Introducing Fieldscanner: Real-time Drone Mapping is Here

Create real-time maps of your crops so you can act before the drone lands.

DroneDeploy's Blog
Published in
6 min readApr 18, 2017

Ever since drones began appearing on farms, growers have dreamed of creating instant maps of their fields. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce Fieldscanner, a new real-time mapping tool that makes that dream a reality.

Changes happen fast during the growing season. Having access to timely, accurate information in the field is key to identifying and minimizing the impact of pests, disease, and other crop issues. Where growers might wait days for airplane or satellite imagery, or spend hours uploading and processing a typical drone map, Fieldscanner can capture a field map in minutes as the drone flies.

Watch the video to learn more about real-time mapping with Fieldscanner.

“Growers have been asking for real-time, in-field mapping for a long time, and we’re excited to be the first company to deliver a solution.” — Mike Winn, CEO of DroneDeploy

Map Your Fields, Instantly.

Meet Fieldscanner: the real-time drone mapping tool for immediate in-field crop analysis. Fieldscanner instantly captures a 2d, low-resolution field map as the drone flies so that you can make crop management decisions on the spot. This makes it easier than ever to quickly identify crop stress and stomp out problem areas before they spread.

See Fieldscanner’s real-time mapping in action.

“Time is in short supply on the farm, so when considering a new tool, the faster and easier, the better. With the ability to capture data in minutes, offline, with just a drone and a phone, FieldScanner represents the missing link that will transform drones from useful tool, to a must-have for weekly crop scouting.” — Jim Love, Light Robotics Manager at Beck’s Hybrids.

Built for Use in the Field. No Laptop or Data Connection Required.

The poor connectivity and slow internet speeds that have long posed a challenge for mapping in remote areas don’t hamper Fieldscanner. Designed for use the fields, Fieldscanner can operate entirely offline, with no need for cellular or data coverage.

“Testing this product, I knew this was a game-changer. Fieldscanner just made a drone the ultimate scouting tool!” — Chad Colby, General Manager at Central Illinois Ag

Fieldscanner uses DroneDeploy’s existing automatic flight planning for DJI drones and adds local processing on the drone and mobile device to create a low-resolution Fieldscan as the drone is flying, instead of requiring you to process imagery into a map at a computer after the flight.

Want to get access to Fieldscanner? Fill out our request form to request to join the Beta program.

Fieldscanner makes it easier than ever to quickly identify areas of crop stress.

Fully Compatible with Your Mapping Workflow

Fieldscanner works in parallel with your existing drone mapping workflow to make a real-time, low-resolution map of your field — all while capturing traditional drone imagery for later upload and processing in the cloud. Use Fieldscanner while you’re in the field to spot variability, see your location as you navigate to problem areas for ground-truthing, and (if a data connection is available) pin notes and photos of findings directly to your map. If you need a closer look, we’ve got you covered. Just upload the imagery from your flight to DroneDeploy to create a high resolution map or 3D model — ideally for analyzing drainage issues, creating prescription maps and more.

Real-time Fieldscan (left) and full-resolution map (right) side-by-side with DroneDeploy’s plant health tool activated.

How to Use Fieldscanner

Turn on the Fieldscanner feature by activating the Fieldscanner toggle in your flight planning dashboard.

Using Fieldscanner is simple. While making your flight plan, just slide the Fieldscanner toggle and continue mapping as you normally would by performing safety checks and initiating takeoff. As the drone completes each leg of the planned flight, the Fieldscan will automatically generate on your screen in real time. Once the flight is complete, the Fieldscan will sync to your DroneDeploy account in about 5 to 10 minutes to enable additional tools like plant health, annotations and sharing.

Find something that you want to investigate further? Use your location on the map to navigate to target spots for ground truthing, or upload the images from your flight to DroneDeploy to process a high-resolution 3D map. For a complete step-by-step walkthrough, please see our support documentation.

Best Practices for Using Fieldscanner

Fieldscanner is ideal for quickly detecting variability in your fields. To get the most out of Fieldscanner, we recommend you follow a few best practices this season:

  • Fly high — we recommend 300 feet or higher
  • Map areas greater than 30 acres, but less than 300
  • Use higher amounts of overlap
  • Stay away from strong winds and avoid flying on gusty days
  • Steer clear of Power lines, transformers, and other objects that can cause signal interference
  • Avoid large elevation changes over the area you’re mapping such as hills or valleys

The launch of Fieldscanner represents the first big step in real-time mapping for DroneDeploy and for the commercial drone industry as a whole, but it’s just the beginning. The next generation of Fieldscanner is already in the works — including improvements in speed and map quality, and new capabilities to further unlock the potential of real-time mapping — and we look forward to sharing it with you later this season.

“DroneDeploy has continuously pushed DJI’s aerial platforms to become part of the standard enterprise toolkit”, said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Marketing at DJI. “Developed based on DJI’s software development kit, the DroneDeploy Fieldscanner software has the ability to provide instant, insightful and accurate data for better business decision making. This will also help enterprises save money, time and expand the use of UAVs across various commercial applications.”

Learn More About Fieldscanner

The Fieldscanner Beta begins today and will become available over the next few weeks to all DroneDeploy paid customers and free trial users flying DJI drones with iOS devices (unfortunately, Android will not be supported this season). For more information:

Get Started with 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.



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