Get more from your Mavic
The largest Mavic community in the world
Join Us Now

Tracking >100m from home when using only phone?

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
My MA seems to be working correctly, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make it do what i want. Hoping for some suggestions?

I want the MA to track me while i ride across large open fields on my mountain bike, without using the RC. Whenever possible, i fly with it, but the RC is not practical for carrying on the bike. There's no place to put it while i ride that it won't get rattled, or the phone fall off, or a stick gets bumped and cancels ActiveTrack. At best, the video won't happen; at worst, the RC / phone will get damaged.

ActiveTrack works at first, but as i ride away from the starting point, the MA stops and hovers once its 100m from the HP. I understand why this limit exists; the control range of the phone by itself is not very long. But the MA is tracking me (and thus, my phone) so it's not at risk of going out of range so long as it does its job. Of course, DJI Go doesn't know this. But is there a way to get this to work? I'd really like a tracking shot that lasts for more than a few hundred feet, but using the RC just isn't an option. Is there some way to work around these limitations? Or am i just asking for more than the MA is meant to do?

I have tried setting the phone location as the HP, in the hope that this would result in a "mobile HP" (even though i fully expect it won't). But DJI Go always claims weak GPS signal so i have never been able to actually try it...kinda frustrating as i'm literally at 11k feet and on top of a mountain in crystal blue skies, so i can see a bajillion satellites.

No mods on the MA; it's nearly new and no crashes, current firmware. iPhone 7 with a thin plastic-only case, also current on software updates and DJI app updates.

Any advice or input is appreciated. Thanks!
 

charlas

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
450
Reactions
163
Age
47
My MA seems to be working correctly, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make it do what i want. Hoping for some suggestions?

I want the MA to track me while i ride across large open fields on my mountain bike, without using the RC. Whenever possible, i fly with it, but the RC is not practical for carrying on the bike. There's no place to put it while i ride that it won't get rattled, or the phone fall off, or a stick gets bumped and cancels ActiveTrack. At best, the video won't happen; at worst, the RC / phone will get damaged.

ActiveTrack works at first, but as i ride away from the starting point, the MA stops and hovers once its 100m from the HP. I understand why this limit exists; the control range of the phone by itself is not very long. But the MA is tracking me (and thus, my phone) so it's not at risk of going out of range so long as it does its job. Of course, DJI Go doesn't know this. But is there a way to get this to work? I'd really like a tracking shot that lasts for more than a few hundred feet, but using the RC just isn't an option. Is there some way to work around these limitations? Or am i just asking for more than the MA is meant to do?

I have tried setting the phone location as the HP, in the hope that this would result in a "mobile HP" (even though i fully expect it won't). But DJI Go always claims weak GPS signal so i have never been able to actually try it...kinda frustrating as i'm literally at 11k feet and on top of a mountain in crystal blue skies, so i can see a bajillion satellites.

No mods on the MA; it's nearly new and no crashes, current firmware. iPhone 7 with a thin plastic-only case, also current on software updates and DJI app updates.

Any advice or input is appreciated. Thanks!
Best thing I could recommend is litchi, it has an app you can install on any phone that allows you to set that phone as the track location. Not used it in anger as such, but works from what I've tried.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zamboni

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
Thanks @charlas , i was kinda interested in litchi anyway but didn't have a "good reason" to spend the $25 on the app. Combined with the ability to save/fly waypoint missions, the app would be worth the price to get what i want out of the MA...but at the same time i'm hesitant to buy it without being pretty sure it would actually work as you describe. Too bad there's no free demo.

Can anybody verify that Litchi will follow my phone (no RC) without being restricted by distance from the take-off homepoint?
 

charlas

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
450
Reactions
163
Age
47
Thanks @charlas , i was kinda interested in litchi anyway but didn't have a "good reason" to spend the $25 on the app. Combined with the ability to save/fly waypoint missions, the app would be worth the price to get what i want out of the MA...but at the same time i'm hesitant to buy it without being pretty sure it would actually work as you describe. Too bad there's no free demo.

Can anybody verify that Litchi will follow my phone (no RC) without being restricted by distance from the take-off homepoint?
Help - Litchi

Says it should, just remember the magic leash app only works on android at the moment
 

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
Hm, sounds like i'm out of luck, as i don't have any Androids lying around, and even if i did, the help states that both devices must have an internet connection which not only means paying for a SIM for the 'target' device, but being someplace that actually has signal...that help page also makes it sound like magic leash runs on a *second* device in addition to the one used to launch/control the MA, because otherwise i'd lave to launch the MA, then switch Litchi to the background to run "magic leash" and i'm confused about how i'd manage running both apps at the same time.

