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Using Litchi to create Ortho photos with Mavic Air, whats the best way

Kiwi Chris

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Hi, first time on the forum. I've recently got a Mavic Air and have installed Litchi as I want to fly way point missions to fly a grid to create otho photos using Maps made easy. I flew a mission yesterday and used the time lapse function to take a photo every 2 seconds. The results were not to bad, some detail was a little blurry and at the edges of the mission the image was a little "swirly" as the time lapse must of taken a photo as the mavic was changing direction. I was flying pretty slowly but it was late in the day and the light was getting low. After hunting though this forum I found the suggestion to use Maps made easy point estimator program and then export that to Mission hub as a KML (Thats cool as you get a nice grid not drawn by eye). So I was thinking rather than using time lapse this time. I would insert way points along the grid and tell the mavic to stop for 2 seconds and take a photo. I figure you will get a better photo with the mavic being stationary. So the mission I am planning today has 6 passes and 48 images, as calculated by MME, so I have taken the number of images and divided that by the passes to get 9 images per pass. Anyone tried doing it this way? Following on I have just noticed when you batch edit the waypoints you don't get the option to add actions (stop & take photo). So I might have to go through each waypoint and add an action. This is not ideal. Problem solved, joined the Litchi Facebook group and after and hour got the answer. Hold down control and select a waypoint then you get the option to apply an action to all waypoints. :):)

MME mission.jpg litchi mission.jpg
 
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Lucas Galli

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Hi, Chris!
I have the same need as you and I've been searching the internet for an reasonably priced solution (can't afford Drone Deploy's 999,00/year...) for creating orthographic images of small archaeological surveys.
After testing lots of different services and apps, I found Litchi and started wondering if it could do the job. Turns out it can't build the grid itself, but your answer showed me how to improvise. Although i'd love to have all the solution in only one package (be it a service or an app), I think it's the best option for the time being. That said, I'd like to ask you a few questions:

- The first image (green mask) is the one from Point Estimator. I assume the second one is from Litchi website, where you did the batch edit, right?
- How was the final result? Could you please share the image so I can check it out?
- Which is your preferred method for stitching the images? I have the Kolor Autopano, which I use for landscape shots, and I'd like to stick to it, if possible.
- Did you shot all the photos with the same bearing? If not, do I need any additional processing to reorient the images or does the software recognizes it automatically?

Maybe there will be more doubts when I start, but I think it's all for now.
Thank you very much!
 

Keule

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for an reasonably priced solution
You should try one of the following services:
- MapsMadeEasy. Their service is free for orthomosaics up to 250 points.
- Precisionmapper. Their service is free for 5 orthomosaics a month.

Depending on what DJI aircraft you are using, use the apps from above mentioned companies.
(You have to look on their webpages what drones they are currently supporting)

If you have an Mavic AIR, use PIX4D as flight app, you can then later use MME or PM to stitch/render your images. (or Autopano)
 

Meta4

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I've been searching the internet for an reasonably priced solution (can't afford Drone Deploy's 999,00/year...) for creating orthographic images of small archaeological surveys.
After testing lots of different services and apps, I found Litchi and started wondering if it could do the job. Turns out it can't build the grid itself, but your answer showed me how to improvise. Although i'd love to have all the solution in only one package (be it a service or an app), I think it's the best option for the time being.
Can't afford to use DroneDeploy?
Are you sure about that?
DD is free to use for flying and acquiring the images.
You only pay if you upload the images to them for processing.
It's way better than messing around with Litchi (that's not a mapping app at all).

- Which is your preferred method for stitching the images? I have the Kolor Autopano, which I use for landscape shots, and I'd like to stick to it, if possible.
It's not going to be as accurate as Agisoft which will create a rectified orthophoto, but it's a lot cheaper.
If you are only looking at small sites, it's probably not going to matter much.
Just use the Planar projection option.
Did you shot all the photos with the same bearing? If not, do I need any additional processing to reorient the images or does the software recognizes it automatically?
No need to worry about that.
DD ends up with pix at various angles around the ends of the rows and the software has no problem matching regardless of orientation.
 

Lucas Galli

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You should try one of the following services:
- MapsMadeEasy. Their service is free for orthomosaics up to 250 points.
- Precisionmapper. Their service is free for 5 orthomosaics a month.

Depending on what DJI aircraft you are using, use the apps from above mentioned companies.
(You have to look on their webpages what drones they are currently supporting)

If you have an Mavic AIR, use PIX4D as flight app, you can then later use MME or PM to stitch/render your images. (or Autopano)

I'm already using Maps Made Easy for mapping and calculations, but will check Precision Mapping also.
I've installed the Pix4D app but, for unknown reasons, uninstalled it afterwards. Maybe because its desktop app won't support Mac OS... Anyway, I have reinstalled it and will go for a try this week.
Thanks for your input!
 

Lucas Galli

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Can't afford to use DroneDeploy?
Are you sure about that?
DD is free to use for flying and acquiring the images.
You only pay if you upload the images to them for processing.
It's way better than messing around with Litchi (that's not a mapping app at all).


It's not going to be as accurate as Agisoft which will create a rectified orthophoto, but it's a lot cheaper.
If you are only looking at small sites, it's probably not going to matter much.
Just use the Planar projection option.

No need to worry about that.
DD ends up with pix at various angles around the ends of the rows and the software has no problem matching regardless of orientation.

About Drone Deply, I've dug deeper into their website abd found out that there's a free "Explorer" license which allows me five free flights per month. I will give it a try, since I do understand that using Maps Made Easy + Litchi is not the perfect scenario, as I've said before.
About Agiscan, I will consider the standard version as an option if needed. Since I already own Autopano and my projects are all smaller than 1 acre, I think it will do for now. I'm just wondering if I have to keep the bearing in mind with it.
Thanks!
 

Meta4

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About Drone Deply, I've dug deeper into their website abd found out that there's a free "Explorer" license which allows me five free flights per month.
You could do 100 flights a month for free but you only pay if you let them do the processing.
ps .. Their free processing is lower resolution.

About Agiscan, I will consider the standard version as an option if needed. Since I already own Autopano and my projects are all smaller than 1 acre, I think it will do for now. I'm just wondering if I have to keep the bearing in mind with it.
If your sites are less than an acre it doesn't sound like you'd need a fancy program unless you want to create super accurate survey-grade maps.
No, you don't have to worry about the bearing. Stitching software will sort it out.
 

bushie

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I use Drone harmony to do the flying. Not free but very cheap. Is designed to do the photography for auto maps.
Simply plot up the area required using Google earth import the kmz into DroneHarmony an d DH will generate the mission.

I then use precission mapper to create the ortho map. As above you can get 5 free maps per month. I then plot it up using MapWindows5 which is also free. You can overlay the contours produced by PM if required.