Phantom3 Pro - Possible Agriculture use??

BigAl07

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#1
I'm researching some potential additional markets to dip into and Agriculture is of great interest to me.

Until I can get a good feel for the viability of it in my area I'm not willing (or able) to invest in a dedicated Ag aircraft. While doing some research I ran across this statement and I'd like to know if anyone here can add anything to this or claim it's false. The below statement is in reference to using DJI (Phantom3 Advanced or Pro, Inspire or M100) platforms for Agriculture purposes.

"• Camera: The stock cameras on these drones work well. However, if you want to capture imagery that will generate NDVI and Variable Application Reports (variable rate application shape files), you will need to install an NIR filter in the camera. You will also need to modify the camera’s setting so it does not auto-adjust to changing light conditions during your survey."

Does anyone have experience with a reliable NIR filter for our Phantom3 A/P platform? Being able to do some advanced imaging from the stock aircraft camera would be SWEET but I'm afraid this is one of those things that's simply "too good to be true".

If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear more.
 
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#2
I'm researching some potential additional markets to dip into and Agriculture is of great interest to me.

Until I can get a good feel for the viability of it in my area I'm not willing (or able) to invest in a dedicated Ag aircraft. While doing some research I ran across this statement and I'd like to know if anyone here can add anything to this or claim it's false. The below statement is in reference to using DJI (Phantom3 Advanced or Pro, Inspire or M100) platforms for Agriculture purposes.

"• Camera: The stock cameras on these drones work well. However, if you want to capture imagery that will generate NDVI and Variable Application Reports (variable rate application shape files), you will need to install an NIR filter in the camera. You will also need to modify the camera’s setting so it does not auto-adjust to changing light conditions during your survey."

Does anyone have experience with a reliable NIR filter for our Phantom3 A/P platform? Being able to do some advanced imaging from the stock aircraft camera would be SWEET but I'm afraid this is one of those things that's simply "too good to be true".

If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear more.
I do NOT think you will find a P3 shortcut that will work. :-(
I have a P4 these days and hit a similar wall.
You might find this thread of interest:
How much are people charging for precision agriculture surveys

Best of luck,
omba
 

BigAl07

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#3
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#4
here is interesting article on using "false" NDVI.
I guess you could modify your camera with a filter but you would not get quality results without a real Near IR camera.
have you checked out the Parrot Sequoia? little spendy
 
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BigAl07

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#5
here is interesting article on using "false" NDVI.
I guess you could modify your camera with a filter but you would not get quality results without a real Near IR camera.
have you checked out the Parrot Sequoia? little spendy
Thanks for the input. I've been checking out "alternatives" to NDVI but honestly I don't see them being very useful to the farmer and to make this work we have to give them real and accurate details. I'm thinking it's going to be very hard to do without NIR camera equipment if possible at all.
 
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#6
Most cameras have an ir filer built in. So the cameras used for ir photography have this removed. Try a tv remote, if it shines brightly, you might be ok, but its more likely going to show very dim from the ir filter built in.

I was thinking along similar lines, by using ir illumination for night flying.
 
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#7
You could hack the P3 camera by opening it up, removing the IR block filter and installing a band filter that lets in some visual and IR frequencies.

I'm using a P3 Standard with a hacked IR-capable GoPro clone as extra payload hanging off a gimbal protector. It's a decent little rig, the main camera is used for high res mapping while the GoPro clone records IR for later NDVI processing. I set the GoPro clone to shoot every 5 seconds so I don't have to control it from the ground.
 
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BigAl07

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#8
You could hack the P3 camera by opening it up, removing the IR block filter and installing a band filter that lets in some visual and IR frequencies.

I'm using a P3 Standard with a hacked IR-capable GoPro clone as extra payload hanging off a gimbal protector. It's a decent little rig, the main camera is used for high res mapping while the GoPro clone records IR for later NDVI processing. I set the GoPro clone to shoot every 5 seconds so I don't have to control it from the ground.
Great idea. I may look into trying something like that as well.
 