I supposed i could wait for DJI to add this feature to their app...but from my short time on this forum it sounds like that's a pretty hopeless wish ; )
 

charlas

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
450
Reactions
163
Age
47
It does run on a second device, but the functionality is built into the primary App on Adnroid as well, so this just allows you to pop on a secondary android device and pop in kids/wifes/car/bike
 

webvan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
345
Reactions
97
Age
45
In as
My MA seems to be working correctly, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make it do what i want. Hoping for some suggestions?

I want the MA to track me while i ride across large open fields on my mountain bike, without using the RC. Whenever possible, i fly with it, but the RC is not practical for carrying on the bike. There's no place to put it while i ride that it won't get rattled, or the phone fall off, or a stick gets bumped and cancels ActiveTrack. At best, the video won't happen; at worst, the RC / phone will get damaged.

ActiveTrack works at first, but as i ride away from the starting point, the MA stops and hovers once its 100m from the HP. I understand why this limit exists; the control range of the phone by itself is not very long. But the MA is tracking me (and thus, my phone) so it's not at risk of going out of range so long as it does its job. Of course, DJI Go doesn't know this. But is there a way to get this to work? I'd really like a tracking shot that lasts for more than a few hundred feet, but using the RC just isn't an option. Is there some way to work around these limitations? Or am i just asking for more than the MA is meant to do?

I have tried setting the phone location as the HP, in the hope that this would result in a "mobile HP" (even though i fully expect it won't). But DJI Go always claims weak GPS signal so i have never been able to actually try it...kinda frustrating as i'm literally at 11k feet and on top of a mountain in crystal blue skies, so i can see a bajillion satellites.

No mods on the MA; it's nearly new and no crashes, current firmware. iPhone 7 with a thin plastic-only case, also current on software updates and DJI app updates.

Any advice or input is appreciated. Thanks!

In case you're still looking ;-) There is a way around that, it's to Track via the SmartCapture feature, i.e. Gesture Control. It will follow you as long as the battery lasts ! Other benefits including going up/down with terrain unlike the RC/Smartphone ActiveTrack, probably because it flies low to the ground. And that's the other limitation, you can't have it track you from more than 7 meters away so that's not a lot !
DJI Tutorial here
 

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
Thanks webvan, that's actually a great suggestion. After the feedback above I dedicated some time to experimenting with gesture control, to see if it was subject to the distance limitations. I haven't posted back because I need to do some more testing; for every question I answered I raised another.

Just whipping out the bird and moving it around with your hands is not (big surprise) as easy as DJI makes it look "in real life"! There's a reason that tutorial video is filmed on a featureless beach and the people are wearing flat white! For example, the MA will *not* detect my hands if I leave my bike gloves on, presumably due to them having bi-colored palms. Also, you still have to connect with the phone at least to do a compass calibration, then you can switch to gesture control. Possibly you can do this without disconnecting the phone first, but I haven't tested if the range limitation still applies. It'd be really nice if you could initiate the compass calibration just using the rear button and the status lights to indicate success.

I realized you have to pay careful attention to the lights in general to tell what's going on, and did some tests to verify the MA will follow to any distance: it does! So I got excited and took it out for a ride. So far I've managed to get about 10s. of video on a grassy hillside before the MA lost me against the (admittedly noisy) background of wildflowers (in spite of my bright orange jacket). I got the feeling it would have worked fine in better conditions. I had the MA set up to profile me and it was able to keep up just fine but it doesn't anticipate movement well, so the video is framed badly, with me positioned in the "front" 1/3 instead of the "rear" 1/3 as you would generally do with an action shot. The sensation of being chased by a swarm of bees, and hearing it zoom and swoop behind me was...unnerving...but at no point did the MA kill me.

Once the MA loses track of you though, you have a bit of a circus on your hands. I walked back to where it had stopped: face-height and dead center over the trail. Had to duck-walk under it to get in front of the camera, and then several minutes of bobbing and weaving to get it to spot me. The camera had ended up aiming down, so I finally realized I had to squat and get my face into the frame. I think it looks for faces (but it's squeamish about helmets). Then it perked right up, the camera tracked me and it adjusted its distance from me. It felt like working with a very stupid dog. I think we're a few years away from SkyNet still...

