Using Phantom 4 Pro for Inspections and commercial jobs

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Hi Everyone,

I'm starting a drone service business and looking to buy a P4 Pro. I'll be mainly doing inspection on roofs, cell towers, pipelines and possibly power lines. But will be starting off slow to gain experience and momentum.

Would the P4 Pro suffice for these applications and do a great job? I was looking to get an Inspire Pro for zoom lens capabilities but am wondering if its over the top for just starting out if I can do just as well with a P4 Pro. I really want to be able to deliver a great service/product and not be below average.

Please let me know the Pros and Cons.

I would appreciate your experience and knowledge in this matter.
 
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the cell towers and power lines will be your biggest problem, both bleed noise which drone won't like much. But as long as your bonded and insured if it hits the tower it will get fixed. Getting compass and gps lock over pipeline also may be an issue for taking off. I think zoom lens so you can stay as far from them as you can is a better option.
The roof works, my first flight was over mine and showed 7 shingles ripped off in storm the previous weekend. I know that was the one, because it tore apart my chicken coupes cover. So my drone cost me $25 and 2 hours work, but saved me a leaky roof later.

But YOU WILL need a 107 license in US.
 
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Meta4

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I'm starting a drone service business and looking to buy a P4 Pro. I'll be mainly doing inspection on roofs, cell towers, pipelines and possibly power lines.
Would the P4 Pro suffice for these applications and do a great job?
The P4pro is a great machine and has some advantages over the Inspire.
It is much more portable and quick to set up and launch.
It costs a lot less - if you are working, you'll need a backup machine.
Unless you get the very expensive Inspire 2, and you use the heavy X5 camera and zoom lens, the Inspire will have very short flight times.

You need to work out just how close you need to get for inspection work to know if you need the zoom lens or can get by without.
 
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The P4pro is a great machine and has some advantages over the Inspire.
It is much more portable and quick to set up and launch.
It costs a lot less - if you are working, you'll need a backup machine.
Unless you get the very expensive Inspire 2, and you use the heavy X5 camera and zoom lens, the Inspire will have very short flight times.

You need to work out just how close you need to get for inspection work to know if you need the zoom lens or can get by without.
For inspections, how close can you get with the P4P? In what instances would the P4P suffice or not suffice for inspections.

For the applications I want to use it for (mentioned in my last post), would the P4P be good enough?

Do you have any other suggestions on what drone to buy that would fit my criteria?
 

Meta4

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For inspections, how close can you get with the P4P? In what instances would the P4P suffice or not suffice for inspections.
If you turn off obstacle avoidance, you can get close enough to hit things.
What matters is the field of view for the lens.
If you need to get close up detail of small sections, the wide angle lens might not be appropriate.
For the applications I want to use it for (mentioned in my last post), would the P4P be good enough?
Do you have any other suggestions on what drone to buy that would fit my criteria?
The P4pro should be perfect for roofs and pipelines.
It might also be good for cell towers or even powerlines but I'm not sure what level of detail you might require for those.

The best way I can think of to answer the question is to shoot a couple of examples.
So here they are - this is what you can achieve with a P4 pro:
Inspection - P4pro - Above & Beyond Photography
(Not the usual pics I take but all I could come up with in a hurry.)

These are images straight from the 20MP camera.
You can enlarge to see more detail at full size (look for icon in the bottom right for this)
 
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If you turn off obstacle avoidance, you can get close enough to hit things.
What matters is the field of view for the lens.
If you need to get close up detail of small sections, the wide angle lens might not be appropriate.

The P4pro should be perfect for roofs and pipelines.
It might also be good for cell towers or even powerlines but I'm not sure what level of detail you might require for those.

The best way I can think of to answer the question is to shoot a couple of examples.
So here they are - this is what you can achieve with a P4 pro:
Inspection - P4pro - Above & Beyond Photography
(Not the usual pics I take but all I could come up with in a hurry.)

These are images straight from the 20MP camera.
You can enlarge to see more detail at full size (look for icon in the bottom right for this)
Wow thanks for that! These photos have greater detail than I thought they would have. How close were you to the roof on the last image (showing rust on the ridge)?

Because of the high mega pixels on the P4 Pro, do you think zooming/cropping images in post would still give a quality image for instances when you can't get close? Does the metal on the roof effect the drone in any way?

Thanks for your advice sir, its really appreciated! I'm starting a business here in Aus. and I already have a potentially large roof inspection job from an existing client and I need to get a drone soon. I know this is a Phantom forum but do you got any experience on the Inspire Pro?
 

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Wow thanks for that! These photos have greater detail than I thought they would have. How close were you to the roof on the last image (showing rust on the ridge)?
Because of the high mega pixels on the P4 Pro, do you think zooming/cropping images in post would still give a quality image for instances when you can't get close? Does the metal on the roof effect the drone in any way?
Thanks for your advice sir, its really appreciated! I'm starting a business here in Aus. and I already have a potentially large roof inspection job from an existing client and I need to get a drone soon. I know this is a Phantom forum but do you got any experience on the Inspire Pro?
Hi Alex ... The closest to the roof was about 1 metre.
At that distance I was getting a compass error because of the magnetic field associated with a large steel roof.
This made the Phantom wander a little.

