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using a drone for fire recon

PhilD

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Hi,

I'm new to this concept of drones. Here in Australia it's illegal to fly drones around any bushfire activity..i.e. fires and/or hazard reductions. With the current fire activity in my state (At the moment we're heading towards 1,000,000 hectres burnt)...there's nothing stopping me from putting a drone up and flying my local area for recon.

My question is....with my new Mavic Pro 2...is there a way I can program the drone to fly a programmed course using predetermined waypoints?

my apologies if this has already been discussed her.
 

PhantomPilotuk

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With the amount of low flying helos and aircraft there will potentially be do you really want to put up a drone flying autonomously?!
 

PhilD

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The thought is that we're not putting drones up any where near a fire but doing recon around a redetermined area...WELL clear of any aircraft and no fly zones..possibly 5km ++ in front a fire. Is there software etc that can help me program a flight?
 

brettbrandon

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Hi,

I'm new to this concept of drones. Here in Australia it's illegal to fly drones around any bushfire activity..i.e. fires and/or hazard reductions. With the current fire activity in my state (At the moment we're heading towards 1,000,000 hectres burnt)...there's nothing stopping me from putting a drone up and flying my local area for recon.

My question is....with my new Mavic Pro 2...is there a way I can program the drone to fly a programmed course using predetermined waypoints?

my apologies if this has already been discussed her.
It looks like you answered your own question... Waypoints. If DJI's waypoints are not good enough there is always Litchi.
 

MacCool

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Hi,

I'm new to this concept of drones. Here in Australia it's illegal to fly drones around any bushfire activity..i.e. fires and/or hazard reductions. With the current fire activity in my state (At the moment we're heading towards 1,000,000 hectres burnt)...there's nothing stopping me from putting a drone up and flying my local area for recon.

My question is....with my new Mavic Pro 2...is there a way I can program the drone to fly a programmed course using predetermined waypoints?

my apologies if this has already been discussed her.
Litchi or DroneDeploy will allow you to design a flight path (“mission”) on your computer. You can upload it to your drone and it will fly that mission autonomously. You could go in have a cup of coffee, waiting for the drone to come back and land. The missions you design, you can fly over and over, day after day. If you’re thinking of sending your drone out on daily fire patrol, those two programs are good solutions. My preference has been Litichi...I’ve found it to be very reliable and accurate. You download the app for either Android or iOS, and it takes the place of DJI GO. After you buy the app, your can log onto Litchi’s Mission Hub to design your flights.

 
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MavikMatt

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The problem with autonomous flying is that you can not then follow the rules of the air - see and avoid. Australia is the same as here in that you should not lose VLOS. I think your best solution is to take off from a safe location and simply climb to the highest permitted altitude. Then just do a ‘fire tower’ scan for any smoke. Panorama mode might be a help if you wanted to take reference photos. From 120m the horizon is 40km away and a simple flight to altitude from a convenient spot could be done several times a day if you wanted to.
 

MavikMatt

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I forgot to say - it’s not so much a patrol that would help imho. You need as much time as you can get at altitude doing the fire spotting.
 

MacCool

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The problem with autonomous flying is that you can not then follow the rules of the air - see and avoid. Australia is the same as here in that you should not lose VLOS. I think your best solution is to take off from a safe location and simply climb to the highest permitted altitude. Then just do a ‘fire tower’ scan for any smoke. Panorama mode might be a help if you wanted to take reference photos. From 120m the horizon is 40km away and a simple flight to altitude from a convenient spot could be done several times a day if you wanted to.
OP just asked about apps that would provide autonomous flying, he didn't ask about legalities, and the way he uses or flies his drone is none of my business. His compliance with the rules in his country is his problem, not mine.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

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@PhilD admirable intentions.
As stated post 7, you'd need to be up for a long time, or just keep going on missions periodically to have any true fire spotting benefit.
It'd be no good just putting up a drone for a morning 25 mins and then nothing else until much later.

You be needing to check the OpenSky map for fire emergency NFZ's, especially around the vast Sydney and surrounds airspaces right now.

Looking up and down the coast too, many no NFZs present for fire incidents.

OpenSky is also available as a phone / other device app, ios and android.
 
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bushie

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I regularly use DroneHarmony to fly pre programmed missions using waypoints.It can also be programmed to map an area. You can plan your mission using a web based version and then fly using the android version (it is not available for Apple) Have used it many times with no problems.
 

Wailuku

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There are a few options I know of, and likely a few that I don't. A google search might help you more than this forum since some seem determined to answer questions you haven't asked and/or lecture you on anything tangentially related. Or just search old threads here, there are plenty.

(1) DroneDeploy (free app w/ short-term free trial version of their mapping software) lets you fly/plan routes including grids, transects, linear paths, and by waypoint. (2) Pix4D (free app w/ short-term trial version of their mapping software) lets you plan/fly routes on a grid, transects, circle an object. (3) Litchi (app, $22 US), I've yet to use this one so far because I haven't needed it, but it seems the most flexible in terms of custom route planning. And if you are familiar with Google Earth you can plan very complex routes that can be uploaded to Litchi.

As examples, below is a Google Earth screen capture of Threespine Stickleback outline I created over a friend's house, but haven't flown yet. It is 75' agl and ~200' long (snout to tail). Also below is a screen capture from photographer who uses this technique for long exposure photography (of the drone itself). Programmed flights are not limited to 2D planes.
 

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MavikMatt

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How are you getting on PhilD? We’ve been getting daily reports on the news here about the fires and heat. Looks horrific. Hope you and your family are all OK.
 

PhilD

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How are you getting on PhilD? We’ve been getting daily reports on the news here about the fires and heat. Looks horrific. Hope you and your family are all OK.

Things here aren't real good, the fires are widespread. Each fire ranges from 200,000 - 900,000 hectares. Temperature here in Sydney hit 49.8 degrees (121.6F). We have cool conditions now but it's expected to get back to 40 degrees ++. We firefighters are now getting help from the Aus defence Forces. The U.S.A., Canada and New Zealand have been sending help. We've just ordered 4 more heavy bombers to help. At tehe moment any help is very welcome
 

MavikMatt

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Wow - didn’t realise your were RFS? You folk are real community hero’s imho. Take care and hope you get some decent rain soon!
 

MavikMatt

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Ah - that gives a whole new perspective on the SUAV question! You guys must employ enterprise versions with IR cams? Agree that even a leisure version at altitude or on patrol could help a strike team. I’d attach strobes to extend VLOS and transmit to a clearsky or iPad with a decent screen size to view.

Given the conditions reported, I reckon wind and air temp would be the main challenges to overcome. Mavics can handle 9m/s but you are getting speeds above that. You’d have to shade monitors and avoid fast batt charging in those temperatures as well.

Love to hear what you guys are doing.
 

Davros007

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I know here in West Australia, there no drone fire spotting I’m aware of. All by spotter planes. I see you can get a mavic pro with an IR attachment!
I do believe that DJI can also put in temporary no-fly-zones: dunno if they have over there in the east? I would say 15km would be my minimum, not 5. 5km is too close if a plane is involved. On the other hand, with the fire chief’s permission, as part of an authorised monitoring, it would be great! And so much cheaper and safer than a plane.
 
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