(Android) Pix4Dcapture - Getting Started

This guide explains how to get started with the Pix4D mobile application. For more information about hybrid solutions integrating the app, click here.

System requirements
Download and install
Step 1. Prepare the drone
Step 2. Prepare the mission
Step 3. Start the mission
Step 4. Synchronize the mission
Step 5. Upload and process on Pix4D Cloud
Step 6. Process locally with Pix4D Desktop


System requirements

Mobile device with Android 4.4 or later with at least 500 MB of free space to store the images.

_ Information: List of compatible drones:
  • DJI: Inspire 1 (I1), Inspire 2 (I2), Mavic Pro (MP), Matrice 100 (M100), Phantom 2 Vision (P2V), Phantom 2 Vision+ (P2V+), Phantom 3 Advanced (P3A), Phantom 3 Professional (P3P), Phantom 3 Standard (P3S), Phantom 4 (P4), Phantom 4 Pro (P4P).
  • Parrot: Bebop 2 (B2), Disco-Pro AG (DP).
  • 3DR: Solo (Solo).

For the sake of clarity the previous acronyms are used to refer to the different supported drones. In addition, DJI refers to all DJI drones and P2V(+) refers to both P2V and P2V+. For more information about supported drones, cameras and controllers: 203991609.


Download and install

1. Download and install the latest Android app via Google Play. For more information: 200798215.
2. Activate the Internet access of the device.
3. Open the app.
4. (optional) In the Welcome screen, tap Sign up for free to create a Pix4D account. For more information: 204000599.


5. Tap Log in to access the app with a Pix4D account. Enter the Email and Password and tap Log in.


Step 1. Prepare the drone
_ Warning: Know the drone and how to fly it manually.
Before using the app, it is required to first learn how to fly the drone manually. Manual control of the drone is the only way to avoid obstacles or get back a drone that flies away due to GPS interference. For more information, have a look at the drone's user manual.

When flying with the app:

  • Connection with the drone: Connection is required to trigger the image capture and to be able to take over manual control of the drone at anytime during the mission.
  • Good GPS signal: If the drone misreads the GPS coordinates internally, it might fly away in a random direction. This happens when the drone is flying in an environment with interference or with several high objects in the surroundings.
  • Obstacles: Ensure that no obstacle is between the drone home point or takeoff point and the flight altitude during takeoff or landing.
  • Battery: As the battery lifetime depends on multiple factors such as wind, altitude, temperature, etc., it is impossible to predict the lifetime of the battery. If the app is connected to the drone and the battery is under 20%, the drone flies home. If the connection is broken and the battery is below a certain level, the drone will behave as defined in the manufacturer's app.
  • Drone firmware: Make sure to have the LATEST FIRMWARE installed on the drone. Use DJI VISION (P2V, P2V+), DJI GO (I1, P3A, P3P, P3S, P4), DJI GO 4 (I2, MP, P4P), FreeFlight Pro (B2) or 3DR Solo (Solo) to check the status of the firmware.

_ Important:
  • Choose a clear takeoff/landing zone of at least 10 by 10 meters that can easily get GPS signal.
  • Before taking off, check that:
    • The drone and the remote controller batteries are charged.
    • The propellers are correctly mounted.
    • The propellers/engine are functioning.
  • Do not fly over crowds, respect the regional and national flight regulations.


Step 2. Prepare the mission

1. Open the app.
2. Select the drone.

2.1. In the Home screen, tap Settings ic_settings.png.
2.2. In the section General, tap Drone and select the drone.
2.3. Restart the app: Tap the device menu button, swipe left the app to close it, and start the app again.

3. In the Home screen, select a type of mission. For more information: 209960726.

The following steps rely on the example of the Grid Mission. After selecting the type of flight, the Map view appears and street or satellite base map is loaded.


_ Tip:
  • It is recommended to plan the mission in advance before going to the field. The base map will be saved on the device. Otherwise, the base map loads only if there is Internet connection.
  • Alternative map providers are available.
  • For more information: 115000124163.

4. (optional) In the Map view, tap ic_settings.png to personalize the flight settings. For more information: 115001833743.
5. On the left of the screen, select the desired flight altitude.
6. Place the grid over the area of interest. For more information about the flight track (position, orientation, and color/size): 203873435.
7. Start the mission once it is prepared.


Step 3. Start the mission

1. Place the drone in a clear area of at least 10 by 10 meters that can get easily GPS signal.
2. (DJI, Solo) Turn on the drone and the remote controller.

_ Warning:
  • (DJI) TURN ON THE REMOTE CONTROLLER before flying. If it is not turned on, it is not possible go back to manual control of the drone. This is the only way to recover a drone that flies away or to avoid obstacles.
  • (B2) It is not necessary to have a controller. One can control the drone manually in the Camera view ic_camera.png.