The second time the MA lost me was much harder to get it back again. Maybe glare, shadows? I don't know. I tried to grab it but it just bounced away (like trying to hand-catch when you've forgotten to disable downward sensors). I did finally get it to land but I was stressing about battery...I don't even know what it does when it hits low battery...does it RTH from the initial launch or just land in place? I'll have to test that, too.

I should eventually be able to get some usable footage, but don't have a lot of chances to test right now. I'll share it if it happens, along with some feedback on how to make it work.
 

webvan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
345
Reactions
97
Age
45
Good to hear you've had some success with GC and tracking !
I'd tried GC+Smartphone and it stopped after 100 meters with the "100 meter limit" message popping up.
The other good thing about GC is that it updates the HomePoint automatically (unlike Active Track) and it will land on low battery.
Regaining control is indeed a bit of a worry, I can't remember if I tried but maybe whipping out the RC might be a way to do that efficiently ? Or is it in WiFi mode by default when GC is activated ?

I need to look into Litchi again because they do say you can control WiFi drones with virtual joysticks.
 

KingRat

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
414
Reactions
434
Age
60
Location
England
My MA seems to be working correctly, but I'm having trouble figuring out how to make it do what i want. Hoping for some suggestions?

I want the MA to track me while i ride across large open fields on my mountain bike, without using the RC. Whenever possible, i fly with it, but the RC is not practical for carrying on the bike. There's no place to put it while i ride that it won't get rattled, or the phone fall off, or a stick gets bumped and cancels ActiveTrack. At best, the video won't happen; at worst, the RC / phone will get damaged.

ActiveTrack works at first, but as i ride away from the starting point, the MA stops and hovers once its 100m from the HP. I understand why this limit exists; the control range of the phone by itself is not very long. But the MA is tracking me (and thus, my phone) so it's not at risk of going out of range so long as it does its job. Of course, DJI Go doesn't know this. But is there a way to get this to work? I'd really like a tracking shot that lasts for more than a few hundred feet, but using the RC just isn't an option. Is there some way to work around these limitations? Or am i just asking for more than the MA is meant to do?

I have tried setting the phone location as the HP, in the hope that this would result in a "mobile HP" (even though i fully expect it won't). But DJI Go always claims weak GPS signal so i have never been able to actually try it...kinda frustrating as i'm literally at 11k feet and on top of a mountain in crystal blue skies, so i can see a bajillion satellites.

No mods on the MA; it's nearly new and no crashes, current firmware. iPhone 7 with a thin plastic-only case, also current on software updates and DJI app updates.

Any advice or input is appreciated. Thanks!

I have never done it, but you coulkd try the hand gestures mode.... you do still need the remote I think. That you will have to look into - but I know it will do trace 'active track' through the hand gestures control - but you need the remote control to access that mode, but only to get into it. Then you can put the remote away, turned on, and use the gestures.
 

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
I have never done it, but you coulkd try the hand gestures mode.... you do still need the remote I think. That you will have to look into - but I know it will do trace 'active track' through the hand gestures control - but you need the remote control to access that mode, but only to get into it. Then you can put the remote away, turned on, and use the gestures.

Actually, you just need the phone -- so you can run a compass calibration. Once you've done that you can disconnect, then restart the MA and launch it using gestures (if you have studied the language of the front LEDs) then use gestures to set up activetrack -- and it's not limited to 100m! It's a pretty huge gamble in terms of results, but it's better than nothing!
 

webvan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
345
Reactions
97
Age
45
I did a test session yesterday on a bike outing where I had slipped it into a small frame bag and it worked great. I didn't do any fancy tracking and I wasn't going very fast, maybe 15 kph max but it worked fine. I couldn't get it to track from the front for very long though even though some comments in the DJI video seemed to imply it was possible. In the video DJI say you can choose "Profile" tracking in the app but if you open the app the 100 meter limit is going to kick in normally. Unless maybe you start the SG tracking first (by starting video recording) then connect with the app, choose profile and close the app ?

Another great SG feature are the three automated "group" pictures as described in the video I linked above. It would be great if they had allowed some programming of the distances/modes and a video selfie mode would be nice too.
 

