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Pix4d Capture on iOS

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by GekoDiveBali, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. GekoDiveBali

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    Hi all,
    First post here. Sorry if it's a long one!

    I gave Pix4d Capture for iOS a try today. I love the idea of automated mapping, orthomosaics and 3d creation. I also very much appreciate that Pix4d is available FOC, albeit with few(er) export possibilities.

    I tested this app with both iPhone 5 and iPad Mini 3. The entire experience was quite a disappointment and I felt that I was using an alpha version... Let me explain how it went!

    First, I could not download the maps on either devices when Wifi was turned on and connected to the bird (P2v+ v3). Had to turn Wifi off, download the map, then reconnect the Wifi and the bird. I thought I had already cached the maps for this area so my guess is that the caching also does not work.

    I decided to cover an area 100m by 100m with a slow speed of 2m/s for today's missions. Setting this was easy.

    Next, while connected to the bird, all parameters on the right side were saying N/A. On the other hand, the connection was not written as unavailable. I guessed this meant the app could see the bird was connected so I went ahead and hit the Start Mission button. App showed the connection. The bird then fired up and quickly ascended to 5m for a short while, before ascending to 50m vertically. Similar, at the end of each mission, the Phantom would return to Homeport at 50m before descending vertically. This is especially important if you have trees in your area... Good move Pix4d: you're more clever than DJI in their own Ground Station on this one!

    The bird then went through the mission with no apparent problem when purely looking at where the drone was going. Looking at the app on the other hand showed some recurring issues:
    1) Wifi transmitter battery level was always 0, even with a full battery.
    2) SD card was fine at the beginning of the missions but quickly showed "not inserted" once the mission was underway. I let the missions run through to completion despite this.
    3) At the end of each mission, the app would say "Downloading pictures. This could take a few minutes...". Well, I waited up to 20 minutes for one of the missions and this screen never changed. The progression bar (if it is one indeed) would never move.
    4) I could find between 18-20 pictures for each mission on the Phantom, but no .p4d file could be found anywhere (phone or bird). This pretty much renders the photographs useless...

    There are 2 reasons why I write about this and whinging isn't one of them. First, I hope this could help Pix4d troubleshoot. Second, I'd like to hear about other users' experiences using this app. Maybe I'm just doing something wrong. I have indeed seen 3d clouds that other users have produced and was way impressed.

    Please let us know how you are getting on with this app for iOS. Do also let us know if this works better with Android.
     
  2. gordhunt

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    With the latest update for Android it works really well I did 2 flights this weekend with no issues
     
  3. GekoDiveBali

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    Might have to try it on Android then...
     
  4. socrats

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    android here ,completly adicted!
     
  5. GekoDiveBali

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    How long does it take to download your images and p4d file in the app on Android?
     
  6. GekoDiveBali

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    Also, where do you find the .p4d file? SD card, phone or you get it emailed through?
     
  7. gordhunt

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    It's on the phone takes about 5min to download the files to a computer
     
  8. JonasPix4D

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    Hello,

    Here are a few points for you, quickly and unordered:

    • The iOS version is the really first one, and a better one will be out really soon (probably less than two weeks).
    • The Android App is older than its iOS counterpart, so it has more features.
    • It might happen that the connectivity is bad for some reasons. If you fell like it is not behaving correctly, try to reboot the drone and the App. We work on improving the overall experience.
    • Downloading an image is a matter of seconds. So if after 60 seconds the progress bar hasn't moved, then it might not work at all. Usually it does, though.
    • Of course you don't have an internet connection when connected to the drone, so you have to download the map before. We are aware that the cache is easily lost, and the next release manages it better.
    • The p4d file is generated during the download phase. Apparently, your download never started. You could try to use the images directly from the SD card! Even though the geotags are bad, there are good chances that it will work in Pix4Dmapper (but this is not ideal).
    • On Android, the missions are located in your default "Pictures" directory (usually "/sdcard/Pictures"). You can upload everything to our Cloud using the Mission Manager, and then download a zip file of your mission from your (free) account on http://www.pix4d.com. You can also share everything (or only the p4d file) by mail, using dropbox or another App from the Mission Manager.
    • On iOS, you can find the missions folders using iTunes (have a look at the video here: http://youtu.be/w8L4pT81xCY?t=30s)

    I hope that you will have a successful mission next time. Otherwise, stay tuned for the new release!

