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Pix4D

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by birdheezy, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. birdheezy

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    Wasn't sure if this post should go here or in the Vision 2 Plus forum, seeing as that is the only supported copter at this point.

    http://pix4d.com/pix4dmapper-app/

    So I downloaded the android app and the PC software and wanted to give this thing a shot (the free version of course) I played around with their demo file that comes with the PC software and felt like it's pretty straight forward. It's a lot of fun to play with if you're curious.

    First impressions: the android app is TERRIBLE! absolute crap. It crashes constantly and doesn't cache maps for offline use. I was using my phone, so i'd have to dissconnect from the vision wifi, get the maps over 4G, turn wifi back on and go right back into the app. if you force quit the app (had to do it several times) it looses all the maps. very frustrating. Also the camera controls don't work if you're using the 7th channel or have the transmitter set to the "upgraded" version. I re-calibrated the 7th channel right before i went out and something go screwed up so i had no control over the camera whatsoever, that was my fault. However, i figured the Pix4D app would take over and control the camera for me... seeing how that's part of the SDK and all right? Well i got a bunch of worthless photos with the camera pointed straight ahead lol. So it was 2 wasted flights. I'm charging the batteries now and will try later (hopefully before it's dark)

    Another issue with the app is that you can't zoom in all the way when trying to plan your "route" or flight pattern, the app crashes as soon as your do.

    As of right now it's only the rectangular pattern which is flown at 2m/s. you can change the width and height of the pattern but not altitude which is a bummer. I wanted to do the nearby soccer stadium, but the light towers are over 50m tall. (50m is the unchangeable altitude at this point). There is also a "free flight" mode that says it will be coming soon.

    I did fully complete 1 of 3 attempted missions. The other two i initiated RTH early. At the end of the one completed mission, the app transfers the pics to the phone. The directions in the PC software tell you to go retrieve the pics from the app on the phone, but i couldn't find the app folder on my phone while connected to my PC via USB cable. I then plugged in the SD card from the copter, and the pics were all there so I just copied them to my PC. The files had all the needed meta data in the file already so i'm not sure whey the app transfers the pics from the copter to the phone after a completed mission.

    Things I would like to see changed

    1. Changeable altitude (i think this will come, it's grayed out for now in the app)

    2. A more stable APP! The app did crash while in the middle of a mission, so i quickly initiated the return to home. It did save all the pics to the SD card, so i didn't loose those which was nice.

    3. Cache the dang maps! I mean really? This should be a given.

    4. Custom flight patterns. I think this is coming as well (see screen shot) excited to play with it.

    5. 2m/s is pretty slow. I tried covering an entire soccer field and couldn't quite get it done. I think my grid size was set to width of 120m and height of 200m which happen to be the max on both. Also when you initiate a mission, it flys to the first waypoint at 2m/s. So if you're far away... you have a long time to wait. I flew the copter there manually and then started the mission, much faster and saves a lot of batter.

    6. The ability to postpone a mission or pause a mission, fly home, change batteries, and the continue the mission. If you want to do a large area, it takes a long time and you're going to need more than 1 battery.

    7. Ability to rotate the pattern 90 degrees. The pattern is imaged below, but you can't rotate it in anyway. What if i wanted 120m width by 200m height? not doable currently


    When you first open the app
    [​IMG]

    Camera View. Does give you copter status which is nice, including altitude. Resolution is bad, but that's normal. Screen goes black for a second when it takes a picture.
    [​IMG]

    Center the screen on the area you want to map, then hit the box with arrows icon to move the pattern onto the area. Sat view. 200mX120m pattern
    [​IMG]

    Same as above but the maps view
    [​IMG]
     
  2. wat17

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    Good review. Interested to see how others go.
     
  3. Pix4D_support

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    Hi birdheezy,

    Here is the Pix4D Team!

    Thank you very much for the fast feedback!
    We feel truly honored to have professional responses regarding our new product.

    Our BETA version of the app aims to provide the most straight forward way for Phantom users to have a glance through of the mapping ability they could achieve.
    As this is a BETA version, we are still working on adding more customized options as well as making the system much more stable.

