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Pix4D and your P2V

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by Byroman, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. Byroman

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    For those of you that watched the Inspire 1 release party on YouTube in its entirety, you got to see a presentation by the folks at Pix4D showcasing their new app and software which turn the Vision and V+ into 3D mapping machines. To me, this was the high point of DJI's discussion of the new SDK (software development kit) for the P2 lineup.
    As a land surveyor, this was the most exciting part of the event for me - and needless to say, I swiftly made my way to the Pix4D website and started getting informed.
    I wont get into heavy details - I will leave that to the Pix4D website. The condensed details are that the Pix4D Mapper app automates your Vision along a path to acquire a series of photos that their software later converts to a 3D point cloud on your computer.

    Today I got the chance to try this out with my Vision (not a V+) - and was very impressed at the results! The app captured 39 photos within a 90m x 60m grid that were converted into a very cool point cloud. This is well displayed within the software and can be utilized to create an animation (check out mine below - in HD!). There is a LOT more the software can do...if you want to pay for it.

    My point is that even if you don't have a practical application for this app - it is really just cool... give it a try! The new SDK from DJI will likely bring on a new age of functionality in our P2's as other software developers push our quads to do more.

    The "Discovery" version of the Pix4D Mapper software (which I am using) is free to download and use with limited functionality - while the pro version will empty your savings in a hurry. Enjoy!
    http://www.pix4d.com

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL9X305PTV8[/youtube]
     
  2. rgc2005

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    Awesome vid.
    limitations of the trial?
     
  3. SPINGLEDOINK

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    The Pix4D app says it is only for a V2+ how did you get it to work on a V2??
     
  4. Byroman

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    rgc2005,
    Check out the Pix4D website for the limitations of the free version with respect to the paid. I can tell you that the free will allow you to view your 3D data and create fly through animations. The full version will allow for measurements and quantity computations as well as surface export options (and much more I'm sure).

    SPINGLEDOINK, (lol)
    I thought the same at first. If you read some of the info around the Pix4D website it will suggest that the V2 functionality is forthcoming. After a few support requests to Pix4D, it became apparent to me that the suggestion was an older reference and the V2 will actually work. If you haven't already watched the Pix4D Phantom "How To" video, take a look below. The tech in the video gives great info on how to get up and running - and he also talks about functionality with the V2.

    I found a few minutes and captured some more data today - turned out very cool! I will post another video later tonight.

    Happy flying!

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMh85Vfz0j4[/youtube]
     
  5. Byroman

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    Here's another raycloud animation...
    There is a river behind the log pavilion that must have confused the Mapper software - created kind of a wacky point cloud above the water.

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss8VYyOeDcY[/youtube]
     
  6. SPINGLEDOINK

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    All I can say is WOW.
    I am a Draughtsman and we use 3D point cloud scans for interiors of buildings using a laser scanner with 3 fixed reference points.
    This is awesome.
    I cant wait to fly a 50x50 mission and see what I get.
    Many thanks for replying to my post.
    I only get to fly at weekends (weather dependent)
    I will upload my results on this thread.
     
  7. Byroman

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    Drafter here as well...what software are you using? I am primarily involved in land survey work so I am utilizing AutoCAD Civil 3D.
    I am excited to see how our office can begin combining Pix4D with terrestrial survey data. Could make for some very cool maps!
     
  8. xitake

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    I'll test this amazing app to map my house.
    However, first I'd like to check with you what happens once you hit "Start mission". Will the phantom take off and go mainly vertical until it reaches 50 meters and then after this start moving through the mapping path?
    I'm asking this because I don't have a big clear area to take off, so the phantom should first gain some altitude before start moving around, or else it will crash into my house or neighbor's.

    Also, is it possible to start the mission after the Phantom is already in the air? If so, I could manually take off, lift it to a safe height and only then start the mission.

    Thanks
     
  9. Byroman

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    xitake,
    First of all I would STRONGLY recommend that your first attempt at trying this app be in an unobstructed area - a field or large parking lot. Trying a confined space for mission #1 might be a good way to beat up your Vision ;) . With that being said...

    When you start your mission, there is a 2 or 3 second delay before the motors spool up. Then the Phantom will rise 20 to 25 feet and pause 5 seconds or so (I assume this is for the pilot to verify there are no calibration issues). Next it rises vertically to +/-150' (50m) - mine did not move horizontally until it reached this mission elevation. Then the Phantom moves slowly to the start point of the mission and begins following the grid. At the end of the mission the app starts to download the images to your phone while the Phantom returns to home (still at 150'). Finally it descends and autonomously lands.
    My recommendation is to launch the Phantom from an area near the start point (NW corner of the flight grid graphic in the app) because it travels to this point VERY slowly. Also remember that the flying height is FIXED at 150' - watch for tall obstacles in your flight area!!!

    Regarding the ability to begin the mission from the air... I am not sure. I can see where it may be useful to begin from an elevation above ground level in order to make sure you had enough elevation to clear tall obstacles during the grid flight.
    However, it seems to me that the entire process is designed to go from takeoff to landing based on my explanation above. Since I do not see any ability to control the autonomous nature of the flight from within the Mapper app, my assumption is that you cannot begin from the air. Perhaps more control over these types of features will become available as the app is refined (it is still beta, after all).

    Post your results!
     
  10. xitake

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    Byroman,
    Thanks for the detailed description!
    I will follow your advice and wait to test this app whenever I get the chance to be in the fields.

