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Best models for close proximity flying for details of buildings (inside and out)

AMann

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I would like to do close-ups of buildings and other objects for 3D modeling that may have protruding obstacles that my Mavic 2 pro would have difficulty seeing and avoiding. There would also situations where GPS reception may be spotty or non-existing. Im thinking an Avanta would be the best model to do this.

There are some beautiful videos of flying through buildings on here, and that made me realize that a Advanta might be the best option, especially with its robust prop protection, but I’m wondering about its obstacle avoidance as well. Any opinions about which DJI models might be the best to use? Currently, I’m not worried about blue sky certification, but that might be a concern later on if I get some federal contracts for doing this. If that happens, I will look for something else later.
 
Avata, or one of the mini models with prop cages.

I'd go Avata, though, because it's tough as nails, small footprint compared to the Minis, FPV, and can be flown with the DJI FPV stick controller in FPV.

No OA, but you don't need it indoors. It does have VPS, so it will hold position and fly in N mode very much like your Mavic in terms of how it responds to control inputs.
 
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How well
Avata, or one of the mini models with prop cages.

I'd go Avata, though, because it's tough as nails, small footprint compared to the Minis, FPV, and can be flown with the DJI FPV stick controller in FPV.

No OA, but you don't need it indoors. It does have VPS, so it will hold position and fly in N mode very much like your Mavic in terms of how it responds to control inputs.
How well does the Avanta VPS compare to the Mavic2p’s? The main reason I’m considering one is I don’t think it will get hung up as easily as mine. I do have prop protection for it, but when flying below tree branches and other small overhanging things like that, it kind of makes me pucker up a little bit when it can’t avoid them. Does the Avanta also have the upward facing camera like the Mavic 3’s for visual navigation?

I’ve seen demonstrations of these really cool drones and walking dog robots that JPL (NASA) developed that can autonomously fly and walk through mines and collapsed buildings to map their interiors using both LiDAR and optical sensors, they are self guided and will backtrack to map side tunnels and other places they missed on their map. Some pretty cool stuff! I’d have to work a second full-time job for a few years to buy something like that though.
 
I would like to do close-ups of buildings and other objects for 3D modeling that may have protruding obstacles that my Mavic 2 pro would have difficulty seeing and avoiding. There would also situations where GPS reception may be spotty or non-existing. Im thinking an Avanta would be the best model to do this.

There are some beautiful videos of flying through buildings on here, and that made me realize that a Advanta might be the best option, especially with its robust prop protection, but I’m wondering about its obstacle avoidance as well. Any opinions about which DJI models might be the best to use? Currently, I’m not worried about blue sky certification, but that might be a concern later on if I get some federal contracts for doing this. If that happens, I will look for something else later.
Anything with autonomous waypoint flight plans and a good camera. Mini 4 Pro is obvious choice if on a budget. If you are maintaining VLOS (and you should be close to a building) then protruding obstacles should be a non-issue.

I like Pix4D Capture for flight planning. Its free and worth trying to understand what can be done. I would try it with the Mavic 2 Pro before I did anything. You will likely get good results. Flying through buildings? For fun sure, but for photogrammetry you're moving slow so the advantages of FPV will likely be limited. Buy an Avata because you want an Avata but I wouldn't for mapping. The camera quality is more important.

Sadly, I bought the RC controller with my Mini 3 Pro so no sideloading for me. At some point I will fold and buy the RC-N1 but what I really want is autonomous planning anyway.

Edit: I take it back. I think the SDK for the Mini 4 Pro is not released so I would not consider it for photogrammetry or 3d mapping. I would get a Mini 3 Pro with the RC-N1.
 
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I would like to do close-ups of buildings and other objects for 3D modeling that may have protruding obstacles that my Mavic 2 pro would have difficulty seeing and avoiding. There would also situations where GPS reception may be spotty or non-existing. Im thinking an Avanta would be the best model to do this.

There are some beautiful videos of flying through buildings on here, and that made me realize that a Advanta might be the best option, especially with its robust prop protection, but I’m wondering about its obstacle avoidance as well. Any opinions about which DJI models might be the best to use? Currently, I’m not worried about blue sky certification, but that might be a concern later on if I get some federal contracts for doing this. If that happens, I will look for something else later.
I use the mini 3 pro. Lightweight, small. Forward and rear facing O/A. Prop guards by pgytech (essential accessory!).... and more to the point.... 'Cine' mode that can be tweaked down to match the old 'tripod' mode. You need slow speed and precision control for mapping architectural features in HD... the Avata is FPV.... too nippy. How do I know? Because this is a significant part of the job I do professionally.
 
