Phantom Drone capabilities

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I am looking at purchasing a Phantom 4 RTK SE drone for my work. I have tried to contact DJI customer service and that has turned into a joke because no one will talk with me because I don't own a drone yet. I hope some of you will be able to help me decide which Phantom drone to get. I work at a University for the facilities group. My supervisor would like a drone that can be used for external building inspections. In addition we would be using it for video footage for advertising as well as pictures to add to time lap footage of new buildings as they are built. I know that the Phantom can do all of the above but the question that has been asked of me that I can't get an answer for is this... Is it possible to program in specific GPS coordinates and altitude so that the Phantom drone can go to the same place each time to take a picture of a specific item? I know that you can set way points while the drone is active but is there a way to save those points and have them recalled again at a different time? Can you take the information from an image and somehow load it back into the Phantom so that it will return to the same spot and height so we could take a picture over multiple weeks and months?

I am only looking at the Phantom 4 RTK SE because it looks like it would give me better information about location and altitude for record keeping. Would the Phantom 4 work just as well? Would I need to pick the Phantom 4 Pro to get it to do what I am wanting? These are all the questions I have been trying to ask DJI but they aren't willing or able to give me that information. I know that the DJI Matrice 300 RTK has something called Smart Inspection which does do what we are looking for but I can't justify spending $14k on a drone for basic exterior building inspections. That is why I am looking at the Phantom and seeing if we can get it to do what we are trying. I appreciate any feedback that you are willing to give. I have also looked at the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise because it comes with an infared camera which might help for inspections. Does anyone have any experiance with that model and would it be able to do what I am trying to do? Thanks for any help you are willing to give.
 

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Is it possible to program in specific GPS coordinates and altitude so that the Phantom drone can go to the same place each time to take a picture of a specific item?
I know that you can set way points while the drone is active but is there a way to save those points and have them recalled again at a different time? Can you take the information from an image and somehow load it back into the Phantom so that it will return to the same spot and height so we could take a picture over multiple weeks and months?
Look at a 3rd party app called Litchi for that capability.
I am only looking at the Phantom 4 RTK SE because it looks like it would give me better information about location and altitude for record keeping. Would the Phantom 4 work just as well? Would I need to pick the Phantom 4 Pro to get it to do what I am wanting?
The P4 RTK is probably overkill, the P4 pro should be just fine.
But do you realise that DJI discontinued the P4 pro a few years back and the original P4 about 6 years back?
I have also looked at the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise because it comes with an infared camera which might help for inspections. Does anyone have any experiance with that model and would it be able to do what I am trying to do?
No-one does ... it's only just been announced today:
 
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Look at a 3rd party app called Litchi for that capability.

The P4 RTK is probably overkill, the P4 pro should be just fine.
But do you realise that DJI discontinued the P4 pro a few years back and the original P4 about 6 years back?

No-one does ... it's only just been announced today:
Thanks for this information. I will defiantly look at Litchi. I appreciate your feedback pertaining to the P4 over the P4 RTK. No I didn't know that they discontinued the P4 pro a few years back. I have been looking on their website and it is still listed as an option to buy so my assumption was that it was still available for purchase. I know that they also have listed a P4 pro V2 so as an option to buy. Well that goes back to my overall experience with their website. As for the Mavic 3 Enterprise I have seen it on their website for several weeks and didn't know that it was just announced.

Once again I appreciate the information and it definately will help myself and my boss make a more informed decision.
 
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I can't speak from personal experience (have not used Litchi), but I know from reading the forums that people have had problems maintaining identical elevations on repeat way-point missions. This can be a problem if you want to take photographs over time from exactly the same spot. The drone measures barometric pressure for elevation, and air pressure can change. I don't know if the RTK version handles this any better. There may be solutions or work-arounds for this, but I'm not the one to advise.

Regarding the P4P being discontinued: You can purchase second-hand. DJI still offer technical support and repair.
 
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I can't speak from personal experience (have not used Litchi), but I know from reading the forums that people have had problems maintaining identical elevations on repeat way-point missions. This can be a problem if you want to take photographs over time from exactly the same spot. The drone measures barometric pressure for elevation, and air pressure can change. I don't know if the RTK version handles this any better. There may be solutions or work-arounds for this, but I'm not the one to advise.

Regarding the P4P being discontinued: You can purchase second-hand. DJI still offer technical support and repair.
That is good to know about the problems with the elevation problems. I didn't know that they used barometric pressure to to establish the altitude so I could see how something like a storm coming might change that reading. I appreciate the information.
 

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I can't speak from personal experience (have not used Litchi), but I know from reading the forums that people have had problems maintaining identical elevations on repeat way-point missions. This can be a problem if you want to take photographs over time from exactly the same spot. The drone measures barometric pressure for elevation, and air pressure can change.
If it exists, the "problem" is trivial.
Your drone sets a zero altitude at startup.
Regardless of atmospheric pressure that day, the launch point is zero and all waypoint heights are relative to the start point.
 
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If it exists, the "problem" is trivial.
Your drone sets a zero altitude at startup.
Regardless of atmospheric pressure that day, the launch point is zero and all waypoint heights are relative to the start point.
Thank you for the clarification. What you say makes sense; air pressure changes over time on relative elevation differences should be minor. That said, pilots still somehow manage to crash into trees on missions they have flown quite safely before. And my own drone not infrequently tells me that I'm still at 3 or 4 metres as I land at the end of a flight - at my exact take off point.

