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New drone pilot trying to understand the interface - Bluetooth, Wifi, cell. done and airplane mode

March411

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I've searched the forums and I'm still foggy on the interface for the GPS and maps and how the cell utilizes the services during flight.

I fly an MA2 with a Samsung 8 and it works perfectly other than the phone is a little small for my old eyes. I understand how the updates work and use the Assistant 2 for updates at home.

When I fly I go into airplane mode so that my flight isn't interrupted.

I'm looking at tablets and will only pick one up that has GPS, I use the functionality right now as a new drone pilot.

How exactly does the interface work between the cell, controller and drone. Once I go into airplane mode I have no service, is it required to fly? If not how do you get map updates when you are remote?

Sorry if this is an obvious question, I really can't find a complete answer and want to better understand how it all comes together.
 
The phone or tablet connects to the controller via the USB cable you plug in. That will work even if you are in airplane mode on your device, or have a device that has no cell connection. But you are right, if you get a WiFi only device you will need to connect it to WiFi whenever you need updates.

The controller talks to the drone via a radio signal (independent of your phone/tablet). In the case of DJI, something they call that signal "OcuSync", but it is basically a WiFi signal.

Among other things, this means that you can control your drone using the sticks and buttons on the controller even if the phone/tablet is not connected to the controller (though in the case of DJI drones, the altitude will be limited).
 
Some other threads that talk about this:

 
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I'm looking at tablets and will only pick one up that has GPS, I use the functionality right now as a new drone pilot.
Your drone has it's own GPS receiver, and that the one that matters.
The GPS in your tablet is of very limited use.
How exactly does the interface work between the cell, controller and drone. Once I go into airplane mode I have no service, is it required to fly? If not how do you get map updates when you are remote?
You don't need cell service to fly.
It's only useful to download maps, but they aren't very important anyway.

 
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I appreciate the the information, the insight is helpful.

I assume then that the maps are stored in the DJI fly app that I am using on my phone. Do they update automatically and at what frequency?
 
The app doesn't have maps but can download local maps when it has net connection.
But there's no need to have maps when you fly.
 
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What you do want to have is a compass in your tablet, to make sure you and the remote antennas are facing the drone for best signal transmission. Maps can be very helpful to locate the drone in the event of a crash, using landmarks and terrain features. The last known location will still be displayed on the map on your device, and has assisted me in several recoveries, that would not have been possible otherwise.
 
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Your drone has it's own GPS receiver, and that the one that matters.
The GPS in your tablet is of very limited use.

You don't need cell service to fly.
It's only useful to download maps, but they aren't very important anyway.
The maps will show you areas of aerial restriction around airports and flight paths and may be a requirement for you to log an online flight plan (as I do), prior to flying in a metropolitan area. The maps are also very useful when flying if your drone goes down in an emergency, as you can quickly see and screen capture the location on the map. If you have your drone out some distance, the relationship between map and screen is also very useful. 👍
 
Thanks David, as I'm flying for the first time I like having the maps available.

Generally I am just trying to figure out generically how all of the individual components and the DJI fly functions interact. While most of what I read here is specific to a brand of phone or tablet my goal is to simply have the knowledge to eliminate surprises.

Everyone's knowledge transfer is appreciated!
 
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