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Autonomous 3D Mapping / Photogrammetry Tutorial For The DJI Mini 4 Pro

jaystechvault

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Approved Vendor
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Jan 29, 2024
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Age
23
Location
Raleigh, United States
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Hello all,
I have compiled an extensive tutorial about flying large scale mapping and photogrammetry missions fully autonomously specifically on the DJI Mini 4 Pro drone (without SDK). This tutorial relies heavily on the in-built waypoints feature on the Mini 4 pro. I have also attached a general tutorial video for the Mavic 3/Air 3/Mini 4P, however this post is specifically for the Mini 4 Pro and its RC's.

1. Create and save at least 1 waypoint mission on your RC

1707007087565.png
1707007104220.png

2. Generate a flight / mission plan using https://www.waypointmap.com (free tool I made)
Tools to make a flight plan:
1707008100125.png Move tool
Move around the map

1707008114912.pngPolygon selection tool
Make a selection for an area to map

1707008138946.pngIndividual waypoint tool
Add an individual waypoint, good for more complex flights/ controlling travel.

1707008170161.pngPOI (Point of interest) tool
Will generate points looking at the center of the circle at ground level.

1707008340697.png
These tools are located in the top center of the map

For the circle and polygon once you draw them you need to generate the points:
1707008399379.png (Click on the shapes with the hand/move tool)
1707008425492.png

You can make some crazy combinations/flight plans as well as edit each point by clicking on it with the hand tool.
1707008480953.png

When you are done click on the green "download KMZ file" at the bottom of the page:

3. Install the mission plan into your drone
DJI RC or (DJI RC-N2 w/ Android):

Note: For DJI RC if you have a MAC you will need to install Android file transfer to access your RC's files: Android File Transfer

Plug your RC 2 into your computer and navigate to
1707007976361.png
Pick the newest folder with random letters.

1707008008048.png
Replace the kmz file with the downloaded one.

The downloaded and renamed kmz file should match the old one (match folder name with the extension .kmz)

DJI RC-N2 w/ Apple Device:
Download the file:
1707007569292.png

Save to files > On My iPhone > DJI Fly > wayline_mission > (There should be a folder named a random string of numbers and letters)
1707007695117.png
I usually pick the newest folder with random letters.

There should be a file with the ending .kmz in this folder, you want to replace it with this generated/downloaded one from WaypointMap.
1707007810569.png

The downloaded KMZ file should be renamed to match the folder name with the extension ".kmz".

4. Select the mission plan
For this you just select the most recent waypoint mission you flew earlier. It should import all of your generated waypointmap points into the fly app. Then you just hit go.
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Make sure to click next then go.

5. Fly the mission
If you are using the free version of WaypointMap you just need to enable the timed shots feature on your drone. So it will automatically take pictures as you fly through the mission. Make sure you click this as you start your mission.
1707006963700.png

6. Generate the point cloud
I personally prefer WebODM because it's free to install (if you know Linux)
WebODM Site: WebODM Drone Software - OpenDroneMap™
Great tutorial video for installing:

General Tutorial video for Mavic 3 family/Air 3/Mini 4 Pro:
 
Jay, welcome to the forum (again) and THANK YOU for being a Forum Vendor.

I can't wait to sit down and go through this thread and give your instructions a whirl. I have a project Wednesday that I would LOVE to use this process with.
 
@jaystechvault is your new tool "Browser Specific"? I'm trying it using Chrome and I can't get the "Generate" to work.

Never mind I wasn't double clicking
 
Last edited:
Quick question - is there any advantage to doing this with the mini 4 pro vs the Air 3, or is that just what you have? I'm assuming / hoping that this will work with both since they both support waypoint missions. I was thinking the Air 3 may be better suited for this, as its more stable in wind, but then again if you're just taking pictures with a large overlap, stability may not be a consideration.
 
Quick question - is there any advantage to doing this with the mini 4 pro vs the Air 3, or is that just what you have? I'm assuming / hoping that this will work with both since they both support waypoint missions. I was thinking the Air 3 may be better suited for this, as its more stable in wind, but then again if you're just taking pictures with a large overlap, stability may not be a consideration.
I have a mavic 3 and a mini 4 pro. Realistically both do a good job. I prefer the mini 4 for the portability though. Especially for all the testing im having to do.
 
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Hey Jay,
My controller has 2 folders under the waypoint folder, "Capability" folder and "Map_preview". Where do I put the .KMZ file generated?
 
Hey Jay,
My controller has 2 folders under the waypoint folder, "Capability" folder and "Map_preview". Where do I put the .KMZ file generated?

Let's tag him and he will get an email notification of your message:

@jaystechvault
 
Hey Jay,
My controller has 2 folders under the waypoint folder, "Capability" folder and "Map_preview". Where do I put the .KMZ file generated?
Are you on your sd card or are you on your rc's internal storage? Make sure you select internal storage from the left menu.
 
@jaystechvault I know it's trivial but how can I get the scale over to Imperial instead of Metric?
 
I just completed my first "Mini 4 Pro Autonomous Mapping Flight". Time to process the data but the preliminary results look VERY promising!!

Thank you JAY!!
 
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After I finally figured out where I was messing up, it works GREAT!! I have a BIG project I'm going to use it on tomorrow and I already "subscribed" for the Monthly to get those extra "tweaks".

:)
 
Glad it works, ill throw that into the list to do when I get a chance between school.
1708497486948.png1708497529775.png1708497570315.png
1708498279314.png

Since you are nearby I'll keep you in mind for our universal rtk attachment testing.
 
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only saves pro files cannot use free . I don't blame him it looks very good
 
@jaystechvault

This is great! Any recommendations on how to select distance between paths? Would depend on altitude and FOV of camera.
 
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free users can save their missions?
They can but the file is marked pro which I assume is for the pro version. But as you say it is possible I will try again it may just be the usual" finger trouble" allied with RTFM.
 
I was able to successfully create and fly a mapping mission with the free version. I saw the result was the DJI curved flight path between the points rather than straight lines.
 
@jaystechvault Great news!! I was able to finally get all of my kinks worked out and the data processed splendidly... at least for the purpose I am needing to use it for. Here's my latest model:

 
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