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Agree with others RE mapping. The Avata would be just about useless for that.

My response was addressing the "cool videos flying through buildings" query. For that the Avata blows the Mini 2/3/4 out of the water on so many points: Size, durability, accuracy with the stick controller, and more.

That kind of video must be done FPV – VLOS is impractical except in a huge open, empty warehouse – and the Avata is going to do that way better than the Minis.

Outdoors, even with prop cages on a mini the Avata is going to push through leaves and branches successfully much more often than the minis... the shorter moment arm of the props helps a lot.

I know this from lots of experience with both, and a Care Refresh trip for the Mini3P 😁
 
I've never flown (or even seen) the Avanta so take this with a grain of salt. I was hired to do Interior Drone Flying for a local company to create some content for their Social Media campaign. It's a Brewery, restaurant, and 2 event venues. When I first agreed to this I planned to use my M2P with prop guards (Not a fan of the guards tbh). We planned the first shoot and I flew through one part of the building with the M2P and it did "Ok". The downside was the camera did not like the low-light (it wasn't dark it just wasn't very well lit.). I mistakenly didn't grab my spare DJI batteries off the charger (that's a whole other story) and after the first battery the M2P was grounded. Fortunately I also had a new Mini 4 Pro with me so I used it. WOW! What a HUGE difference in every way. The camera handled the low light with ease.... the smaller size and less prop wash caused less "disturbance" in terms of dust and crud... the aircraft handled superbly inside with no GPS and I was able to fly over and over and over with NO issues once I turned OA off.

YMMV :)
 
The Avata is not optimal for photogrammetry, for photogrammetry pick the Mavic 3 or a similar camera drone (Mini 4, Air 3), fly manually by setting the timer to take a pic every 2 seconds or so. For mapping you need an RTK module and ideally, the enterprise version, because it has a mechanical shutter, but for 3D purpose that's not really necessary.

If you fly on interiors (big interiors), you can set the OA to "brake" and fly in cine, and it shouldn't crash, you can also put some prop guards on those drones, just in case, if guards are not available the DJI store, try on Amazon for some third party version.
 
@BigAl07 nice example.

As an idea of the difference, I'd fly my Avata through a ventilation duct with an inch or two clearance all around, and bang against the top bottom and sides with impunity and no worries.

I'd be much more careful with my Mini3P even with guards. Just the 1-axis gimbal vs. the 3-axis makes a huge difference in toughness.

For me, at least, I get shots in environments like this with the Avata because it gives me confidence to take risks I wouldn't with a more delicate camera drone.

Outdoors I'll plow right through light foliage with the Avata because it can make it, and no folding arm DJI drone will, even with guards.

I think this is why cinewhoops generally are the go-to drones for this type of cinematography.

Places I wouldn't take the DJI FPV either.
 
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Anything with autonomous waypoint flight plans and a good camera. Mini 4 Pro is obvious choice if on a budget. If you are maintaining VLOS (and you should be close to a building) then protruding obstacles should be a non-issue.

I like Pix4D Capture for flight planning. Its free and worth trying to understand what can be done. I would try it with the Mavic 2 Pro before I did anything. You will likely get good results. Flying through buildings? For fun sure, but for photogrammetry you're moving slow so the advantages of FPV will likely be limited. Buy an Avata because you want an Avata but I wouldn't for mapping. The camera quality is more important.

Sadly, I bought the RC controller with my Mini 3 Pro so no sideloading for me. At some point I will fold and buy the RC-N1 but what I really want is autonomous planning anyway.

Edit: I take it back. I think the SDK for the Mini 4 Pro is not released so I would not consider it for photogrammetry or 3d mapping. I would get a Mini 3 Pro with the RC-N1.
Keep in mind that a lot of great mission planning / mapping software isn't supporting consumer drones from DJI.
As an example the DJI Air 2s isn't supported by Pix4D Capture.
Also Android or Iphone will make a difference in support of a lot of tools.