3. (DJI) Verify that the propellers can be started manually.
4. In the Map view, tap Start. The drone will not take off at this point.
5. Set the pilot mode to automatic:

  • (P2V, P2V+) Put the S1 switch button of the controller to the top position.
  • (P3S) Put the S1 switch button of the controller to the down position.
  • (I1, P3A, P3P) Put the P.A.F. switch button of the controller in the F position.
  • (I2, P4, P4P) Put the P.S.A. switch button of the controller in the P position.
  • (MP) Put the P.S. switch button of the controller in the P position.
  • (B2) Just be prepared to switch to the Camera view or to use the controller.
  • (Solo) Be prepared to press the pause button on the controller.

6. Connect to the drone:

  • (P2V, P2V+, P3S, Solo) The connection is made via Wi-Fi with the controller. Tap Wi-Fi Settings and go to the Wi-Fi settings of the device. Select the drone's Wi-Fi and go back to the app.
  • (I1, I2, MP, M100, P3A, P3P, P4, P4P) The connection is made via USB with the controller. Connect the device to the controller using a USB cable. A pop-up will ask whether it can be trusted. Tap Trust.
  • (B2) The connection is made via Wi-Fi directly with the drone or with the controller if any. Tap Wi-Fi Settings and go to the Wi-Fi settings of the device. Select the drone's Wi-Fi and go back to the app.


_ Warning:
At this stage, ensure that the manufacturer's app (DJI VISION, DJI GO, DJI GO 4, FreeFlight Pro, 3DR Solo) is not running in the background. For more information: 210789146.

7. Once the drone is successfully connected, tap Next.
8. The drone takeoff checklist pops up. Verify that all safety checks are green. If yes, the drone can take off. If not, solve each safety issue until it becomes green. For more information on how to solve the safety issues: 204113219.


9. Press and hold the button to take off. The drone icon  goes up. When it reaches the top of the window, the drone takes off within few seconds.

_ Note: There are two ways to start a mission.
  1. Place the drone on the ground and start the mission.
  2. Fly the drone manually and when it is less than 150 meters from the center of the grid, start the mission.
When the drone takes off, it flies vertically up to the altitude of the mission and then goes to the first waypoint.

10. During the flight:

  • Keep the hands on the remote controller or the device.
  • Keep eye contact with the drone.
  • Switch to the Camera view ic_camera.png to get the video feed while the drone is flying.
  • Keep track of the drone's current position moving on the Map view.

_ Warning: In case of danger:
It is possible to take over manual control anytime during a mission. The drone stops short and hovers.
  • (P2V, P2V+, P3S) Flip the S1 button and use the joysticks of the controller.
  • (I1, P3A, P3P) Switch the P.A.F. button to the P position and use the joysticks of the controller.
  • (I2, P4, P4P) Switch the P.S.A. button to the S position and use the joysticks of the controller.
  • (MP) Switch the P.S. button to the S position and use the joysticks of the controller.
  • (B2) Without a controller, one can take manual control of the drone anytime by touching the pilot buttons in the Camera view. When using a controller, simply touching the joysticks will activate the manual mode and the mission will be aborted.
  • (Solo) Press the pause button of the remote controller. The mission will be aborted and it will be possible to control the drone manually.
_ Warning: In case of emergency:
(B2) When using a controller, pressing L1 and R1 buttons at the same time stops the propellers and the drone falls where it was currently flying. On the Skycontroller there is an emergency button having the same effect.

11. At the end of the mission:

  • The drone comes back to the home point (where the drone is turned on) ic_home_point.png and lands automatically. When the drone touches the ground, it stops after some seconds.
  • (MP) The drone does not land automatically but will hover few meters above the home point. Taking manual control at the end of the flight is necessary for landing.

_ Warning:
Due to the GPS inaccuracy, the drone might land a few meters away from the starting point. If the drone is landing in a place where it should not land, activate the manual mode to land the drone.
_ Tip:
(DJI) When the drone is landing, if the terrain is difficult and not flat, one can catch it from the bottom and hold it in a steady position. The propellers will turn off automatically after a few seconds.


Step 4. Synchronize the mission

1. While the drone comes back and lands, the synchronization starts:

  • Do not turn off the drone and/or the remote controller until the synchronization is completed.
  • The app generates a .p4d project file that will be used later for processing with Pix4D Desktop. For more information: 202560819.
  • The images are transferred from the drone's SD card (DJI), camera's SD card (Solo) or internal memory (B2) to the device's memory.

2. (optional) Image synchronization can be aborted and restarted later. To abort synchronization, close the window. For more information: 204716225.


Step 5. Upload and process on Pix4D Cloud

After being synchronized, the mission can be uploaded to Pix4D Cloud. The project is processed and the results can be visualized, shared, and downloaded to the computer.

1. Upload the mission. In the Home screen, tap Project List, and select the project corresponding to the mission. For more information: 204716225.


2. An email is sent when the upload is finished and the processing is initiated.
3. Another email is sent when the processing is finished. Click the link in the email to reach the project page on Pix4D Cloud. For more information: 208278623.


Step 6. Process locally with Pix4D Desktop

For advanced processing options and outputs, transfer the images and the .p4d file to a computer and use Pix4D Desktop. For more information: 214516203.

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