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DroneDeploy's Blog

How to Improve the Map Quality from your Drone

Iffy results? Some simple things you can do to help

By Ian Smith, Sales & Marketing @DroneDeploy

Read part 1, here.

Since making maps with drones is typically more of an art than a science, it can feel like the entire world is working against you when things don’t come out exactly right…

Sometimes, you’ve just got to suck it up and channel your inner Michelangelo

The Creation of AgEagle

Hey, it could be worse.

In all seriousness — if you’re feeling like nothing is going your way or just simply want to get a head start on best-practices before you go out and make your first map, below are some of our expert tips to help make the whole mapping process more successful.

Increase front-overlap (frontlap) and side-overlap (sidelap) during planning

Image projections from a DroneDeploy mapping flight

In a previous post in this series, we learned what overlap was and why it is important.

The image on the left depicts each individual image taken by the drone on top of the map, outlined in yellow. You will notice how all of these “images” overlap each other. There is not just frontlap but also sidelap, too. This flight shows some pretty good overlap — not bad.

By increasing the frontlap and sidelap in your drone mapping flight, it will increase the number of photos taken during each leg by simply making your camera take photos more quickly.

Keep in mind, your camera will have a hard limit on how fast it can operate, so after you hit that point you will not see any further improvements.

Flying with more overlap between each leg of the flight is the easiest way to get more matched features in the imagery (which helps with stitching), but it does come at the expense of reducing the area that your drone can cover in one flight.

Fly higher

Higher altitude is (usually) better

Flying higher allows the camera lens (with a given field of view) to cover more land surface area in a single image — therefore granting more chances for each photo to cover more common, unique features in multiple images and can help mapping in areas with homogeneous imagery (such as tree canopies or agricultural areas). It also enables higher frontlap (and sometimes sidelap) to be achieved for a given camera and lens combo.

Flying higher is the single most powerful way to improve data quality.

Fly slower

Flying slower gives more time for the camera shutter to acquire an image of the moving ground below it. This means that at given shutter speed settings, the camera will likely not have blurred images and also has the added benefit of enabling higher frontlap.

Check your camera settings and quality of individual photos

DroneDeploy does attempt to make your camera capture imagery at its absolute best quality. However, image quality is ultimately governed by so many other parameters (some of them listed above), that it is useful for users to check the quality of the individual photos captured as the drone performs the mapping mission.

A quick note: the speed of your SD card will affect your camera acquisition speed. As a rule of thumb, a faster SD card will generally help you create higher quality maps.

Plan a “Precision” mission with DroneDeploy

If you’re a DroneDeploy user with an AgEagle drone (or already have a CoPilot), you can select “Ortho Map,” when planning your flight from the DroneDeploy browser dashboard. There is a “Precision” option in the advanced settings menu. This option allows you to plan a crosshatched flight path over the area you intend to map.

Precision planning not enabled — standard lawnmower flight plan
Precision planning enabled — cross-hatched flight plan for more thorough coverage

The result? More photos captured at different angles.

Contact DroneDeploy support

Finally, just drop us a line and let us know if you’re not getting the results you expect — after all, we’re here to help.

Your success is our absolute highest priority.

If you’re ever concerned about the quality of your map please contact support@dronedeploy.com or use the live chat feature and we’ll do our best to help you out right away.

Thanks for reading our 3-part series on ‘Making Successful Maps with Drones’ — we really hope you’ve learned something along the way and you can put these tips to use soon.

Happy mapping,

Get started making drone maps!

Take advantage of DroneDeploy’s free 30-day, no credit card required trial now.

Visit www.dronedeploy.com/signup and create your free DroneDeploy account.

***trial period countdown timer does not begin until you create your first successful map!

Don’t know what kind of drone you need?

Check out our drone compatibility page here.

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DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com

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DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.