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App Feature Request - Dynamic Ground Level.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JSilvey, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. JSilvey

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    Hello everyone.

    I've been watching these forums for a while and even chimed in a few times. I’m grateful for this community, it's made my P3P really fun to own and learn new things.

    What I would like to see is a dynamic ground level adjustment in either DJI Go (which probably won't happen), Litchi, AutoPilot, Verticle Studio, etc. Instead of the static altitude that is taken from the home point.

    For example:

    I like to fly my P3P at about 300' - 350' above ground level. I want to fly from my home, in a valley, over the forest and stream, and up the side of large hill (small mountain) that has a view of my city on the other side of the hill. It would make a really incredible video, especially if filmed at dusk.

    The hill however, is more than a 400’ increase in elevation. So what I want is an app that will adjust my altitude with topography below it. I want to stay compliant with the FAA rules, but I don’t want to have to get myself to the top of the hill to start the flight. It’s a difficult spot to get to.

    I just installed the Itelite DBS Mod and range is not an issue, altitude is.

    So my question to all of you… Is this possible? Would it fall within the FAA guidelines? If It wouldn’t work then why not?

    If any developers of the apps mentioned above see this post, please consider it a feature request. I would gladly pay $10 -$15 as an in app purchase for that one feature.

    Thanks and Happy Flying.



    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  2. msinger

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    It's an interesting idea, but how would the Phantom know it's 300 feet above the ground?
     
  3. JSilvey

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    The controller already show's the phantoms location on the map. I'm assuming it could send the data to the Phantom as well.

    I'm thinking it could work along the same lines as Verticle Studio's object tracking for the phantom 3 where the iOS or Android device does the calculations and sends it to the drone and controls the gimbal and the yaw to keep the subject in view.

    Does that sound possible?


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  4. msinger

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    I guess you're thinking the Phantom could see the ground from the air? I don't think that'll ever be possible at such a high altitude.
     
  5. movius

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    It would need to access accurate contour maps to be able to know it's height above ground level based on its spatial location, which it gets from GPS. I think there are likely too many what, if's and buts here although technically, with the right maps and some quick sums, it should be possible.

    The only other fly in the ointment is where CAA / FAA take the datum from. If it's the location of the controller then unless you go up the hill, irrespective of clever calculations etc, it will eventually climb and be over 400 feet above the controller.

    Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
     
    #5 movius, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  6. JSilvey

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    Sorry. That was a bad way to explain it. I don't want it to see the ground.

    The phantom sends its location to the controller, that's why we can pull up a map view and see exactly where the Phantom is at. I think the calculation could be done on the iOS or Android device and allow the Phantom to gain altitude.

    For example. I have my P3P with and iPad Mini 4 + LTE attached to the controller. I tell the App I want the P3p to stay 300' above ground level of its location on the map. So as I fly over the follow and head up the hill the app knows where I am on my map, it also knows that I gained 200' in elevation while climbing up the hill. So the Phantom would rise to 300' above the current elevation, staying below the FAA guideline of 400' AGL, I would however be 500' above the take off point.

    The phantom does not see anything, it simply share the GPS of its current location with the controller that then passes the directions to gain (or reduce) altitude back to the Phantom. Google Maps and other provide elevation information at specific points. I would think the app could pull this data down during flight or with cached maps. I could be wrong.

    Does that clarify at all?

    Phantom sends GPS info to Controller -> Controller (connected to iOS device) takes the Phantom GPS data and pulls the current ground elevation data from the map source -> Controller sends command to Gain or Reduce altitude based on ground elevation from the mapping source.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  7. Dave from Ok

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    Find a flat spot a good way up the hill. Land. Set that as your new Home spot. Lift off and continue over the hill to see your town. Remove the landing and takeoff in post editing. I can't imagine you would need to reverse it on your way back either. It doesn't care if you go below zero altitude
     
  8. JSilvey

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    Hiking to that flat spot to take off would a couple hours. Flying from my home or the school field next door would be way more convenient.

    I know I can hike and do that. And it may be part of the phone for many, I enjoy some of that too, but there are times that a feature like this would be super convenient as opposed to hiking to the flat spot.
     
  9. JSilvey

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    I misunderstood what you were saying about taking off and landing. That makes sense but I would like to have an accurate returned home point of where I actually am.
     
  10. PrecisionAeroworks

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    AFAIK there is only one system out there that lets you plan missions with actual AGL using a 3D maps database.
    Ground Station Software | UgCS PC Mission Planning
    For the P3/Inspire, it uses a laptop to plan missions, and flies those missions with an app. If you turn the hotspot on in your phone while running the app and connect your laptop, you have live "click and go" control of the drone on the laptop screen. When you click the screen to set a waypoint at 200ft, it is 200 ft above ground level based on it's 3D map database. It will also automatically route around hills or other 3D objects in it's database (like buildings).

