Getting Started with Live Map

February 14, 2018

This week, we launched our new real-time mapping tool, Live Map. Live Map gives you the instant aerial insights to make better decisions in the field, on the job site, and anywhere else you need to collect drone data.

If you’re interested in using Live Map, you probably have some questions. How do I make the best Live Map? What flight settings should I use when planning my mission? What drones and devices support Live Map?

Read on to get the answers to all these questions and more, so you get the most out of Live Map in the field.

Live Map Supported Drones, Cameras, and iOS Devices

Live Map Supported Drones, Cameras, and iOS Devices

Supported iOS Devices

At this time, Live Map only supports iOS devices (sorry Android users). Because Live Map is an intensive program that uses cutting-edge computer vision, it requires a powerful processor and ample RAM to run smoothly. Newer iPhones and iPads — especially the iPad Pro — will provide the best experience and highest quality Live Maps.

Customers using older devices, particularly the iPhone 6s, may experience some difficulty generating Live Maps for missions that are longer than 10 minutes in flight time.

We recommend using one of the devices listed below:

  • iPhones: iPhone 6s or later (Sept 2015)
  • iPad: iPad Air 2 or later (Oct 2014)
  • iPad Mini: iPad Mini 4 (Sept 2015)

Supported Drones and Cameras

Live Map is currently only compatible with DJI drones. And just like mobile devices we mentioned above, using a newer drone will yield better results.

Below is a complete list of supported drone platforms* for Live Map:

  • DJI Phantom 4
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro Advanced
  • DJI Inspire 2 (X4S only)
  • DJI M200/M210 (X4S only)

*At this time, we don’t support modified RGB cameras, such as those often used in agriculture.

Flight Planning with Live Map

Flight Planning with Live Map

For best results, we recommend using the default flight settings for altitude and overlap in the DroneDeploy app.

Recommended Flight Settings

Altitude: 250 ft (75m) or higher
Overlap: 65% sidelap and 75% frontlap

Though, we realize that sometimes you made need to alter your flight settings depending on your environment. If these cases, we have put together some recommended best practices surrounding areas with taller objects and elevation. Read on the learn more.

Mapping Tall Objects and Environments with Varied Elevation

If your mission area is relatively flat — and does cover tall objects like buildings or trees — then you can fly lower, but we do not recommend you fly lower than 150ft (45m). When flying lower than 250ft, we suggest you increase your sidelap to 80%.

Increase Sidelap When Mapping Areas with Varied Elevation

If you map an area that has many tall objects such as buildings and trees, or there are is terrain with varying elevation — like hills, cliffs, or pits — then we recommend you fly higher and increase your sidelap to 70%. For extreme cases, you can increase your sidelap to 80%.

Below are some general tips to ensure you get the best results when mapping areas with tall objects and elevation.

  • Adjust your flight direction so legs are not as long — and there is more sidelap.
  • The taller the buildings are in your area, the greater sidelap you will want.
  • If you’re flying low, then we suggest you fly with a higher sidelap.
  • Avoid buildings taller than five stories.

Why Sidelap Helps When Mapping Areas with Varied Elevation

By increasing the sidelap of a mission, you are increasing the number of times an area on the map will be captured in a Live Map frame. Every time a new frame gets added to the Live Map, the area captured in that frame refreshes, which orthorectifies that section of the map. By increasing the number of times an area refreshes, you are increasing the amount — and quality — of data that is used to correctly orthorectify a given area of the map.

Setting Frontlap and Flight Speed

If you are mapping an area with complex features or geometry, then the best way to improve the quality of your Live Map is to decrease your flight speed. You can do this by:

  • Limiting the max flight speed
  • Increasing your frontlap will also decrease your max flight speed, but remember that this causes you to take more images. Extra images will only be an issue if you are mapping large areas.
Flying your drone

Maintain a Strong Connection with Your Drone at all Times

Live Map uses DJI’s live video feed to process data in real time. The live video is transmitted via DJI’s Lightbridge or Occusync technology. Which means your Live Map quality is largely dependent on the quality of the live video transmission.

Here are some tips for boosting the live video signal quality, and producing higher quality Live Maps:

  • Reduce the distance between the drone and the main controller. For larger maps, take off from the center of your mission plan.
  • Reduce any physical obstructions between the drone and the main controller. If possible, avoid flying near trees, buildings, and power lines. Fly from a high vantage point like a rooftop or hill and always maintain a clear line of site.
  • Point your main controller toward your drone.
  • Set your DJI channel mode to “auto” in “Image Transmission Settings.” To do this, open DJI Go 4, select the 3 dots in the top right corner, and then select the “HD” icon. Make sure you set the channel mode to “Auto”.
  • Pick a custom channel in “Image Transmission Settings.” For small Live Maps (<10 acres) use 5.8GHz and pick the most stable channel (represented by the largest green bar).
  • For large Live Maps (>10 acres) use 2.4GHz and pick the most stable channel (represented by the largest green bar).
  • Because of the Occusync technology, the Mavic Pro often has the best signal quality.
  • Newer drones have better signal quality (P4P, Inspire 2, M200).

Where to Learn More

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