So I think you are better off, with older models like Mavic 2 Series or Phantom 4 which where by then the professional models and are far less restricted as far as I know.
Maybe a Phantom 4 RTK is now available for affordable prices, and also there are several Phantom 4 and Mavic 2 RTK/PPK upgrade mods available. Probably the price is also low or lower because they are for old models and will not sell that many anymore.

Or maybe even an Inspire 1/2 (I like the aggresive/professional look of these drones) but I dont know how good the support for autonomous photogrammetry missions is, and flying through buildings is probably not exactly the use case its build for.

Also if you do a lot of indoor mapping, I think you can better also get (or make) a rover on wheels, which can use wheel encoders for better position accuracy and will use far less batterys than a drone.
And you can also be quicker (and probably cheaper) than finding a good all in one (indoor/outdoor) drone with good possition accuracy, safe to fly indoors and enough batterys for a lot of flight minutes.
 
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Hey guys, thanks for responding, and I’m sorry for my late reply. I won’t be mapping the buildings and other things autonomously, instead I’ll actually be manually taking the pictures because of the height above the ground and I want to get very close to get high resolution images. I can follow and ‘walk’ the drone all the way around, however, there are times it’s gonna be flying close to trees, boulder overhangs and low hanging branches. I’ve done this with pole mounted photography, however, that’s hard to do sometimes when there’s brush and other things covering the ground making it hard to walk around. It sounds like a Mini 4 Pro with its high resolution camera might be a good way to go with this, provided it has prop guards.
Thanks!!
 
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Fortunately I also had a new Mini 4 Pro with me so I used it. WOW! What a HUGE difference in every way. The camera handled the low light with ease.... the smaller size and less prop wash caused less "disturbance" in terms of dust and crud... the aircraft handled superbly inside with no GPS and I was able to fly over and over and over with NO issues once I turned OA off.

Rereading this thread for no particular reason, in the first (rainy, arggggghhhhh!!) week after receiving my M4P.

Ditto what Alan says above, particularly the camera. I would pay quite a hefty premium to have that camera on the Avata. Man, the amazing things that could be done indoors with a setup like that...
 
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Rereading this thread for no particular reason, in the first (rainy, arggggghhhhh!!) week after receiving my M4P.

Ditto what Alan says above, particularly the camera. I would pay quite a hefty premium to have that camera on the Avata. Man, the amazing things that could be done indoors with a setup like that...
I guess you could mount a GoPro to it as a better camera.

I put a cheap one on top of my MP3 to do 360 VR’s, it’s set to repeat mode so it just shoots the sky above the drone so I can fill in the top of the image.
 
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I guess you could mount a GoPro to it as a better camera.

I put a cheap one on top of my MP3 to do 360 VR’s, it’s set to repeat mode so it just shoots the sky above the drone so I can fill in the top of the image.

Point taken, but that's not what I want. I'd like to have a camera like the M4P integrated in the compact form-factor of the Avata. A mounted GoPro can meet the image quality needs, but not what I want physically.

Mounting GoPros on cinewhoops is kind of the standard... I hate it 😁
 
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Hey guys, thanks for responding, and I’m sorry for my late reply. I won’t be mapping the buildings and other things autonomously, instead I’ll actually be manually taking the pictures because of the height above the ground and I want to get very close to get high resolution images. I can follow and ‘walk’ the drone all the way around, however, there are times it’s gonna be flying close to trees, boulder overhangs and low hanging branches. I’ve done this with pole mounted photography, however, that’s hard to do sometimes when there’s brush and other things covering the ground making it hard to walk around. It sounds like a Mini 4 Pro with its high resolution camera might be a good way to go with this, provided it has prop guards.
Thanks!!
Highly recommend trying out the free Pix4d Capture. You may discover how much easier it is if automated. This supports both the Mavic 2 Pro you already own and the Mini 3 Pro, although the Mini 3 Pro has some limits. At least on my Parrot Anafi, it was super simple and very effective.

 
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Highly recommend trying out the free Pix4d Capture. You may discover how much easier it is if automated. This supports both the Mavic 2 Pro you already own and the Mini 3 Pro, although the Mini 3 Pro has some limits. At least on my Parrot Anafi, it was super simple and very effective.

Thanks for the suggestion but to get the type of resolution we need I have to fly manually as it is too close to the ground and to other obstacles (within 10-feet or even less) for autonomous flight control - I have tried Pix4D before and it is good at stitching and rectifying images though!
 
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