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Hi all, just got this email from one of our students:

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Hey Alan,

I’m looking into drone mapping software and thought you might be good to poke and see which ones you like. I’ve tried Pix4D and Drone Deploy so far. I really liked Pix4D and the results seemed a little better than Drone Deploy, but I used the desktop version to process (Pix4D cloud was not successful) and I used the photos from Pix4D to process in Drone Deploy so that may have effected results.

Both results were pretty good though. It seems like Pix4D (again desktop version) is a bit more sophisticated, but exports to bring into other software (Revit, CAD) are pretty similar. The measuring on Drone Deploy was a little glitchy. Pix4D cloud version uploaded from desktop version seemed to lack a few tools that Drone Deploy had. Volume for example is not available on the Pix4D cloud version, but it is on Drone Deploy, only in 2D view though which makes it hard to tell if you are clicking the right points to get the right volume. Pix4D desktop the volumes can be done in 3D so you can tell what you’re actually getting.

Any thoughts on these or other products? The two/three outputs I’ll probably be using the most are the ortho maps, point cloud, and 3D mesh.

 

Thoughts? I haven't spent enough time comparing the two myself. (cc @Lewis@IcarusAerials @Trevor - Icarus)

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18 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Hi all, just got this email from one of our students:

Thoughts? I haven't spent enough time comparing the two myself. (cc @Lewis@IcarusAerials @Trevor - Icarus)

Drone Deploy is fine if you are not planning on using GCPs and you don't want to mess with learning the software. Basically, they do all the processing for you and a little cleanup of the 3D aspect. The pricing isn't bad as a temporary solution for a full package sans GCPs at around $3000.00 a year.

You have a lot more control over your projects with Pix4D both up front in establishing GCPs and checkpoints and in the final product including a lot of additional outputs like contour lines, DSMs, DTMs, point clouds, ect...For this, you do have the additional task of learning how to use the software but you also have the ability to spend a lot of time on the back end cleaning up your project data to make it more attractive. There are a lot of pricing options; we went with a perpetual license for $8700.00 with a ~$900.00 per year maintenance fee. Over a five year lifespan, it was a little more expensive BUT it runs on my workstation under an OpenGL environment without any need to upgrade.

You can also look at Correlator3D by Symactive which I had really high hopes for but the hardware requirements and our purchasing bureaucracy dashed those hopes. Over a five year lifespan it is actually cheaper (~&2000.00 cheaper) even taking into account that I had to buy yet another GPU that would run it (FirePro W7100 or W9100) that operates under an OpenCL environment. One drawback is that the available coordinates systems you can choose between to run your projects under is pretty limited but I'm sure you can script that and resolve that issue.

Bottom line is Drone Deploy is good for casual use without much accuracy unless you have a lot of extra cash to spend on adding GCPs to each map (we produce at least 200-1500 map sets of various projects through a fiscal year). Otherwise, you need to dole out a little more money up front and learn how to use the software (or hire a photogrammetrist). 

Edited by R Martin
Pall Mall caint Spall
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Great, thank you for the responses so far! It was my original question, thank you Alan for posting. 

I am planning on using coordinates so I can bring the point cloud created into programs like CAD/Revit/Navisworks accurately and I don't mind learning software, so I guess that leans me towards Pix4D. However, I like the tools that users get access to on Drone Deploy when I share the project.

I like the more advanced tools in Pix4D, but I also need to share with the masses that will not be as tech savvy and allow them to do basic things like view, measure, and notate. 

If anyone else has any other feedback or suggestions please share. Thank you. 

Edited by asettino
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56 minutes ago, asettino said:

I like the more advanced tools in Pix4D, but I also need to share with the masses that will not be as tech savvy and allow them to do basic things like view, measure, and notate. 

For basic 3D visualization we use Global Mapper. It offers a lot of the tools available in higher end GIS products (we use ESRI ArcGIS 10.3), at a much more attractive cost.

http://www.bluemarblegeo.com/products/global-mapper.php

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I recently cancelled my subscription to DroneDeploy and am now working steadily with the Pix4D development team regarding features that they will be adding to the cloud version of the software system.  

One of those upcoming features is the ability to add GCPs to the cloud upload.  Also, any desktop processed dataset will also be able to be uploaded to the cloud side for sharing and further annotation.  We are using the BIM version of the software for these specific features.  

 

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In my opinion, Drone Deploy is inferior and a good starter program for this aspect of the industry. Pix4D is definitely a more sophisticated program. For most users, people argue that the cloud in Drone Deploy makes it worthwhile. However, the quality makes the final product weak. It's definitely worth using Pix4D on the desktop. It's commercially the best standard out there. 

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Question for all. So from what I'm hearing  there will be more demand for mapping/surveying from insurance and construction companies. Is Drone Deploy going to be good enough for things like...

-Roof top inspection/mapping (insurance)

-Property mapping (insurance) and for most cases this will not be more than an acre or 2.

-Daily/weekly surveying of construction site

I understand other programs like Pix4D are better, but what do you guys think would be the best for these use cases?

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5 hours ago, Up Sonder said:

Question for all. So from what I'm hearing  there will be more demand for mapping/surveying from insurance and construction companies. Is Drone Deploy going to be good enough for things like...

-Roof top inspection/mapping (insurance)

-Property mapping (insurance) and for most cases this will not be more than an acre or 2.

-Daily/weekly surveying of construction site

I understand other programs like Pix4D are better, but what do you guys think would be the best for these use cases?

Drone Deploy is great for anything that does not require GCPs in large quantity, AND you do not care to have control over the processing end. Anything mapping/survey/construction is going to require GCPs and a minimum of five per job for a small job. Even though Drone Deploy only charges $75US per map for GCPs, over the course of a year you could pay for Pix4D or Correlator3D or any of the other image processing softwares and have total control over your project(s).

By total control I mean you get exactly what you need and you know how accurate the data is (something the customer wants to know). You do not have that option with Drone Deploy.

Project 00001_report_r.pdf

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