I don't own an Inspire but have flown one.
They are good but are huge in comparison to the Phantom and take more time to set up.
In Australia you can use a Phantom commercially without an expensive licence but the Inspire is above the weight limit for that.
The inspire won't give you any better photography unless you are spending around A$8000+ to get the X5 camera
Plus if you are working you really need two drones to have a backup machine.

The high resolution in the P4 pro images gives you a good shot at cropping and still having quite a bit of detail.
This is a full frame image (nowhere near full size here though)


Here is a crop of about 1/6th of the full frame (still not shown full size here)
 
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I use mine for roof surveys and inspections (safer than me going up there!) and the resolution is great - can get within 10' and see individual screws, cracks in flashing, etc.



Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
 
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If you turn off obstacle avoidance, you can get close enough to hit things.
What matters is the field of view for the lens.
If you need to get close up detail of small sections, the wide angle lens might not be appropriate.

The P4pro should be perfect for roofs and pipelines.
It might also be good for cell towers or even powerlines but I'm not sure what level of detail you might require for those.

The best way I can think of to answer the question is to shoot a couple of examples.
So here they are - this is what you can achieve with a P4 pro:
Inspection - P4pro - Above & Beyond Photography
(Not the usual pics I take but all I could come up with in a hurry.)

These are images straight from the 20MP camera.
You can enlarge to see more detail at full size (look for icon in the bottom right for this)
I browsed through your photos. Really amazing. I have a question on two of them, [Aerial photography] - [Construction], images Tallowwood St - 20 Oct 2015 and Tallowwood St orthophoto - 20 Oct 2015. How do you get these height curves overlayed on top of the Orthophoto. Are these direct from your camera or are you using some kind of service doing this or are you doing it youself. How?

Really nice colours. I think i'll have to go through the camera settings.. My photos are just... dull compared to this.. I'm flying a P4..

Rgds Roger
 
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Meta4

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I browsed through your photos. Really amazing. I have a question on two of them, [Aerial photography] - [Construction], images Tallowwood St - 20 Oct 2015 and Tallowwood St orthophoto - 20 Oct 2015. How do you get these height curves overlayed on top of the Orthophoto. Are these direct from your camera or are you using some kind of service doing this or are you doing it youself. How?
Hi Roger ... thanks.
You could use one of the services like DroneDeploy etc to do that but I did them myself using Agisoft Photoscan
 
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Hi Roger ... thanks.
You could use one of the services like DroneDeploy etc to do that but I did them myself using Agisoft Photoscan
Thank you for your reply. I have been using Altizure in which I'm getting the the 3D:s created I've been working with. They are generating an Orthomap as well as a DSM, and I can -sort of- extraxt height curves from the DSM to a Shape-file using QGIS. But not in any way as crispy and niceas your images..I've been looking at DroneDeploy. US$ 299/month, and they are refusing me a full trial due to some unclear reasons. Probably because my business is to small in their eyes...

Regards Roger
 
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Don't forget in addition to a 107 you need to be licenced to provide survey/inspection images or use somebody that is to sign off your work. We talk about it in this video.
 
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If you turn off obstacle avoidance, you can get close enough to hit things.
What matters is the field of view for the lens.
If you need to get close up detail of small sections, the wide angle lens might not be appropriate.

The P4pro should be perfect for roofs and pipelines.
It might also be good for cell towers or even powerlines but I'm not sure what level of detail you might require for those.

The best way I can think of to answer the question is to shoot a couple of examples.
So here they are - this is what you can achieve with a P4 pro:
Inspection - P4pro - Above & Beyond Photography
(Not the usual pics I take but all I could come up with in a hurry.)

These are images straight from the 20MP camera.
You can enlarge to see more detail at full size (look for icon in the bottom right for this)
Meta 4 Could you tell me what the going rate is for these types of inspections or for that matter any related job. I've have my P3P for two years and I'm days away from getting my part 107. I've been a private Pilot since 1987. I'll be working in the greater San Diego and Phoenix Areas, but I have zero idea of what to charge. Your help would be greatly appreciated and not forgotten.
 

Meta4

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Meta 4 Could you tell me what the going rate is for these types of inspections or for that matter any related job. I've have my P3P for two years and I'm days away from getting my part 107. I've been a private Pilot since 1987. I'll be working in the greater San Diego and Phoenix Areas, but I have zero idea of what to charge. Your help would be greatly appreciated and not forgotten.
Sorry Joe .. Rates are going to be all over the place with no simple answer.
Prices will vary from very high for a big, important project that's technical and involved at one end of the range through to just peanuts down at the other end.
There's really no such thing as the going rate and nowdays there are always people almost giving their work away.
 
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