    So for the improvements:

    Width and height values of the grid are now limited due to the battery capacity and the options were picked based our tests to make a flight without taking any risks.
    The settings of grid size, overlap, altitude, and more flexible flight plans (free plans or rotatable grid plans) will be indeed updated for the upcoming versions.

    The drone is indeed flying at 2m/s, and we are also a bit frustrated on the speed! We are right now checking if we can speed up the drone without security and image blurriness issues.

    For the map cache issue, it was a bug of the web map service API that we are using. Mapbox just released a patch for us a few days ago, so we will be able to integrate the maps caching in the near future.

    Postponing or pausing a mission is a very helpful suggestion that we have not yet thought about, and we will definitely take this into consideration and put it on our list.

    Thanks again for your review, and we hope you'll keep using the app. We have already made a huge amount of bug fix that we will release next week.

    Best Regards,
    Pix4D Team
     
  4. wat17

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    Hi Pix4D. Welcome to Phantom Pilots.

    What kind of costs are involved in turning these photos into 3D models and the like?
     
  5. birdheezy

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    Thanks for the response! I honestly forgot this was a beta app haha. I hope my constructive criticizes didn't come off too harsh, i'm very excited to get out and use this app with the camera facing down! ;)

    Very excited to see where you guys take this app/functionality in the future.

    Looks like for 1 month it's 260 Euros, a year is 2,600 and a 1 time payment of 6,500 euros. That's just what i saw from their site, not sure if there's a special for the DJI crowd. The free version seems to do a lot from what i can tell, but i'm in no way using this to its full extent, just messing around.
     
  6. wat17

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    Yeah that is what I saw. For something I would like to have a play with for fun its out of my price range.
     
  7. Pix4D_support

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    Hi birdheezy and wat17,

    Thanks for the welcoming and nice to meet you here too!

    We provide a completely free version of the software - Pix4Dmapper Discovery, which has exactly the same features as the Pro version with no time limits. Restrictions are only on exports.
    Please feel free to download the Discovery version from Pix4D website and give it a try :)
    You may find more information in : https://support.pix4d.com/entries/58577 ... -Discovery

    Do not worry if you have any issues concerning the usage, there are lots of details on our knowledge base as well!
    https://support.pix4d.com/categories/20 ... ledge-Base
    Enjoy the fun with mapping!

    Pix4D Team
     
  8. thermalmonster

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    Hi Guys

    Hoping you can help.
    I`m running the pix4d app on a Samsung galaxy phone OS4.4
    I experience the same frustrations as you above with no Cache for the maps and crashing when you zoom in.
    Even Worse!!, when I go to Launch the phantom by holding down the green tab on the galaxy the app crashes and nothing happens

    Any ideas??
     
  9. birdheezy

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    I haven't had any issues with launching the mission.... it still crashes quite frequently (even after both updates that were published today).

    Try deleting and re-installing the app. There were two updates that came out today. I've played with it at home but have yet to use them on a mission. Might do that tomorrow. Beta's are great aren't they? ;)
     
  10. npalen

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    I'm playing with the app on my Samsung Galaxy Tab4 7" and glad to see this discussion. Have not tried it "in the field" yet.
    I must say that if something is going to crash, I would rather it be the app than the phantom. :D

    Edit: I hope that someone will offer custom processing using the Pix4dmapper software. That "someone" could justify the cost if enough business resulted.
     
  11. methinx

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    I just tested Pix4D today and created my first video.
    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S5NI0-bRZs[/youtube]

    @Birdheezy, how does your result look like?
     
  12. birdheezy

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    Looks great! I honestly haven't been out to try it again since I got my tilt function working again. I wanted to go out this weekend. I'm impressed with what you got with yours. I'm surprised it was able to build the arm on that excavator.

    Did you just use Fraps or some other screen capture software to film that fly over at the end?
     
  13. methinx

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    I was quite suprised with the arm on the excavator as well! I can now fly underneath the arm without really doing it with my Phantom :D

    No screen capture, you can export the video in the Pix4D sofware (the resolution differs from the screenshots so in the final video it's not full screen).
     
  14. birdheezy

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    You can export the video without the paid subscription?
     
  15. krimznheidiz

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    Hi guys, any update and sharing on this thread :)