    (By the way I am happy to see that some people are happy with the App ;-))
     
  9. GekoDiveBali

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    Hello Jonas,

    Thanks for the answers. Glad to see you guys are hard at work both for development and support.

    Am really excited about the promise this type of imaging automation provides.

    I do feel that the iOS app was released in a hurry. I have yet to hear of pilots getting it to work on iOS... Hence the new topic here. Perhaps you could indicate on the iTunes page that it is a beta version as you do on Google Play?

    Am looking forward to the next release and will try to get my hand on an Android device in the meantime.
     
  10. GekoDiveBali

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    Tried the Android app on a Samsung Galaxy Core Duo (cheapo). Overall the app does feel much more advanced.
    Managed to run one missuing to completion, but all pictures were taken with camera horizontal. All pictures were uploaded successfully to the cloud and a .p4d was created. Do I need to point the camera down manually or is the app supposed to do this by itself?
     
  11. JonasPix4D

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    Some people can use it fairly well, but it is the first version indeed. A new release will be submitted in a few days ;-).

    Sometimes, the drone is reluctant to point the camera downwards. It should do it before taking off actually. If you see that it did not do it, you can go in the "Camera View" and use the down arrow to modify the orientation manually. If you don't get a good live video stream, just press a few times on the down arrow (the camera cannot rotate too much and look backwards; it is limited between forwards (horizontal) and downwards (vertical or "Nadir").
     
  12. dataway

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    I finally got the chance to take out my V+ and the Pix4D app and wanted to share my experience. When I first started up the App and plotted my flight plan all was great. I then took it out to the field turned on the Phantom and connected to my wifi with the Pix4D app and could see the data coming through, number of satellites, Battery %, SD Card inserted but did not see any data coming from the WiFi extender always showed a 0%. I then set my phantom in place and it acquired its home position and I sent it on its way to fly the mission through the app. Everything went perfect it pointed the camera straight down automatically and then took off and ascended to its set height of 50M straight up and flew and completed the mission. It then started to fly back home to land and I got the popup on the app saying it was starting to download the photos, it downloaded 2 of the photos to my iPhone and then the app crashed. The phantom was still under control of the app as it was descending to land at its home point and did so successfully. At this point I was trying to restart the app and it did restart but would not connect to the Phantom so I then tried to start up the Phantom app on my phone to see if I had connection there and confirming the phantom wifi was connected the phantom app would not connect either. I then noticed the camera was still pointed down so having the latest Transmitter with the tilt wheel I tried to straighten the camera to point forward, the camera would move into position but then when I let go of the wheel not he transmitter the camera just pointed straight down again so I am assuming the Pix4D app still had control of the phantom.. The only way I found to get everything back in working order was to shut the phantom off and then back on and sure enough that cleared it all out as I was able to connect the phantom app and see the live view and all data, I then attempted to connect the Pix4D app and it would no longer make a successful connection to the Phantom, the app would come up and I get the popup wifi screen which did see the phantom wifi connection, once I accepted that to start the mission it would not connect as I no longer saw any data coming into the Pix4D app. In the end I was able to download the files form the phantom to my phone then from my phone into the Pix4D desktop application and generate a mesh cloud of the area but the end result was very blocky output and did not look anything like what has already been posted.

    Hopefully the next update of the IOS Pix4D app will address these issues as this is very exciting technology and look forward to mapping some really cool areas up here in the mountains of Southern California.

    Thanks Pix4D for all of your hard work everything looks great and the time you took to create the webinars on youtube...
     
  13. JonasPix4D

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    Thank you for your feedback!

    A new iOS version is now being reviewed by Apple and will be out in a few days at most.

