Pix4Dscan - Manual

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Manual
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Settings

This guide is intended to explain all the functionalities and settings available in Pix4Dscan. It is recommended to read it carefully to be familiar with the application and to have the best experience using it.

The manual is divided into the following categories:

   

Login

A login window appears at a fresh install of Pix4Dscan or after a previous log out.:

  1. Enter the email and password of the Pix4D user account.
  2. Click Login.
Note: The internet connection is needed to log into the app. Once the login is complete, the internet connection is not needed anymore.

Dashboard

The Dashboard is displayed after having logged in. 

Dashboard.png

From the Dashboard, several actions are possible:

  • Drone selector and status: from the drop-down menu, select one of the supported drones and ensure its status is Connected.
  • Settings: tap menu.png to access the Settings. For more information: Pix4Dscan - Settings.
  • Start flight: the button is only available if the drone is connected. Tap Start flight to proceed with the flight.

Once Start flight has been tapped, the Flight view and the Map view appear.

Before starting the flight, drone connection is needed and we recommend going through the Safety and Security Settings.

Flight view

The Flight view is enlarged by default. It provides real-time video feedback from the drone, needed to follow the flight and to get visual information on the quality of the images. 

The video-feed reflects the same image brightness and white balance as it will be used while taking the images. 

Camera white balance and exposure value can be customized in the flight view when the properties of the mission are not edited or when the drone is not performing a mission.

Note: The Flight view is only available if the drone is detected as Connected.

Map view

The Map view shows the view with a basemap. To customize the Map view settings go to the Interface settings. For more information: Settings.

By default, the Map view is minimized. It is possible to enlarge the Map view instead, tapping on the Map box at the bottom left.

Note: The Map view is available if the internet connection is established. The map can be cached in memory beforehand in case the Internet connection is not available on the field. For more information: Is an Internet connection needed to use Pix4Dscan?.

Possible actions that can be performed in this view are:

  • Moving around the map.
  • Zooming in and out.
  • Switching between Satellite and Street base map.
  • Changing the tilt of view.

In the Map view:

  • homepoint.png defines the home point location.
  • drone_0.75.png defines the drone location.
  • GPS_marker0.5.png defines the device (tablet) location. The radius of the biggest circle defines the accuracy of the GPS position.
  • poi.png defines the point of interest location.
  • north-16__1_.jpgpoints to the North. Tap the icon to align the current orientation of the map with the North, when in manual bearing. 
  • Scale.jpg a visual scale defines the scale of the map.
  • map_switch_to_satellite.jpg lets the user switch from Streets to Satellite base map.
  • map_switch_to_streets.jpg lets the user switch from Satellite to Streets base map.

Tap focus_on_drone.png to center the Map view on the drone position.

To go back to the Flight view, tap camera_view.png

Status bar

The top bar displays different items in order to monitor the status of different properties that are important before and while flying the mission.

Flight mode: defines in which mode the drone is flying. The possible values are:

  • MANUAL FLIGHT while flying the drone with the remote controller to take-off, land, and fly to the object of interest and set up the mission. 
  • IN MISSION during the mission
  • GOING TO LAND when landing or when returning to home
  • LANDED when landed on the ground. If the drone is landed, the Pix4Dscan logo in the top left corner allows to exit flight or map view and go back to the dashboard. 

Connection and datalink quality: monitors the connection to the drone and the quality of the datalink. Values can be:

  • Connected. Within the Connected status, different datalink quality types can be detected so that signal loss can be prevented when the connection is getting weaker.
  • Not connected. If the connection is lost during the mission, the drone will behave as specified in the Safety and Security settings. The mission gets paused and can be resumed later.

drone_battery.png Drone battery: monitors the drone battery level.

  • Green if there is sufficient battery.
  • A warning appears when the battery is lower than 30% and the icon turns into the orange color.
  • It becomes critical (red) when it reaches the safety warning setting in the drone manufacturer application. At this point, the behavior of the drone is defined in the drone manufacturer's application.

controller_battery.png Controller battery: monitors the controller battery level.

  • Green if there is sufficient battery.
  • A warning appears when the battery is lower than 30% and the icon turns into the orange color.
  • It becomes critical (red) when it reaches 20%.

memory_card-outline.png Memory card free space: monitors the memory card free space.