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#9
Here's a picture of my rig
- the hacked camera is mounted on a gimbal protector right underneath the existing camera. It makes takeoffs and landings a total pain though. I have to use foam blocks as takeoff stands and I hand-catch on landings.

Total weight of the camera and filter is 100g and about 50g for the gimbal protector. I'm getting close to 20 minutes flight time so the extra payload doesn't seem to have affected endurance.

I've also switched to Litchi with custom waypoints. The latest versions of Drone Deploy on Android had problems taking pictures on the P3S, the bird also moves while taking pictures so my IR camera pix ended up tilted and/or blurry. I set Litchi to stop at waypoints for a few seconds to get stable shots for both cameras. Litchi also allows setting aircraft orientation and gimbal angle at each waypoint so it's easy to get consistent shots for stitching.
 

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BigAl07

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#10
Here's a picture of my rig
- the hacked camera is mounted on a gimbal protector right underneath the existing camera. It makes takeoffs and landings a total pain though. I have to use foam blocks as takeoff stands and I hand-catch on landings.

Total weight of the camera and filter is 100g and about 50g for the gimbal protector. I'm getting close to 20 minutes flight time so the extra payload doesn't seem to have affected endurance.
You've really outdone yourself there. GREAT work. I need to look into trying that as well.

I've been talking to a company that builds Agridrones (one of their kits is a P3P) and here's what they say on their blog:

"Camera: The stock cameras on these drones work well. However, if you want to capture imagery that will generate NDVI and Variable Application Reports (variable rate application shape files), you will need to install an NIR filter in the camera. You will also need to modify the camera’s setting so it does not auto-adjust to changing light conditions during your survey."

So now I'm scouring the internet looking for this mysterious NIR filter that they are talking about. I wonder if it's merely a new screw on filter or if they are talking about tottaly swapping the insides of the camera with a new lens system like this one:

3.97mm f/2.8 82d HFOV 16MP (No Distortion)(NDVI Red+NIR)
 
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#11
You've really outdone yourself there. GREAT work. I need to look into trying that as well.

I've been talking to a company that builds Agridrones (one of their kits is a P3P) and here's what they say on their blog:

"Camera: The stock cameras on these drones work well. However, if you want to capture imagery that will generate NDVI and Variable Application Reports (variable rate application shape files), you will need to install an NIR filter in the camera. You will also need to modify the camera’s setting so it does not auto-adjust to changing light conditions during your survey."

So now I'm scouring the internet looking for this mysterious NIR filter that they are talking about. I wonder if it's merely a new screw on filter or if they are talking about tottaly swapping the insides of the camera with a new lens system like this one:

3.97mm f/2.8 82d HFOV 16MP (No Distortion)(NDVI Red+NIR)
There's a lot of good stuff on the PublicLab website on hacking cheap cameras to see NIR. All camera sensors are sensitive to IR so consumer cameras have filters that block IR and let in only visual light.

The modifications required are as follows:

1. Remove the existing IR block filter from the lens assembly. You'll have to open up the camera, unscrew the lens module and unglue or rip to bits the tiny piece of IR-blocking glass. Once that's done, you have a camera that can see near infrared.

2. You'll then have to add a filter that only allows one color to pass in addition to IR so you can get NDVI images (visual + IR). It's possible to use a red filter (using the red channel for visual and green or blue for IR) or a blue filter (using the blue channel for visual and red for IR). These filters can either be placed at the big end as a lens filter or as a tiny piece of glass just before the image sensor.

The problem with modding the Phantom camera is that you're stuck with an IR camera that's useless when flying FPV. It's hard to see anything because everything turns out pink.

Also, the best NDVI rig would be to use two identical cameras: one for visual light, one with a bandpass filter that only lets in IR. There's a lot of IR leakage in cheap cameras that ends up reducing NDVI contrast.
 
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