    I'm also concerned about the landing process, as I had bad experience with tipping over in the past and since then I hand-catch the Phantom when I want it to land.
    I guess I will try to assume manual control (switch S1 down, as explained in the Webinar 12 that you posted) when the Phantom gets to the descending process and then hand-catch it as I'm used to.
     
  11. npalen

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    I did read somewhere that the mission can be started when the phantom is already at an altitude. Just have to try it I guess.
     
  12. JonasPix4D

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    Hello everybody,

    I am one of the developers of the Pix4Dmapper App.

    First off, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. Both the SDK and our App are new and be sure that we are working with DJI to improve both of them as fast as possible. For what I have been reading, it looks like the documentation is not entirely clear for now, so please excuse us. Everything is going really fast, so I invite you to check our support page (https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us) and more specifically the Tutorial (https://support.pix4d.com/hc/en-us/arti ... mapper-App).

    I will quickly go back to your points now:

    • We are mainly testing our App with the Vision 2+, but from our tests, the Vision 2 works as well.
    • It is true that the Discovery version is free, and for hobbyists, I personally think it is really cool =).
    • We know that 2 m/s is quite slow, and we will soon offer the possibility to choose this in the settings.
    • For safety issues:
      • When you press on "Start mission", the drone does not take off. It does take off when you press for 3 seconds on the "Press to takeoff" button.
      • The drone first goes up to the altitude of the mission (currently 50 meters, but it will be possible to change this later), and then it starts the mission. We however recommend to be careful with obstacles, and to make your first tests in a clear area.
      • At each time during the mission, you can pull down the S1 switch on the remote control and take back the control of your drone. Test this!
      • You can start a mission while flying. In other words, you can fly somewhere, hover there and start the mission from the App.
      • When you hit "abort mission" or when the mission ends, the Phantom comes back to the home point and lands. You can finish the landing manually, or just wait for it to finish. We usually catch it during the landing (both in manual and auto mode), but you should know what you are doing...
      • If there are obstacles in your area, always be prepared to go back to manual mode!

    I hope that you will find some interesting information here!

    Best,
    Jonas
     
  13. Luap

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    Will this work with firmware 1.08?
    Don't want the latest firmware due to restrictions build in.
     
  14. eric.andelin

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    Pix4D is great software. I'm glad to hear there is tighter integration with the P2V. I've used it in a manual mode just guessing at the exposure point with great success. I will download the latest and give it a whirl.
     
  15. Byroman

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    Jonas,
    Thanks for your involvement - your product is fantastic!

    A few questions, if you don't mind...

    1. When creating a new project in the Discovery software, should those of us with the P2V be using "aerial oblique"? It seems more appropriate since our stock gimbals don't shoot true nadir.

    2. If you start the mission from the air, will the Phantom ascend to 50m from where it was in the air? For instance if I were at 25m when the mission starts, would it ascend to 75m?

    3. Does the phantom move to the grid start position at 2m/s? It would be nice if it could fly a bit faster to the start just in case you had to launch from a more remote position (of course, you could just fly close to the start position and begin from there :roll: ).

    4. Will the ability to rotate the mission grid within the app be forthcoming? There are times it would be nice to orient it to fit a particular area.

    Thanks!

    Byron.
     
  16. npalen

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    The Pix4D mapping app and software is incredibly amazing stuff!!!!! Keep up the good work.
     
  17. JonasPix4D

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    And thank you for the reviews!.

    I would still use "Aerial Nadir", but you can test both. "Aerial Oblique" is actually more for something more oblique, e.g. if you fly around a house.

    The altitude is set above ground, of course ;-). Actually, the Phantom calibrates the altimeter when you start it, so it will be 50m above the point where you started the drone. But if you fly at 75m and start a mission, it should go down to 50m.

    We will modify this in a later version. Actually we will also add the possibility to increase the speed of the whole mission.

    That is something that we are thinking about, indeed.
     
  18. Cyclone

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    I got both the app and software installed but cant fly cause of the stupid weather :(

    I so want to try this.
     
  19. MonsieurAnon

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    A few points that I'd like to raise, as someone with extensive experience with 3D scanning:

    Pix4D is not the only software around, and while it's absolutely amazing that they're introducing software for the DJI Visions, the camera is just not going to cut it for some applications, and I'm not entirely convinced that the scanning software is the best available either.

    Agisoft Photoscan produces superior results and produces meshes that are more suitable to applications such as manufacturing, animation & video games.

    Additionally, and this is an important one; a gimbaled camera is almost entirely unnecessary for this type of operation. Most of us are flying more gimbal than camera. I fly with a 390g camera on my P2V, on a 50g dampened mount, and I get results that are suitable for current generation video games.

    ***

    JonasPix4D: I have some questions specifically for you:

    Will you implement support for this software with the Phantom 2, or P2Vs with the camera removed? It is still possible to communicate with the flight controller, and I imagine that the SDK gives you this option.

    Will you introduce support for other types of cameras, or some kind of scripting so that we can tie in our own electronics for shutter release?

    Would you be interested in partnering to develop the P2V as a platform for superior cameras? I have done a considerable amount of work in this regard, as many people on this forum can attest to. I also have contacts in the Video Game and Animation industries and used to work in those fields as a Technical Artist, leveraging 3D scanning of small objects, into rapid production pipelines. We outputted a photo realistic, 50k triangle, real time 3D model every 4 man hours at peak production, and I've spent the last 12 months trying to get this to happen from aerial platforms.
     
  20. dataway

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    When will the IOS version be released?