I have always loved trying new technology. Since 2013, I have been playing with Drones for the purposes of enhancing our story telling capability. While navigating the laws around the UAVs, I have tried my best to stay on top of new developments. One of the areas that I have been really curious about, which is autonomous flight ( which is currently not legal ), and the ability to use the data from the flights for use in design, previsualization, etc.
sketchfab.com data created using DroneDeploy
So how does this work?
Step 1. All you need is a DJI Phantom 4. The PH4 has a controller that connects to an IOS device. In my case I use an Ipad Mini. The Ipad mini has a sun shield so that you can use it outside. The PH4 records onto a micro SD card, so you need one of those.
Step 2. Dronedeploy.com uses still images captured by your PH4 to create a composite. There is more than one way to do this. The app itself lets you draw a box around the area that you would like to capture, and it defines a self-navigating flight plan. Because we have a lot of trees in almost every area that I would launch the drone, I decided to capture the images another way.
The PH4 has a number of intelligent flight features, mixed with a number of automatic camera settings. I decided to combine the timelapse feature and set the timer to a picture every 5 seconds. Then I launched the PH4 and hovered it over the building. Then I activated the intelligent flight feature, that is called POINT of interest. It sends the PH4 into an orbit around the object. Once the POI is set, I maneuvered the PH4 to create a larger radius, and manilated the tilt on the gimbal to make sure that the building was in the center of frame. Once the radius is set, you can set the cycle to begin, then hide the navigation controls top activate the photos. Once the photos are going, you can change the radius and altitude to get more coverage.