  • Green if a sufficient amount of free space exists.
  • Orange if the amount of free space is lower than 3 GB.
  • Red if the amount of free space is critically low (lower than 1 GB).

satellite.png Satellite number and GPS signal: monitors the number of satellites available for positioning and the GPS signal strength.

  •  A minimum of 6 satellites is required.
Important: If one of the above critical conditions occurs before starting or resuming the mission, a pre-flight check will prevent the mission to be started or resumed and the user will be informed by a warning popup.

Settings

Tap menu.png to access the Settings.

Settings can be changed any time when the drone is not performing a mission. A detailed description of the available settings is described in Pix4Dscan - Settings.

Telemetry

The telemetry bar monitors some important characteristics of the flight.

drone_speed.png Drone speed. It shows the velocity at which the drone is flying.
distance_from_homepoint.png Horizontal distance from the home point. It shows the distance from the home point on the ground.
altitude.png Altitude relative to the take-off point.
camera_angle.png Gimbal pitch. It shows the orientation of the camera.
  • If gimbal pitch = 0°, it means that the camera is looking forward.
  • If gimbal pitch = -90°, it means that the camera is looking nadir.

Return To Home

Tap go_home.png to make your drone return to the home point.

The Pix4Dscan return to home button can only be pressed when the drone is in the air and not performing a mission (mission has to be paused beforehand). After the Return to home button is pressed

 
Return To Home settings can be edited as explained in Pix4Dscan - Settings

Mission types

To create a new mission, on the right part of the screen, tap add_mission.png

Different mission types are available: orbit, cylinder, and cell tower missions can be performed.

Information: Cell tower missions are only available under the Inspect - Telecom version. Contact sales for more information. 

Tap Exit to leave the mission creation menu.

orbit_mission_type.png Orbit mission

Define the point of interest center

An animated description will guide the user through the setting of the point of interest center. 

  1. In manual mode, place the drone on top of the structure/tower.
  2. Ensuring that all the conditions below are satisfied, tap Set.
  • In the Flight view, the green target aims at the center of the structure/tower.
  • The gimbal pitch angle is -90° (looks nadir). To do so, use the controls or tap Set to -90°.
  • The altitude is higher than 10 m. 
  • The GPS signal is strong enough. 6 satellites in view are at least needed to start the mission.

Define the properties of the mission

The following properties are editable on the right panel.

  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: a default value is applied to the following setting. When making edits to this value, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited value with the default one.
  • Images per orbit: defines the number of images per orbit.

Rather than choosing parameters in the panel, values such as gimbal pitch, radius, and altitude are based on the video feed on the screen, so from the current drone position, which is manually adjusted with the drone's controller.

  • Gimbal pitch: defines the pitch angle of the camera.
  • Radius: defines the radius length of the orbit. 
  • Altitude: defines the altitude value of the orbit. 
Parameters Red values interval Orange values interval Green values interval
Gimbal pitch - -90-(-61)° / -29-90° -60-(-30)°
Radius 0-5 m 6-7 m From 8 m above
Altitude < 10 m 10-14 m From 15 m above
 
Important: Red values prevent the start of the mission. Orange values do not block the start of the mission but are not recommended values. Green ones fall in the interval of the suggested values.
Note: Changes to the radius value will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

cylinder_mission_type.png Cylinder mission

Define the point of interest center

An animated description will guide the user through the setting of the point of interest center. 

  1. In manual mode, place the drone on top of the structure/tower.
  2. Ensuring that all the conditions below are satisfied, tap Set.
  • In the Flight view, the green target aims at the center of the structure/tower.
  • The gimbal pitch angle is -90° (looks nadir). To do so, use the controls or tap Set to -90°.
  • The altitude is higher than 10 m. 
  • The GPS signal is strong enough. 6 satellites in view are at least needed to start the mission.

