(iOS) Pix4Dcapture - Getting Started

This guide explains how to get started with the Pix4D mobile application, Pix4Dcapture. More information about the hybrid solutions integrating the app can be found on Pix4D website.

(iOS) Pix4Dcapture Getting Started

 

(iOS) Pix4Dcapture Getting Started
 
System requirements

Mobile device with iOS 9.0 or later with at least 500 MB of free space to store the images.

_ Information:
For more information about supported drones, cameras and controllers: 203991609.
List of compatible drones:
  • DJI Inspire 1 and Inspire 1 Pro (I1).
  • DJI Inspire 2 (I2).
  • DJI Mavic Pro (MP).
  • DJI Matrice 100 (M100)
  • DJI Phantom 2 Vision (P2V).
  • DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ (P2V+).
  • DJI Phantom 3 Advanced (P3A).
  • DJI Phantom 3 Professional (P3P).
  • DJI Phantom 3 Standard (P3S).
  • DJI Phantom 4 (P4).
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro (P4P).
  • All other DJI drones supporting SDK 3: Not tested. Pix4D cannot guarantee that it will work with other drones.
  • Parrot Bebop 2 (B2).
For the sake of clarity the previous acronyms are used to refer to the different supported drones. Other acronyms:
  • DJI refers to all DJI drones.
  • P2V(+) refers to both P2V and P2V+.

 

Download and install

1. Download and install the latest iOS app via the App Store. Releases notes: 115001510566 (main), 209636406 (P2V and P2V+).

Pix4Dcapture 1.7  

2. Open the app and make sure to have Internet connection on the device. This is required to log in.

_ Note: (DJI) The first time the application is opened, it requires an Internet connection to get the DJI SDK token. For more information: 204194889.

3. In the Login screen, enter the Pix4D User Account Email and Password. To create an account follow the instructions: 204708735.
4. Tap Log in.

 

Step 1. Prepare the drone
 
_ Warning: Know the drone and how to fly it manually.
Before using Pix4Dcapture, 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.

Before taking off, the app sends the drone the GPS position of predefined waypoints that the drone will follow during the automated flight. The app sends commands:

  • To the controller either via Wi-Fi (P2V, P2V+, P3S) or a USB cable (I1, I2, M100, MP, P3A, P3P, P4). The controller then forwards the signal to the drone using DJI wireless network.
  • Directly to the drone via Wi-Fi (B2). It is also possible to use an external controller like a Skycontroller. The app-controller and controller-drone connections both use Wi-Fi.

When flying with Pix4Dcapture:

  • Connection with the drone is required:
    (P2V, P2V+) If the connection is broken, images are not taken anymore because the app is responsible for triggering the drone's camera. However it continues the flight as the waypoints are uploaded to the drone before taking off.
    (I1, I2, M100, MP, P3A, P3P, P3S, P4, P4P, B2) If the connection is broken, the drone continues the mission and still takes images in locations that were defined and uploaded to the drone before taking off.
  • Good GPS signal is required: 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 (e.g. close to large metallic structures, where the GPS signal bounces back on objects such as high buildings). Manual control is required to get the drone back.
  • Obstacles: Ensure that no obstacle is between the drone home/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 to the drone is broken and the battery is under 15%, the drone lands where it is. Manual control might be required at that stage.
  • Drone firmware: Make sure to have the LATEST FIRMWARE installed on the drone. Use DJI VISION (P2V, P2V+), DJI GO (I1, M100, P3A, P3P, P3S, P4), DJI GO 4 (I2, MP, P4P) or Parrot FreeFlight Pro (B2) to check the status of the firmware.

_ Important:
  • Choose a clear takeoff/landing zone of at least 10 by 10 meters that can easily acquire GPS signal.
  • Before taking off, check that:
    • The drone and controller's 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
 
_ Note:
Some screenshots in the following sections can be specific to a drone, meaning that they might not always match what is actually displayed on the device's screen.

