On Sharing a Beautiful Moment with a Flying Machine

Today, we’re proud to announce the release of DataMapper InFlight. Through this app, we allow drone users to autonomously collect geospatial imagery and provide the tools to inform critical decisions that can make or break a company. One day during the development process of DataMapper InFlight, I had an experience that fundamentally shifted the way I thought about the product we were making. I saw an opportunity to create more than just an app.

It was a clear and sunny day, and I was about to field test our app for the first time on the DJI Matrice 100. I had run a few flights in a simulator to make sure our flight logic worked, but this was the real deal. This was game time.

Setting up to fly with DataMapper InFlight.

Something interesting happened when I hit the “take off” button. Not interesting in the “crash and burn” sense, thankfully; everything went according to plan, and the software did everything it was supposed to.

It was interesting in that I saw all the bits and pieces I’d been putting together merge into one beautiful moment for the first time. This machine lifted off the ground, almost magically, and flew back and forth overhead as it created a huge image of where I was. (With me in it!) And it was all because I pressed a single button on my phone.

That moment was incredibly powerful. It was then that I realized the opportunity we had before us: through DJI’s equipment, we could give other people this feeling of making this moment happen. They create the instructions, and they are the reason the drone lifts off the ground and starts ascending into the sky. You feel this bond with the machine, and you don’t need to know anything about flying to control it.

And, on top of that, the machine gives back. After each flight, you’re given data that enables a new kind of strategy. You receive new insights, and we use this data to show you how you can succeed like never before.

Coming in for landing after a successful flight.

From that day forward, we had our mantra for InFlight: to create the greatest moments people can share with a drone. We needed to build an opportunity to utilize these machines without training or intimate knowledge of the drone itself. Our application had to be direct, it had to be simple, and it had to be robust enough to collect consistently great data.

To ensure we’re shipping software that checks all these boxes, we’ve tested with people across a full range of flight experience and taken notes on where they get stuck, when they are most engaged, and when they hesitate. We’ve continually crafted our product with our mantra in mind, changing designs based on lots of real-world feedback and designing interactions that give people full control over the planning process without getting in the way of their goals.

We’re proud of what we’ve made, but we know we’re not done. Please take DataMapper InFlight out for your next flight and let us know what you think. I hope you get to experience the same moment I felt. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to give you a better experience.

DataMapper is a division of PrecisionHawk, a North Carolina-based terrestrial data acquisition and analysis company. Read more at www.datamapper.com. InFlight supports the DJI Phantom 4, Phantom 3 Advanced/Professional, Inspire 1/Pro, and Matrice 100. Download it now on Google Play (and soon on the App Store for iOS).