This is the most recent discussion I can recall on difficulties taking progression photos...

And in this thread (see post #14), someone flying a high elevation mission in Colorado notes that their drone flies 40 ft lower in winter (compared to summer) - on the same mission.
 
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I am looking at purchasing a Phantom 4 RTK SE drone for my work. I have tried to contact DJI customer service and that has turned into a joke because no one will talk with me because I don't own a drone yet. I hope some of you will be able to help me decide which Phantom drone to get. I work at a University for the facilities group. My supervisor would like a drone that can be used for external building inspections. In addition we would be using it for video footage for advertising as well as pictures to add to time lap footage of new buildings as they are built. I know that the Phantom can do all of the above but the question that has been asked of me that I can't get an answer for is this... Is it possible to program in specific GPS coordinates and altitude so that the Phantom drone can go to the same place each time to take a picture of a specific item? I know that you can set way points while the drone is active but is there a way to save those points and have them recalled again at a different time? Can you take the information from an image and somehow load it back into the Phantom so that it will return to the same spot and height so we could take a picture over multiple weeks and months?

I am only looking at the Phantom 4 RTK SE because it looks like it would give me better information about location and altitude for record keeping. Would the Phantom 4 work just as well? Would I need to pick the Phantom 4 Pro to get it to do what I am wanting? These are all the questions I have been trying to ask DJI but they aren't willing or able to give me that information. I know that the DJI Matrice 300 RTK has something called Smart Inspection which does do what we are looking for but I can't justify spending $14k on a drone for basic exterior building inspections. That is why I am looking at the Phantom and seeing if we can get it to do what we are trying. I appreciate any feedback that you are willing to give. I have also looked at the DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise because it comes with an infared camera which might help for inspections. Does anyone have any experiance with that model and would it be able to do what I am trying to do? Thanks for any help you are willing to give.
BryanBrady06 - what you are requiring doesn't necessitate going all out on a drone such as a P4. You could do the same process with a Mavic or other drones. The key aspect here is that you need appropriate flight management and GPS control. What you are requiring can be done with a variety of flight management programs, and I have done something similar for open cut mining where we wanted to take time period surveys on part of a quarry where there was instability (in this instance we used a Mavic Pro Platinum with Drone Deploy). This allowed us to pick the location and altitude from where a photo was taken as well as setting pitch angle on the camera. The key is that you have to take off from the same position each flight so that the flight height doesn't vary. With a standard GPS installed on the drone you should be relatively close for position between capture campaigns. I think RTK would be overkill.
You may want to consider getting a drone that you can put prop guards on if your inspection work is going to be examining buildings in close proximity. Recognise that variable wind conditions adjacent to buildings due to turbulence could push your drone into a structure. Prop protection might save you from crashing the UAV itself. The bigger the drone you employ the more risk you will also have to consider for work area exclusions, however they are typically more stable in variable wind conditions.
 
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pilots still somehow manage to crash into trees on missions they have flown quite safely before.
Flyers who use programmed flight close to obstacles are asking for trouble and need to understand the limitations of the technology.
Horizontal positioning with GPS is not pinpoint accurate and can vary by +/- 3 metres.

And my own drone not infrequently tells me that I'm still at 3 or 4 metres as I land at the end of a flight - at my exact take off point.
It's common and normal for indicated height to vary by a few metres over the duration of a flight.
You need to have a comfortable safety margin when planning flights near obstacles
This is the most recent discussion I can recall on difficulties taking progression photos...
I used Litchi for two years of progress videos on a large construction project.
I never noticed any issues.
And in this thread (see post #14), someone flying a high elevation mission in Colorado notes that their drone flies 40 ft lower in winter (compared to summer) - on the same mission.
He says it does, but provides no evidence to back it up.
I have trouble believing the assertion.
 
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BryanBrady06 - what you are requiring doesn't necessitate going all out on a drone such as a P4. You could do the same process with a Mavic or other drones. The key aspect here is that you need appropriate flight management and GPS control. What you are requiring can be done with a variety of flight management programs, and I have done something similar for open cut mining where we wanted to take time period surveys on part of a quarry where there was instability (in this instance we used a Mavic Pro Platinum with Drone Deploy). This allowed us to pick the location and altitude from where a photo was taken as well as setting pitch angle on the camera. The key is that you have to take off from the same position each flight so that the flight height doesn't vary. With a standard GPS installed on the drone you should be relatively close for position between capture campaigns. I think RTK would be overkill.
You may want to consider getting a drone that you can put prop guards on if your inspection work is going to be examining buildings in close proximity. Recognise that variable wind conditions adjacent to buildings due to turbulence could push your drone into a structure. Prop protection might save you from crashing the UAV itself. The bigger the drone you employ the more risk you will also have to consider for work area exclusions, however they are typically more stable in variable wind conditions.
I appreciate your feedback and advice. I was primarily looking at the P4 because of all the positive feedback results I have seen on other websites when it came to doing construction jobs. I have looked at the Mavic several times but didn't know if I could do what I wanted it to do but it sounds like it is also a possibility. I will look into Drone Deploy as well to see if it will help me accomplish what I am trying to do. I have thought about prop guards for the exact reasons you mentioned but haven't looked into it much as I have been trying to find a drone that will do what I need it to do first. It sounds like I can use almost any drone to accomplish this task as long as I have software that I can use to establish the GPS location and height, and I make sure to launch from the same location each time so that the altitude is always calculated the same for each flight. If you have any other recommendations on software I would appreciate any feedback.
 

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