KingRat

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
414
Reactions
434
Age
60
Location
England
I did a test session yesterday on a bike outing where I had slipped it into a small frame bag and it worked great. I didn't do any fancy tracking and I wasn't going very fast, maybe 15 kph max but it worked fine. I couldn't get it to track from the front for very long though even though some comments in the DJI video seemed to imply it was possible. In the video DJI say you can choose "Profile" tracking in the app but if you open the app the 100 meter limit is going to kick in normally. Unless maybe you start the SG tracking first (by starting video recording) then connect with the app, choose profile and close the app ?

Another great SG feature are the three automated "group" pictures as described in the video I linked above. It would be great if they had allowed some programming of the distances/modes and a video selfie mode would be nice too.

Sorry - what does SG stand for please? I can't work it out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thomas B

webvan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2017
Messages
345
Reactions
97
Age
45
So I gave this topic another go today and the results were mixed...
- Litchi does not follow in "follow mode" without the RC it seems. I clicked on "Start", it popped up a warning message about safety, clicked "ok" and...nothing happened.
- Litchi's "Smart Track" mode does work with the phone only but does not appear to be very "smart" as it only seems to track in "trace" mode, there is no setting for profile/front/parallel that I could see. My battery was running out so I couldn't see if it went further than 100 meters too, didn't see any info about that kind of limitation. Will read up again
- As I feared, activating SG from the app does let you switch to profile mode but then you hit the 100 meter limit as if you were using the app so I'm not sure what purpose it serves. If you exit the app, SG stops and you have no control without relaunching the app.

One thing I didn't try is take off with SG and then try to connect with the app to see if Profile can be activated with the 100 meter limit not kicking in.

Now of course another option that would work for sure is to put the RC+Phone in a safe place, or better with a friend, and have the DJI track you within the range of the RC ;-)
 

KingRat

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
414
Reactions
434
Age
60
Location
England
So I gave this topic another go today and the results were mixed...
- Litchi does not follow in "follow mode" without the RC it seems. I clicked on "Start", it popped up a warning message about safety, clicked "ok" and...nothing happened.
- Litchi's "Smart Track" mode does work with the phone only but does not appear to be very "smart" as it only seems to track in "trace" mode, there is no setting for profile/front/parallel that I could see. My battery was running out so I couldn't see if it went further than 100 meters too, didn't see any info about that kind of limitation. Will read up again
- As I feared, activating SG from the app does let you switch to profile mode but then you hit the 100 meter limit as if you were using the app so I'm not sure what purpose it serves. If you exit the app, SG stops and you have no control without relaunching the app.

One thing I didn't try is take off with SG and then try to connect with the app to see if Profile can be activated with the 100 meter limit not kicking in.

Now of course another option that would work for sure is to put the RC+Phone in a safe place, or better with a friend, and have the DJI track you within the range of the RC ;-)

I will ask again - what is SG please?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thomas B

Thomas B

Moderator
Staff Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
Messages
16,125
Reactions
30,625
Location
Gilbert, Arizona
I did a test session yesterday on a bike outing where I had slipped it into a small frame bag and it worked great. I didn't do any fancy tracking and I wasn't going very fast, maybe 15 kph max but it worked fine. I couldn't get it to track from the front for very long though even though some comments in the DJI video seemed to imply it was possible. In the video DJI say you can choose "Profile" tracking in the app but if you open the app the 100 meter limit is going to kick in normally. Unless maybe you start the SG tracking first (by starting video recording) then connect with the app, choose profile and close the app ?

Another great SG feature are the three automated "group" pictures as described in the video I linked above. It would be great if they had allowed some programming of the distances/modes and a video selfie mode would be nice too.
Please clarify what SG means. I have never encountered the abbreviation and likely is the same for others. This lack of standard abbreviation makes your posts useless to others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KingRat

zamboni

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
17
Reactions
13
Age
42
Location
Mobile
Please clarify what SG means. I have never encountered the abbreviation and likely is the same for others. This lack of standard abbreviation makes your posts useless to others.
Honestly I think it's an accidental portmanteau of SC (Smart Capture) and GC (Gesture Control)...at least that's how I've been reading it based on context. @webvan would have to verify that; for the sake of the thread it would be nice to know for sure...
 

DJI Drone Deals

1. Mini SE - $299
2. Mini 2 - $449
3. Air 2 (renewed) - $649
4. Air 2s - $999
5. FPV Combo - $1299
6. Mavic 2 Zoom - $1349
7. Mavic 2 Pro - $1499

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
108,315
Messages
1,282,623
Members
139,117
Latest member
Dejan86g