Professional Phantom 3 pro for conservation - advice

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Hi All,

We are looking at purchasing drone(s) for an elephant conservation project in West Africa and have been recommended the Phantom 3 pro. It looks a good bit of kit that operators could get to grips with fairly quickly, and has been used in similar scenarios.

The main uses will be to survey thickets to look for poachers and elephants, as well as surveying habitats, counting wildlife/livestock etc.

I have some questions which I would appreciate some assistance with if possible:

1. Would we require Pix4D software for basic "real-time" image inspection and recording? An adviser suggested that "you will need to use Pix4D Capture APP and their software to survey these [larger] areas [of habitat]."

2. What is the realistic range from operator to drone for real-time monitoring of imagery on the tablet? The landscape is generally very flat.

3. Is GSM/GPRS signal required for operation of the drone or transmission of imagery from drone to tablet? There is very limited mobile/data signal in the operating area. [I have looked through the forum and there is a lot of conflicting info - it seems that maps can be cached with wifi but mobile connectivity is not required for drone operation or transmission of imagery to the tab?]

4. What would the best and most cost-effective tablet be to use with the P3 pro? I am currently looking at Google Nexus 7 (2013).

5. Would this be a good/effective/realistic choice for e.g. identifying a thicket ~1 km away that potentially harbours poachers or elephants, flying overhead with the drone, transmitting (and recording) imagery back to the tablet for an operator to assess?

6. Any other advice will be appreciated!

Thanks very much in advance,
Louis
 
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I would think a P3P is perfect for what you are trying to do. It's very easy to fly for beginners. Here are my 2 cents.

1. Pix4D software is mainly a mapping tool from my understanding. If you don't need that, the free DJI Go app is one to use. It does the basic real-time image transmission & recording for you and a lot more.

2. Range is about 5-6km or little more with flat landscape like you described. Paired with a windsurfer, you could go very far. I went close to 11km yesterday

3. Cellular connection is not required for image transmission since it's done via Lightbridge, a DJI proprietary. Recording is saved on a microSD card in the aircraft; no cellular here. You only need it for map area you fly to and it can be cached prior to flying.

4. Nexus 2003 is ok. But I would use a device like iPad Air since you want to see the action below with that bigger screen.

5. Not sure you can see that far away from the P3P camera since it has a fixed lens. You can approach it from above around 50m. I tried that on cows and they did not seem to be disturbed by the noise. Not sure about wild animals
 
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1) u can use dji go to see and record in real time. Pix4D is more especific, maby if u want a detail digital map of the place.

2) Far away from wifis and interferences, 2km and a bit more without dude.

3) u only need data mobile or cache the map if u want see where is ur dron over a map. If u no have that, u see where is ur dron but without references.
Resume: u dont need it.

4) dont know. My tablet and smartphone arent old.

5) phantom 3 is noiser, if u are in a silent place u probably need fly over 150m. At that altitude is dificult indentify small things, but if u know they are there, u can track them.
The new Mavic is a better option for u, except for the price. It's smaller, less noiser, u can reach more distance and the optic is better for long distance (phantom 3 optic is more for landscape).

Other tip....hum....maby a ticket plane and i will be there with my dron, im biologist without job, 0 money and wil desire to travel! Xd.

Good luck with ur job and save a lot elephants please...

Sent from my Nexus 5X using PhantomPilots mobile app
 
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Meta4

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Hi All,

We are looking at purchasing drone(s) for an elephant conservation project in West Africa and have been recommended the Phantom 3 pro. It looks a good bit of kit that operators could get to grips with fairly quickly, and has been used in similar scenarios.

The main uses will be to survey thickets to look for poachers and elephants, as well as surveying habitats, counting wildlife/livestock etc.
Louis ... You've already got some answers so I'll just add a little from the perspective of an ecologist that flies Phantoms.
1. Pix4d is for use in flying a precise grid, capturing a large number of images and producing orthophoto maps.
It's great for that but of no use for real time inspection.
The Go app is fine, it gives you a clear live view of what the drone is seeing.
The P3 pro is good and the cheaper P3 Advanced would be just as good for your intended use.
(they are identical except the Pro also shoots 4K video while the Advanced shoots up to 2.7K video)

2. Realistic range in the kind of environment you are using would be several kilometres.
It's variable depending on a few factors but 3 km should be easily achieved in a good interference free area.

3. There is no need at all for any mobile phone or internet when you are flying

4. The Nexus7 2013 is good/cheap. So is the Nvidia Shield K1.

5. One factor to consider is that both have very wideangle lenses - equivalent to a 20mm lens on a 35mm camera.
This means you could see thickets or clumps of trees one kilometre away on your screen but would have to get closer before you could make out an elephant and closer to spot humans.
Here's a screenshot from the live view to give you an idea of what the operator sees:

The operator is on the land in the top right and you can see the distance in the telemetry at bottom of screen. The yachts are 12 metres long
No Signal is because it is very low at distance and raising the drone a little it would have full signal again.

Here's another to show how it looks in a landscape with trees
(but because the land is falling away from the launch point, it's probably a lot higher than you'd be flying for your project):


The P3 Pro or Advanced would be effective and affordable tools for your work.
If operated properly they are very reliable and capable.
They are very easy to fly but there is a bit to learn to understand all the things that could go wrong and how to ensure they don't.
Good luck with the venture.

6. And if you need someone to assist in setting up a program or instructing operators ...........
 
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Thanks everyone, this was very helpful and it looks like P3P will be a good starting option. Really appreciate your input.

Hopefully we can share some stories and photos soon - I'm sure I will need to bother you with more technical issues once the drones have arrived!

Happy holidays to those in the USA - Giving Thanks!
 
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Thanks everyone, this was very helpful and it looks like P3P will be a good starting option. Really appreciate your input.

Hopefully we can share some stories and photos soon - I'm sure I will need to bother you with more technical issues once the drones have arrived!

Happy holidays to those in the USA - Giving Thanks!
It seems that you've already had all your questions answered but there's one thing I'd like to point out.

Drones probably aren't that common there, out in the middle of nowhere. If there are any poachers lurking in the thickets then it won't take them long to figure out what you're up to. Being blasted out of the sky soon after you buy the drones could make it a very expensive few flights. :(
 
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I'm wondering if the OP'S reference to Pix4d was overlooked. I have zero knowledge of the app, but I wondered why someone had previously suggested it to him (per his post).
Could it be that it had been recommended for the purpose of having a recorded grid for reference of where to look next?

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 
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I'm wondering if the OP'S reference to Pix4d was overlooked. I have zero knowledge of the app, but I wondered why someone even suggested it.
Could it be that it had been recommended for the purpose of having a recorded grid for reference of where to look next?

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
Yes, Meta4 (and others) addressed this point in his post #4 above and explained why it might be needed.
 
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All I saw was people saying that Pix4d wasn't needed, and that the Go app was sufficient for his use........
But if you say so.....

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It seems that you've already had all your questions answered but there's one thing I'd like to point out.

Drones probably aren't that common there, out in the middle of nowhere. If there are any poachers lurking in the thickets then it won't take them long to figure out what you're up to. Being blasted out of the sky soon after you buy the drones could make it a very expensive few flights. :(
Yes, this is a risk that we are considering and the operators will fly with this in mind - if the poachers reveal themselves by shooting the drone, it is a loss that is much more preferable than them laying an ambush. Thanks
 
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I guess mavic pro is better solution. Both are similar price range but mavic got 7 km range and it is easy and portable. Dji mavic has 2 compass and IMU to handle any error. It is very small and quite

Sent from my SM-G930F using PhantomPilots mobile app
 
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