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Autonomous Mission Planning For 3D Mapping / Photogrammetry Tutorial On The DJI Air 3

jaystechvault

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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 Air 3 drone (without SDK). This tutorial relies heavily on the in-built waypoints feature on the DJI Air 3. I have also attached a general tutorial video for the Mavic 3/Air 3/Mini 4P, however this post is specifically for the DJI Air 3 and its RC's.

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

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

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Polygon selection tool
Make a selection for an area to map

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

1707008170161.png

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

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

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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)

SOME ANDROID DEVICES are having issues, specifically Google phones. There is no solution at the time so just use a different device or consider purchasing the RC 2 if you want to map that badly.

DJI RC-N2 w/ Apple Device:

Download the file:
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Save to files > On My iPhone > DJI Fly > wayline_mission > (There should be a folder named a random string of numbers and letters)
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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.
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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:
 
Pardon my potentially silly question... These look like the same steps as Litchi Mission Hub and conversion with litchiutilities.com. Is there an advantage I'm missing in using (paying) for waypointmap.com?
 
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Just curious, why are you flying from end to end of the field to get shots in stead of getting adjacent shots and save a lot of flying / battery? Looks like you're getting two on one side of the field, then two on the other, instead of all the left shots, then all the right shots. is this a requirement of photogrammetry?
1708885304845.png
 
Just curious, why are you flying from end to end of the field to get shots in stead of getting adjacent shots and save a lot of flying / battery? Looks like you're getting two on one side of the field, then two on the other, instead of all the left shots, then all the right shots. is this a requirement of photogrammetry?
View attachment 172926
So for the free version you just use the timed shots feature. Thats so it flies with the minimum number of points but you take pictures all in that duration.
 
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