Flying with DroneDeploy Just Got Even Better

Obstacle avoidance, improved offline flight, support for the latest DJI drones, and new flight modes just released

DroneDeploy's Blog
Published in
6 min readNov 7, 2017

Over the last year, DroneDeploy has helped customers capture, process, and analyze more than 40 million aerial images. If that sounds like a lot of data, that’s because it is. Now we’re leveraging the largest drone database on the planet to improve your flight experience in the field and on the jobsite.

Leading the Industry in Drone Flight

We have seen a lot of growth in 2017. Each month, DroneDeploy helps customers fly more than 40,000 flights over 150,000 miles — or about 6 trips around the earth.

Each month, DroneDeploy helps customers fly more than 40,000 flights and 150,000 miles — or about 6 trips around the earth.

Along the way, we’ve gained a better understanding of your mission planning needs. Whether you’ve made 3D models of structures, worked in areas without cell coverage, or tried to avoid obstacles in the field, we’ve learned from you. We know what it takes to make great maps, and those learnings are making their way into our product. We’re excited to share many of them with you today.

Increase Safety in the Field

When you’re in the field, safety is paramount. That’s why we’ve worked with DJI to make support obstacle avoidance during every flight with drone platforms featuring onboard sensor hardware, including: Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Series, and Inspire 2 drones.

Access Obstacle Avoidance when planning your next flight, or make it the default setting in DroneDeploy Labs.

Obstacle avoidance is now enabled by default when you plan any flight with the DroneDeploy mobile app. And if you don’t need it, simply flip the toggle to turn off the feature when you’re creating your flight plan. You can also disable obstacle avoidance by default with a setting in DroneDeploy Labs.

See, Adapt, and Create Flight Plans in Remote Areas

Many of our customers are mapping in some of the most remote areas across the planet. As drones have become the go-to means for aerial data collection in the forestry, agriculture, and mining industries, we’ve seen more than 10% of drone flights take off without internet connectivity.

For those of you mapping in remote areas, you will be pleased to hear that you can now see, adapt, and create new flight plans while completely disconnected from the internet.

Make up to 10 flight plans and map base tiles available offline on your mobile device when creating a flight plan with DroneDeploy.

The latest update makes it possible to sync up to 10 flight plans and base map tiles to your mobile device for offline use in the field. Just flip the offline toggle to download plans and base maps to your device.

This means you’re no longer limited to plans created in the office or at home. Should you need to deviate from your initial plans while in the field, you can with DroneDeploy.

Make Drone Maps in the Harshest Environments

Inspection, search & rescue, and construction often require drones to fly in harsh environments. From bad weather to dusty work sites, you shouldn’t be limited when your job is on the line. That’s where DJI’s Matrice 200 Series comes in. Built to thrive in the toughest places, it makes mapping possible in extreme cold, wind, dust, and even rain.

DroneDeploy now supports the M200 Series from DJI. Photo courtesy of DJI.

We’re proud to announce that DroneDeploy now supports mapping with the DJI M200 series on iOS. If you need to map in tough environments, we’ve got you covered.

Access the Newest Flight Capabilities in DroneDeploy Labs

If you haven’t stepped into DroneDeploy Labs to take a look at our latest experimental features, you might want to consider it. DroneDeploy Labs is where we release some of our newest beta features for testing, and is available under the “Settings” tab in the DroneDeploy dashboard. It’s the go-to place for the latest innovations in drone mapping.

This month, we’re excited to share our newest flight capabilities: 3D Mode and Auto Flight Mode

3D Mode

When you’re presenting to clients or comparing structures to design plans, you need to be able to produce crisp, accurate 3D point clouds and models. While making great 3D models has always been part art and part science, we’re trying hard to automate the process by putting our drone database to good use.

In 3D Mode, your drone will fly along the perimeter of your flight plan and take a predefined set of oblique images — photos pointed inwards toward the center of the mapping area. Enable 3D Mode under “Advanced” settings when planning your next flight.

Turn 3D mode on in the Advanced Settings menu when planning a flight.

So far, the results have been exciting. Below you can see a recent map made by our team. The 3D model was made by collecting just 40 photos while in 3D Mode.

This high definition 3D model was made using just 40 images collected while in the new 3D Mode.

We’ll be adjusting our algorithms this fall based on user feedback before the new capability moves out of beta. In the meantime, we encourage you to give it a try. So get out there and let us know what you think.

Auto Flight Modes

We often hear that customers want a more scientific method to choose overlap when mapping with DroneDeploy. The latest app from DroneDeploy Labs automatically calculates overlap based on data from over 100,000 maps. All you need to do enter the height of the buildings or trees in your mapping area, and select the appropriate scene, such as field, varied terrain, or man-made structure.

In addition, some of our customers flying more complex 3D environments have requested the ability to fly a “double grid” or “crosshatch” flight plan, and to be able to set the gimbal angle before the flight.

These capabilities are now available in DroneDeploy thanks to the new Auto Flight Modes app — another beta product from DroneDeploy Labs. If you’d like to try this for your next mission, install Auto Flight Modes now from the DroneDeploy App Market.

Auto Flight Modes is now available on the DroneDeploy App Market.

Where to Learn More

Read more about some of our recent product updates and releases including:

Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities? Get in touch with our team for more answers.

Start Using DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.