jherm

DJI M210RTK or DJI Phantom 4RTK

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Hello Everyone,

I've been tasked with starting an aerial mapping/surveying program for the company I work for. We are primarily a civil engineering firm that also has mechanical and structural departments. I'm seeking advice on which aircraft platform I should consider. It has been suggested to go with the M210 RTK but I've also been told that it is overkill and I should consider the Phantom 4 RTK. Our uses will be to provide survey base mapping of larger projects, possibly structural inspection (towers, bridges, etc.), updating aerial imagery for projects, and pipeline design & construction. Are there other platforms I should be considering?

Thank you in advance.

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I ask a similar question on another forum and was told the RTK equipment on the M210 has issues that impair mapping quality. The P4P-RTK is much better for mapping. The RTK advantage on the M210 helps with positional accuracy when flying near metal obstacles.

So I was told. I’ve decided to buy the P4-RTK in Q1 next year.

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I have also been exploring these devices and I am also pretty new to the drone world.

However, I have had two interesting conversations with two different dealers. First, as DavidRansier mentioned, the M210 RTK seems to only work for navigation and, from what one of the dealers told me, the RTK corrected coordinates are not written to any images. However, on the P4P RTK, the RTK corrected values are written to images.

The other issue that was brought up with another dealer is that the SIM cards in the P4P RTK are not compatible with the US cellular network. Therefore, getting true RTK is not currently possible. The dealer claimed that DJI is working hard to correct this issue.

Has anyone else heard about these issue who can provide clarity? Thanks.

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Good clarification! I plan to visit a DJI dealer North of Seattle that, I think, has P4-RTK’s available. I plan to ask about the SIM card issue. I’ll let you know what I learn.

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On 12/6/2018 at 8:43 AM, jherm said:

Hello Everyone,

I've been tasked with starting an aerial mapping/surveying program for the company I work for. We are primarily a civil engineering firm that also has mechanical and structural departments. I'm seeking advice on which aircraft platform I should consider. It has been suggested to go with the M210 RTK but I've also been told that it is overkill and I should consider the Phantom 4 RTK. Our uses will be to provide survey base mapping of larger projects, possibly structural inspection (towers, bridges, etc.), updating aerial imagery for projects, and pipeline design & construction. Are there other platforms I should be considering?

Thank you in advance.

You can find these articles on the net yourself. There are a ton of them. You might start here before you drop a lot of money.

https://www.pix4d.com/blog/rtk-ppk-drones-gcp-comparison

https://www.identifiedtech.com/blog/drone-technology/gcps-ppk-rtk-best-receive-fast-accurate-data/

https://www.altavian.com/knowledge-base/use-ppk-drone-not-rtk/

If you are serious about establishing a program I would not limit myself to DJI aircraft. There are more capable aircraft on the market with a comparable price. While the low-cost DJI products are good for making maps, if you want truly accurate surveys you are going to need an aircraft that is capable of delivering that accuracy.

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R Martin, would you mind providing some suggestions to alternative aircraft platforms? We feel that we want a multi-rotor due to the smaller areas we are looking to map. Thank you.

 

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1 hour ago, jherm said:

R Martin, would you mind providing some suggestions to alternative aircraft platforms? We feel that we want a multi-rotor due to the smaller areas we are looking to map. Thank you.

 

What is the maximum total area you plan on covering. That will dictate what you should be looking at. What endurance are you going to need? Will a 20mp camera do or do you plan on operating at 400 ft AGL and need  one with more resolution to hit a specific GSD? What is your budget? What sensors are you planning on hanging from the aircraft? Will you be performing hot-swaps of sensors in the field to fly multiple taskings for the same real estate?

I started with an Inspire 1 with a 12mp camera. It does the job as long as you stick to 90-100 ft AGL on small acreage. It's not the most accurate but you can dial it in with excellent GCPs. It was a cheap solution to get us off the ground. I have recently switched to a VTOL airframe that will cover up to 600 acres a flight in under an hour with a 42mp camera from 400 ft AGL. The sensor packages are hot-swappable and it carries a good mix of RGB, EO, NDVI and NIR/FLIR packages. With a decent camera and base station it starts at about $19,000.00. https://www.birdseyeview.aero/  The Edge claims up to 120 minutes in the air though their sensor options are rather limited. For around $10,000.00....it might be an option. https://www.flightwave.aero/product/edge-uas-bundle/

If you are planning on flying a LiDaR package then the recommendation hands down would be a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 15 or better. My last quote for a PPK mapping solution came in at a little over $60,000.00. http://www.pulseaero.com/ You could also look at the Yuneec H520 as an alternative as well. https://www.yuneec.com/en_GB/camera-drones/h520/overview.html Their Typhoon H is also worth looking at.

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Thank you R Martin. We don't have a set maximum total area that we are specifically looking to cover. It will vary from project to project but some projects may be 2 miles of a road corridor or it may be a 20 acre cornfield. I also don't know if a 20mp camera will do. I don't know if will be necessary to fly our projects at 400ft AGL. I had assumed that we'd be flying most of our projects around 200ft AGL but I don't have any specific reason for that other than hearing other people fly at that height. I feel like a clearance of 90-100ft AGL would not be high enough. The thought has crossed my mind about flying with multiple sensors.

The Matrice 210 came recommended to us by a local trainer. We kind of gravitated to this aircraft because of it's versatility. Our company is primarily civil engineering so it would be useful for topographic surveys and updating aerials. We also have a structural team that works on bridges and towers. I thought the zoom camera may lend itself to these tasks. I also saw it has the top mount camera that would be useful for bridge inspections. Lastly, we also work in the oil and gas field and work on developing and monitoring pipelines.

I also do 3D laser scanning for our company and was hoping to marry the scan data with the UAS data. I know the accuracy will be different but this would be nice to offer a more complete picture of a site. We'd focus on the details with the stationary scanner but then supplement the project with the drone.

I'd say our budget is between $10,000-$20,000.

I'll take a look at what you have suggested. We have also considered 3DR.

 

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16 hours ago, jherm said:

I'll take a look at what you have suggested. We have also considered 3DR.

I think the most important part of starting a business is understanding your client; the task you are going to have to perform. Not just your current plans but 2-5 years out as well. I think you need to build in room for growth without requiring additional hardware purchases on a grand scale. So if you are planning on flying 20 acres next week but 2 miles of road in a year you might want something that could cover a lot more acreage than 20 acres. Next you need to look at your time. You can pretty much count on a minimum of 3X your flight time in paperwork and planning, so you want to maximize your time in the air and not spend it swapping batteries and sensors. If you have a one hour window to fly you need to be in the air at least 50 minutes of that time. Another way to look at it in a 3D view is altitude. The higher you are with more camera, the more ground you cover in the same amount of time airborne and resolution. Also, if you need to cover a 100 acres then you need the capability to cover 200 acres at a minimum to account for the uh oh factor. Things do go wrong even with the best planning.

Don't be in a hurry to pull the trigger and buy a drone. Seriously do your homework on this and buy an aircraft that has the capabilities to fulfill the role you are trying to cover. You are a lot more likely to acquire additional funding if you can deliver what you say you can, and then, when the time comes to upgrade to a more capable unit, the board or directors are more inclined to give you the funding you need.

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