1. Start Pix4Dcapture.
2. Select the drone.

2.1. In the Home screen, tap Settings .
2.2. Tap Choose your drone and select the drone. Scroll right if needed.
2.3. Restart the app: 209626486.



3. In the Home screen, choose the type of mission. For more information: 209960726. Free Flight Mission is only recommended for advanced users.

_ Important: Not all types of missions are available for all supported drones.



4. In the Home screen, select Grid Mission, Double Grid Mission or Circular Mission. The Map view appears and a roadmap or satellite background is loaded.

_ Tip:
  • If there is the Internet connection, a background map is displayed.
  • The mission can also be prepared in the office. The displayed map is cached and will be available when starting the mission on the field.

2. (optional) In the Map view, tap Settings  to personalize the flight plan. For more information about the settings: 204010419.
3. (optional) Select the desired flight altitude. For more information: 204010419.
4. Place the grid over the area of interest. For more information about the flight plan (position, orientation, and color/size): 204010419.
5. 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) Turn on the drone and the controller.

_ Warning:
  • (DJI) TURN ON THE 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 using the Camera view by tapping . For more information: 204010419.

3. (DJI) Verify that the propellers can be started manually.
4. In the Map view, tap .

_ Note: The drone will not take off at this point.

5. Read carefully the safety instructions that are displayed and tap Next. 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.
  • (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.



6. Connect to the drone:

  • (P2V, P2V+, P3S) 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, M100, MP, 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: (DJI) At this stage, ensure that DJI VISION or DJI GO is not running in the background.

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: 204765035.

9. Tap . The drone will take 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 mission:

  • Keep the hands on the controller (DJI) or the device (B2).
  • Keep eye contact with the drone.

_ 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.
  • (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.
 
_ Warning: In case of emergency:
(B2) There is an emergency button in the Camera view. When tapping this button the drone INSTANTANEOUSLY stops its propellers and falls where it was currently flying. When using a controller, pressing L1 and R1 buttons at the same time will also stop the propellers. On the Skycontroller there is an emergency button having the same effect.
 
_ Note: During the mission:
  • The map view displays the current position of the drone. It allows to keep track of the mission.
  • The waypoints are uploaded to the drone at the start of the mission. The drone will finish its flight and take images as long as the connection with the drone is maintained. For more information: Step 1. Prepare the drone.

11. At the end of the mission:

  • The drone comes back to the homepoint  and lands automatically. When the drone touches the ground, it stops after some seconds.
_ 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 stop automatically after a few seconds.

 

Step 4. Synchronize the mission

1. When the drone comes back and lands:

  • The images are transferred from the camera's SD card of the drone (DJI) or internal memory (B2) to the device's memory.
  • (P2V, P2V+) Accurate image geolocation is written in the EXIF of the images saved on the device.
  • The app generates a .p4d project file on the device with accurate geolocation and the list of images captured during the mission.
  • Do not turn off the drone and/or the controller until the synchronization is completed.

2. (optional) Image synchronization can be aborted and restarted later. To abort synchronization, close the synchronization window. For more information on how to restart the synchronization later: 204057579.

 

Step 5. Upload to Pix4D Cloud

Once the mission is synchronized with the device, it can be uploaded to Pix4D Cloud. A full processing is performed and certain outputs can be visualized. Additionally, it is possible to share the results and also to download the results and the images to the computer.

1. In the Home screen, tap Mission Manager. For more information about the features of the Mission Manager: 204010419.
2. Select the mission to upload. Missions that are synchronized but not yet uploaded are marked with the logo .

3. Tap Copy Images from Drone to transfer the images from the drone's SD card to the device.

 

4.Tap Upload to Pix4Dcloud once the transfer to the device has been completed.

 

5. An email is sent when the upload is finished and that the processing is initiated.
6. An email is sent when the processing is finished. Click the link in the email to reach the project page in Pix4Dcloud.
7. Three different previews are available. For more information: 208278623.

 

Step 6. Process the model on a computer

For advanced processing options and outputs, transfer the captured images and the .p4d file to a computer and use Pix4Dmapper. For more information: 214516203.

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