Practical knowledge

Are DJI drones suitable for mapping?

This article describes the correlation between DJI drones and PIX4Dmapper.

DJI drones provide a very good solution for 3D reconstruction of various environments (buildings, fields, etc.) and they are appropriate to generate various outputs with PIX4Dmapper: 3D Textured Mesh, DSM, Orthomosaic, etc. A major advantage of DJI drones is the flexibility with the camera tilting and the ability to fly around objects. This is even more suitable for mapping facades for instance.

Tip: The camera of Phantom 2 Vision(+) drones has a wide lens. The distortions of the fisheye camera are fully managed by the software. When flying however, point with the camera to the nadir direction to avoid capturing sky and horizon background. For more information: Vertical vs oblique imagery.

For an optimal image acquisition plan to achieve the best results with PIX4Dmapper, it is recommended to use the PIX4Dcapture mobile app that allows the drone to autonomously fly and take images (not videos). There are several types of missions available: (Android, iOS) Which type of mission to choose. For more information about the supported DJI drones: (Android, iOS) Which drones are supported by PIX4Dcapture.

To start using the app: Android, iOS (PIX4Dcapture - Getting Started).

Important: The app generates a Pix4D project file (.p4d) that can be used for processing. For Phantom 2 Vision(+) drones, the .p4d file is required to have accurate geolocation. For more information: (Android, iOS) Is the .p4d file required for processing?.

For high accuracy results, Ground Control Points (GCPs) should be measured on the field and imported into the project: Using GCPs.

The accuracy of the reconstruction is also affected by the precision of the images, i.e. the pixel size that is called Ground Sampling Distance (GSD).

For more information about the model accuracy: Accuracy of Pix4D outputs.