Define the properties of the mission

The following properties are editable on the right panel:

  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: default values are applied to the following settings. When making edits to these values, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited values with the default ones. Only the POI altitude does not get reset.
  • Verticals: number of vertical lines for the mission.
  • Images per vertical: define the number of images per vertical.
  • Minimum height: defines the minimum height the drone should fly the mission. The value should be at least 10 m lower than the maximum height.
    Tap Set to current to set the value to the current altitude of the drone.
  • Maximum height: defines the maximum height the drone should fly the mission. The value should be at least 10 m higher than the minimum height.
    Tap Set to current to set the value to the current altitude of the drone.
  • Point of interest altitude: defines the altitude value of the orbit.
    Tap Set to current to set the value to the current altitude of the drone.
  • Radius: defines the radius length of the orbit. The minimum value is 8 m.
Note: Changes to the above values will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

cell_tower.png Cell tower mission

Define the point of interest center

An animated description will guide the user through the setting of the point of interest center.

  1. In manual mode, place the drone on top of the structure/tower.
  2. Ensuring that all the conditions below are satisfied, tap Set.
  • In the Flight view, the green target aims at the center of the structure/tower.
  • The gimbal pitch angle is -90° (looks nadir). To do so, use the controls or tap Set to -90°.
  • The altitude is higher than 10 m. 
  • The GPS signal is strong enough. 6 satellites in view are at least needed to start the mission.

Define the point of interest altitude

An animated description will guide the user through the setting of the point of interest altitude. 

  1. In manual mode, align the drone with the highest point of the tower.
  2. Ensuring that all the conditions below are satisfied, tap Set.
  • In the Flight view, the green target aims at the center of the structure/tower.
  • The gimbal pitch angle is 0° (looks forward). To do so, use the controls or tap Set to 0°.
  • The altitude is higher than 10 m. 
  • The GPS signal is strong enough. 6 satellites in view are at least needed to start the mission.

Fly sub-missions

Orbit, cylinder, single vertical line, and underneath orbit missions can be flown to efficiently map cell towers and to successfully reconstruct the results. Detailed recommendations on how to map cell towers can be found in How to map cell towers.

In general, we recommend flying:

  • One orbit sub-mission per cluster of antennas.
  • One cylinder sub-mission with many verticals or many single vertical missions according to the type of tower.
  • One underneath orbit sub-mission per cluster of antennas.

The references that are set at the beginning of the Cell tower mission are used by default by all the sub-missions. Select one of the available sub-missions and tap Set.

After one type of sub-mission is completed, another type of sub-mission or another sub-mission of the same type can be performed.

Note: During sub-missions, the references can be reset if needed, by clicking Reset next to the point of interest reference shown in the sub-mission.

Orbit submission

Define the properties of the mission

The following property is editable on the right panel:

  • Mission typetap Change to select a different mission type.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: default value is applied to the following setting. When making edits to this value, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited value with the default one.
  • Images per orbit: defines the number of images per orbit.

Rather than choosing parameters in the panel, values such as gimbal pitch, radius, and altitude are based on the video feed on the screen, so from the current drone position, which is manually adjusted with the drone's controller.

  • Gimbal pitch: defines the pitch angle of the camera. This angle must have a negative value.
  • Radius: defines the radius length of the orbit.
  • Altitude: defines the altitude value of the orbit.
Parameters Red values interval Orange values interval Green values interval
Gimbal pitch - -90-(-61)° / -29-90° -60-(-30)°
Radius 0-5 m 6-7 m From 8 m above
Altitude < 10 m 10-14 m From 15 m above
 
Important: Red values prevent the start of the mission. Orange values do not block the start of the mission but are not recommended values. Green ones fall in the interval of the suggested values.
Note: Changes to the radius value will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the sub-mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

Cylinder submission

Define the properties of the mission

The following properties are editable on the right panel:

  • Mission typetap Change to select a different mission type.
  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • POI altitude: click Reset to define a new point of interest altitude.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: default values are applied to the following settings. When making edits to these values, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited values with the default one.
  • Verticals: number of vertical lines for the mission.
  • Images per vertical: define the number of images acquired per vertical.
  • Minimum height: defines the minimum height the drone should fly the mission. The value should be at least 10 m lower than the maximum altitude, calculated as the point of interest altitude value + the radius.
    Tap Set to current to set the value to the current altitude of the drone.
  • Radius: defines the radius length of the orbit. The minimum and recommended value is 8 m. Tap Set to current to set the value to the current distance of the drone with respect to the tower centerline.
Note: The gimbal pitch varies during the flight and is controlled by the mission in order to take the most suitable acquisition set.
Note: Changes to the above values will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the sub-mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

