

I suggest looking into whatever flight app you are thinking of using with the SDK and trying to understand the workflow for each specific app to know the limitations & understand if it will do the job for you.

I don’t recall where or how old the information was, but one post seemed to indicate that using an iOS device with SDK remote resulted in missing the support files that would allow for ppk processing.

I use Map Pilot Pro with my P4 v1 however the one single help page for p4RTK on their site indicated only the d-rtk base would work for corrections (no NTRIP connection) when using the SDK. The comments indicated DJI didn’t open up the SDK for them to establish an NTRIP connection (although, that could also just be a limitation of their specific software too, I don’t know). Also for their workflow they used the GS Pro app on ipad to establish the correction connection and then open their app to fly. Also they said the d-rtk base needed to be re-linked to the sdk remote and drone with every power cycle -not sure if that included mid-mission drone battery changes. ( https://support.dronesmadeeasy.com/...hantom-4-Pro-RTK-Connection-Pre-Map-Pilot-Use )

I can’t confirm any of this information, but overall I didn’t feel comfortable bothering with the SDK remote (yet). The standard remote also seems to have its shortcomings, (for example Terrain following only works on grid missions but not linear corridor missions) but generally after figuring out the quirks there seems to be more reports of success with the standard remote than the SDK.

I would love to know what you decide to do & your opinions afterwards.

Best wishes for success either way!
 
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Hi AVA

Many thanks for taking the time out to give such a comprehensive answer. Most of what you have said here gels with what I have found out myself also.

When I went to place the order I found that the kit that comes with the SDK controller had an almost 3 months wait and I wanted to have the aircraft in use by January so I got around that by ordering the standard kit with the standard controller and I ordered this SDK controller separately, so in the end I will have them both and be able to test out all of the various software packages.

You are correct in that if you use the SDK controller with iOS you are limited to GS pro which does not create a survey folder and therefore ntrip and PPK are a bit of a problem, however as I am getting the kit with the base station and intend to concentrate on RTK at least in the beginning that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. In any event I use both iPad mini and the Tripltek android tablet so I’ll also be able to use the android solution which I believe is DJI pilot and does create the survey folder required for PPK if required.

I already have a fairly robust workflow using Aggisoft Metashape to do my processing work and indeed it produces good deliverables. I’m just looking at RTK as to be able to provide my customers a slightly more accurate result if required down the track.

So that said the biggest need for me is a software package capable of highly detailed mission planning. Up to now I’ve been using litchi with great results and although it is missing a few small features such as crossed mission planning paths I don’t find that to be too much of a drawback as I use a separate package called DJIflightPlanner which can easily generate plans for me at 90° to one another and export them in a format that can be imported by litchi.

The sticking point for me with most of the other software packages is that I do a lot of flying in terrain with great variance in height, my current major job is down the side of a mountain, along the cliff face and into a valley and so terrain following is very important for me, I have found litchi allows me to plan with sufficient accuracy to accomplish that and if need be I can fly the first mission manually and drop the waypoints unfortunately it seems that none of the other packages have that ability.

I’m currently looking at either Map pilot as you suggest or perhaps hammer as they seem to be the next best options if a little pricy. I am surprised that litchi has not been ported to work with the SDK controller to be honest, I can always hope for the future although being honest I’m not holding up too much hope.

I am hoping to have the aircraft package here before Christmas, so I should be able to test early in the New Year and I’ll certainly update here with my impressions and results.



Regards

Ari
 
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I can tell you that terrain is available in the p4RTK standard remote if you have a source for a DEM of your flight area and can get it into WGS84 coordinate system. Locally I have access to publicly available GIS data with 1 meter LIDAR acquired DEM files. I use QGIS to clip the area I need and export the .TIF and .TFW files. I was able to get that functioning for a standard photogrammetry mission. I just need DJI to update and provide the same functionality for corridor missions now.

I agree that I wish Litchi was supporting the P4RTK, perhaps in time they will.

Best wishes to you.
 
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Thanks for taking time out to reply again.

I have read up on the procedure to incorporate terrain awareness as .tif and .tfw using the standard packages available with the RTK and it seems manageable. Being in Australia getting high resolution DEMs can be a problem. Until not so long ago the best one available was at a resolution on 30m per pixel but a newer one has been compiled at 5m res so that should be good enough for most situations.

As the company I work for has just purchased a M300 and I am the only one certified to operate it commercially in the company I think I had better get my head around the process as I believe it is a similar process with that machine.

My P4 RTK arrived this afternoon, I haven’t even unboxed it yet. The SDK controller is still a few weeks away I have been told so I’ll have some time to come to grips with the standard package before I cross that bridge.

We’re looking like having to make the best of what we have software wise sadly. It doesn’t look as if Litchi will happen for the P4RTK. They did respond to me enquiry and I’ll post the response below.

Take care, have a happy and safe festive season.

Regards

Ari

—————————


Litchi Support (VC Technology Ltd)
20 Dec 2021, 12:16 GMT
Hi,

We do not officially support any of the enterprise drones as they are generally very expensive and for us and it does not make much sense to purchase as we may not recoup the cost of the drone itself.
As a result we can not offer any support for these drones since we don't have them and do not test them with Litchi.
Kind Regards,
Litchi
 
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Pardon me if I'm pointing out something you already have thought of / are doing, however one way around the issue of not having a good DEM for precise terrain could be to fly the area twice. Do it first from a high altitude without terrain following, process the photogrammetry, and then use the DEM from that mission as the basis for the more precise terrain following mission. Assuming tree cover doesn't get in the way of acquiring an accurate ground elevation, surely the per pixel resolution would be far better than what is publicly available.

Sounds disappointing from Litchi. Seems like they could somewhat easily look to collaborate with an enterprise dealer to develop and test their software on a dealer demo unit though. Or maybe go to their user base community to solicit for collaboration. It's a great community, they probably could find someone willing. On the other hand, I do REALLY appreciate that their app is modestly priced and that I purchased it one time and can continue to use it rather than pushing the app to "end of life" status and forcing people into a subscription model...(cough-MapPilot-cough).

I agree, Hammer looked a bit too expensive for me and offered mission types I will never use. I also take exception to their pricing scheme (if I'm paying $49 US monthly, I expect to fly as many missions as I need/want -they limit you to 30 a month). MapPilot still has a monthly subscription model, but at least it isn't too pricey and covers all the mission types I need w/ terrain.

What we really need is a company that will produce JUST an app (like Litchi !) and not try to bundle it with photogrammetric processing in a monthly subscription. This has been discussed in other places here, but we don't need processing -we need an excellent flight app that fits well into any workflow. I would love to see Litchi + MapPilot functionality with ability to upload custom DEM for terrain following in one single app, for a single one-time purchase price. If it exists, I haven't found it.

Sorry, went off the rails there for a minute. Rant over...
Be well!
 
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You can also check UGCS with the SDK controller. Still needs some upgrades but overall working well
 
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You can also check UGCS with the SDK controller. Still needs some upgrades but overall working well
 

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