    There is a limited free version you can download to play around with and see how good the database is in your area (it's pretty good for me in the hills of Colorado). I hope mission planning using 3D geo databases will be incorporated into DJI GO and all the 3rd party apps in the not too distant future. I fly a lot of survey grid over uneven terrain, and this is a very useful feature to me.
     
  11. dmagnus

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    Location:
    45.141598 -92.631683 Somewhere on the Apple River
    I think there is a misunderstanding here. The FAA recommendation if for 400' AGL.
    If you take off from the bottom of the hill and climb to 300', you are "legal". As you go toward the hill, which is rising all the time, you will need to climb. But, as long as you are less than 400' above the ground on the way up and when you get there, you're fine. Doesn't matter that you might be at 600' above the home point. However, I think you need to be within the max height parameters of your system. And, I really doubt you would have LOS. Hmmm, what about a sheer cliff? If you have to climb straight up, you would exceed the 400' AGL before you got to the top, but I don't think even the FAA would nag you for that...
    It would be nice, however, to have the system (GO, Litchi, etc.) fly "nap of the earth" - automatically maintaining a preset AGL altitude. And, I don't think it would be too hard for the software to use the GPS coordinates, in conjunction with the map (doesn't Google Earth, etc. have the elevation information in the metadata?). One big problem with this, though, is the presence of trees, buildings, towers and so forth - the elevation data doesn't take any of that into account.

     
  12. PrecisionAeroworks

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    This is exactly what UgCS (posted above) does. It also has many, many man made objects in its 3D database (buildings, towers, etc...) and you can add your own 3d objects as well. If you build your own geolocated 3D model of an area from altitude (with something like Pix4Dmapper) you can use that more accurate, higher resolution and more current map for automated close in inspection work.

    As I said before, I think (hope) that this will be a common feature in the not too distant future.
     
  13. JSilvey

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    That is what I'm hoping for. I've looked at the laptop software, however it's more than I want to spend and more involved setup than what it needs to be.
     
  14. Dave from Ok

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    Dmagnus, you are spot on. JSilvey, just stay visually about 200 ft. ( I can tell the difference between 200 and 400 by the size of the trees) set your altitude limit to whatever you need to clear the mountain. Get your top altitudes from google maps. You know what the valley is, you know what the mountain top is. Subtract and add 200 ft.


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  15. JSilvey

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    Purchased UgCS One and it looks like there is a decent learning curve.

    Ideally something would be a blend between it and Litchi or AutoPilot.

    Does anyone know of easy to follow tutorials for UgCS?
     
  16. PrecisionAeroworks

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    All I've found is their Youtube channel
    ugcstv
    And their 86 page user manual.
    However, neither qualifies and an "easy to follow tutorial" :)
     
  17. Martin Smith

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    You can do this in google earth, draw paths and have them be relative to the ground set at a particular altitude. Then export the route from google earth and import into mission hub. works great keeping your craft always a specific altitude from the ground up hills and down valleys .

    In google earth do this
    Pic1.jpg
    And the results will look like this, then save the path as a kml and import to Mission Hub to tweak.
    Pic2.jpg
     
    #17 Martin Smith, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
  18. ADobrovolskiy

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    Hi, we prepared new materials to shorten learning curve:

    - how to use Photogrammetry tool
    - how to use AreaScan tool

    https://www.ugcs.com/files/PDFs/Manuals/v2.9/EN_Quick_Start_Guide_P4.pdf - quick start guide, only two pages. This guide uses Phantom 4 as sample, but common principles will be the same for all supported drones.
     
  19. WetDog

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    What I expect in the Phantom 6 engineering samples is either LIDAR or X-band radar capability. You can buy modules for both modalities relatively inexpensively in quantity 1 and with the work on self driving cars, wheelchairs and toothbrushes these types of sensors should get cheaper, faster, better.

    The fly in the ointment, so to speak, would be the issue whether DJI wants you to push that particular envelope. Remember, you're 'supposed' to be in visual LOS all of the time. If you are near a 400 foot cliff with a altitude sensing UAV you could be 800 feet up and stay within FAA guidelines of AGL. But you would be pushing VLOS. DJI really has to dance on a thin wire here. They want to improve the Phantoms so we buy lots more of them. They don't want to enable idiots. And it's really, really hard to prevent stupid.

    I'll bet there are arguments like this all of the time at DJI headquarters.

    And thanks for the Ground station Software link.