Single vertical submission

Define the properties of the mission

The following properties are editable on the right panel:

  • Mission typetap Change to select a different mission type.
  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • POI altitude: click Reset to define a new point of interest altitude.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: default values are applied to the following settings. When making edits to these values, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited values with the default one.
  • Images per vertical: define the number of images acquired per vertical.
  • Minimum height: defines the minimum height the drone should fly the mission. The value should be at least 10 m lower than the maximum altitude, calculated as the point of interest altitude value + the radius.
    Tap Set to current to set the value to the current altitude of the drone.
  • Radius: defines the distance between the POI center and the single vertical. The minimum and recommended value is 8 m. Tap Set to current to set the value to the current distance of the drone with respect to the tower centerline.
Note: The gimbal pitch varies during the flight and is controlled by the mission in order to take the most suitable acquisition set.
Note: Changes to the above values will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the sub-mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

Underneath orbit submission

Define the properties of the mission

The following property is editable on the right panel:

  • Mission typetap Change to select a different mission type.
  • POI center set: click Reset to define a new point of interest center.
  • Light condition template selection: extremely sunny, mostly sunny, mostly cloudy, and extremely cloudy. Those are loading predefined recommended white balance and exposure value according to the weather conditions:  General recommendations for exposure value and white balance. When expanding that section, white balance and exposure value are also customizable.
  • White balance: it can be changed according to the weather conditions. White balance options are:
    • auto_white_balance.png Automatic: automatically optimizes the white balance.
    • weather_sunny.png Sunny: optimizes the white balance for sunny weather conditions. 
    • weather_cloudy__1_.png Cloudy: optimizes the white balance for cloudy weather conditions.
  • Exposure value: exposure value compensation whose values range from -3 to 3.
  • Restore to recommended values: a default value is applied to the following setting. When making edits to this value, tap Restore to recommended values to replace the edited value with the default one.
  • Images per orbit: defines the number of images per orbit.

Rather than choosing parameters in the panel, values such as gimbal pitch, radius, and altitude are based on the video feed on the screen, so from the current drone position, which is manually adjusted with the drone's controller.

  • Gimbal pitch: defines the pitch angle of the camera. This angle must have a positive value. 
  • Radius: defines the radius length of the orbit. 
  • Altitude: defines the altitude value of the orbit. 
Parameters Red values interval Orange values interval Green values interval
Gimbal pitch - < 0° 0-90°
Radius 0-5 m 6-7 m From 8 m above
Altitude < 10 m 10-14 m From 15 m above
 
Important: Red values prevent the start of the mission. Orange values do not block the start of the mission but are not recommended values. Green ones fall in the interval of the suggested values.
Note: Changes to the radius value will be reflected in the estimate of the time needed to complete the mission, which can be read next to the mission type name.

Tap Start mission. The drone enters the In mission mode and the sub-mission starts. An estimate of the time remaining until completion is displayed throughout the whole mission.

Pause, resume or cancel the mission

When in mission mode, the mission can be paused, resumed or canceled from the application.

  • Tap pause.png to pause the mission. After the mission is paused, the drone hovers and the manual mode is entered.
  • Tap play.png to resume the mission. The drone will perform the pre-flight checks and fly to the first waypoint that was not reached before clicking pause. 
     
    Important:
    Cylinder mission: When resuming the mission, the drone will first vertically ascend to the safety altitude that is higher than the structure height and, only after that, it will move to the first waypoint that was not captured. The structure height is defined during mission planning.
    Orbits and single vertical: A warning popup is displayed at the mission resume. The drone will first ascend/descend directly to a height equal to the last reached waypoint, then fly towards it. To avoid collision risks, be sure there are no obstacles on the flight route.
  • Tapexit_mission.png to cancel the mission. A popup will ask for confirmation to cancel the mission. A cancelled mission cannot be resumed.

Other ways of interrupting a mission are described in How to interrupt a Pix4Dscan mission.

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