    If you use the images that are on the SD card of the drone, you should know that the GPS tags are not as accurate as the ones on the images that the App downloads (because Pix4Dmapper Capture corrects the geotags while it downloads the images). The good geotags are in the p4d file, though, so you should use the p4d file to open your project (simply put the p4d file and the images in the same folder, and open the p4d file with Pix4Dmapper).
     
  14. dataway

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    Hi Jonas,

    Thank you for the added information, really appreciate your feedback and helping in our community.

    Looking forward to the App update...
     
  15. GekoDiveBali

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    Quick question: would it be difficult to download the .p4d before the pictures and to write it to the SD card? The app always crashes for me as it tries to download the pictures and there is no way to get the correct geotags...
     
  16. JonasPix4D

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    We cannot write to the SD card of the drone.

    But during the download step, the first thing we do is generating the p4d file. Then only we start downloading the images (this will be clearer in the next release). If the download crashes (e.g. you lost connectivity), then you can use the images from the SD card of the drone together with the p4d file that you have on your device.

    Of course if the process crashes before the p4d file is written, then you lose the geotags =/.

    Unfortunately, we cannot do better with the current state of the SDK.
     
  17. dataway

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    The Pix4D app has been updated on the app store...waiting on the rain to let up then will give it a go and report back...
     
  18. bizjet

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    I too went out for a test-drive of the iOS App today. The first attempt was thwarted by a solid refusal by the App to connect to the iP2VP. After returning home I checked the Pix4D Support pages and discovered that my iPhone had not downloaded an authorisation token for the SDK because I had connected the phone to the Phantom 2 VP before starting the App. Pix4D - it would be really useful to have that flagged as a cause on-site as I could have easily disconnected, allowed internet access, then re-conneced once the SDK token had been acquired.

    Second trip of the day started really well. The aircraft flew the mission perfectly, returned home (albeit about 10m away from the home point - furthest away RTH so far) and began transferring photos. However after about 30 minutes the message had gone and I assumed all was well. On returning home I found the "Mission 3" file to be 0KB. Not entirely sure why it was Mission "3" incidentally :) .

    I downloaded the images manually so I have something to work with. I can't really comment on these images as the area was very flat and featureless (a trade-off between a safe area to fly and a weather window in between rain showers).

    I would be grateful for any PIX4d input as to why the P4D failed to download and, to repeat a previous question, why can't it be stored on the SD card. If I can ask a further two questions of any PIX4D staff here - I note from a recent Webinar a MAC desktop version is coming. I appreciate you may not have an exact date but, if I invest in the Pro package now, will I be able to swap for the MAC version when it comes? And secondly - given the "buggy" nature of the iOS App, is there another release imminent?

    For background I am using a small fleet of P2VP Aircraft and plan to go into aerial mapping in a big way.

    I am hugely impressed with the P2VP AND the potential of the PIX4D App. Now all I need to do is sell a kidney to afford the Pro software :)

    Thanks,

    Eddie
     
  19. dataway

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    I attempted to take this new APP for a test and have to say I am disappointed with this update....I could not get it to work at all, the application crashes, hangs, the bottom menu blocks the start mission button but I could not even get to the point of plotting a mission as the app kept hanging. I was able to see the telemetry data coming across and the battery voltage is still incorrect for both the flight battery and the wifi transmitter as it shows 0% and when i tried to close that telemetry screen it hung the app yet again. I am running on a iPhone 5S and just loaded IOS 8.1.3 so maybe Pix4D did not test with this latest update. This is in hopes that a new version is coming soon for IOS...

    @bizjet ... You got a lot further than I did what iPhone are you using and what version of IOS are you running...?
     
  20. bizjet

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    Hi dataway, a 5S, 64GB an iOS8.1.2. Unusually I hadn't noticed the iOS update until you posted that it was out there.

    Now I need to go check this out to see if I can risk an update. I have iPAD Air on 8.1.2, so I guess I could update that and test it there first.

    I didn't notice the battery indicator problem but, to be honest, I spent most of the time during the short mission doing the Walter Huston dance having managed to get the **** thing to work! I did notice the issue of menu blocking the button, though. I think if PIX4D sort this out and make it a stable App they are going to be a very rich company!