Air 2s Getting Started

Hi! :slight_smile: Don’t know what to write? Try with these:

  • What do you do?
    Professionally, full stack software developer on asset management software.

  • How did you get into drones?
    Bought my own. I think they are cool. I wanted to get into 3d modeling with photogrammetry.

  • How are you using/hoping to use the software?

  1. Casually, I want to scan my house and my parents’ house and 3d print them. My house like 1/4 acre, while my parents’ house is a 70 acre farm.
  2. Professionally, I’d like to explore using open source software to help with some asset management projects. Some DOTs already use drone software, and after some casual use, I’ll evaluate long term potential for commercial stuff. Like scanning bridges and stuff like that.
  • What are you working on currently? Any projects you’d like to share or talk about?
    Getting started with scanning my house with my Air 2s is where I want to start and discuss.

What apps should I use? I found DJIFlightPlanner and Litchi, but don’t know if they support multiple battery missions (for the farm scanning project.) Are there any other suggested apps that would work with my Pixel 6 (Android) and Air 2s that don’t cost a fortune? DroneLink looks good, but expensive.

Thanks for any help!

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Welcome to the ODM Forum Eddie :slight_smile:

Yes they do, and if you have to land mid flight plan for any reason, you can take off and resume from any of the way points, so no need to restart.

I think there is a 99 way point limit for imports into Litchi, which I have bumped into a few times, meaning I go back to DJIFP and break the flight plan into more segments.

I use them all the time for mapping with my Mavic 2 Pro.

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Welcome!

First of many sUASs if history is any indicator I’m sure, haha!

I’d love to see what you reconstruct!

If you want to take some ground-level stuff with your Pixel 6, you might like OpenCamera. As an aside, not that we support OPK orientation data, I want to see if I can add support for OpenCamera’s tags :slight_smile: It’d be great to get data from that sensor out there and to see how it reconstructs!

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I have an Air 2s as well and have been utilizing Dronelink (Elite - One time purchase) for any of my automated missions and it has been working really well. One piece of advice when mapping with the Air 2s, make sure you have the travel speed set rather low when capturing pictures since it doesn’t have the mechanical shutter. It takes longer to fly that way but you know you’ll end up with good quality images. I also know that DJI had not released mid-flight telemetry updates for it so when you have to do a battery swap you would have to manually reset your camera to -90 for the rest of the flight. Not sure if that’s been updated yet.

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Thanks for the reply. So it sounds like Litchi takes care of all of that then? I emailed DJIFlightPlanner and they said it doesn’t really manage that, but you can break it up into segments.

So do you just get a feel for how large a segment should be with experience and break it up yourself or do you map the whole section and let it automatically return, then swap batteries, and then resume?

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Dronelink was easily the most promising option for me. The one thing I don’t like though is that in order to get terrain following (for mapping large areas with changes in elevation) you have to have an enterprise subscription. The one time elite hobbyist purchase doesn’t include that unfortunately.

Thanks for the advice on the flight speed. I know I have a lot to learn. I know about the sdk issues since I’ve been watching pretty closely since I wasn’t aware of how slow DJI is with releasing SDKs. I thought I’d be able to do all of this kind of stuff as soon as I bought the drone.

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I generally just break it up into segments when exporting from DJIFP to keep flight times within safe limits for my M2P, although I have on occasion been a bit optimistic in windy conditions and had to manually fly back to where I was to put in a new battery before finishing a flight plan.

Dynamic home point is quite useful in Litchi, although I always take manual control for landing to avoid obstacles.

Litchi also lets you edit way point altitudes, enabling safe flight over steep terrain, I’ve done flight plans with over 100m ground elevation change across them, keeping my GSD reasonably constant.

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Welp, I’ve done my first successful flight and the images were processed fine. I did have to resize the images though because my computer ran out of RAM at full resolution (16 gig machine, running docker, went up to about 13 then gave the error).

With that being said, any idea how many images I can get up to with about 16 gigs of RAM? I’m fully aware the answer is “it depends” based on settings and what not, but any tips on where to get a look for some expectations or ideas? I have a work machine with 64 I could probably use for some processing as well if needed.

I have my obj file, just looking to see if anyone has advice on how to get it into a 3d printable state? I am doing my own research and cleaning it up, but looking to see if anyone has any experience and knows the best way.

Thanks.

PS. Totally surprised how easy the whole setup and processing steps were. I definitely thought I’d have to fly a whole lot and tinker with settings way more to get anything resembling what I wanted, but got a pretty acceptable result on the first try with 74 images (just for a small area around the house, not the whole farm).

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I recently 3D printed a rock :grinning:, see my post here: My simple WebODM project - print a rock!. Also, @smathermather has done this - I think I saw it in his blog, https://smathermather.com/. I found useful information in this YouTube video: Photogrammetry in Meshroom & Blender - YouTube, though I used WebODM instead of Meshroom to create the 3D model. The Blender portion of his video (and many others I watched) was helpful.

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Gary has you quite well sorted on the mesh to tangible object pipeline! They did incredible work, so please check out their thread!

As for memory consumption, what are your processing parameters like? What GSD are you going for? How much SWAP do you have configured in Docker/Windows to help with the memory pressure?

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I saw the posts from other prints by searching the forum. I’ll have to try them out myself.

Processing was just the default settings. GSD was also whatever was out of the box from DJI Flight planner. I’ll have to look into the specifics on the weekends since that is when I’ll have time to work on this.

Docker is the same in terms of it’s just Docker with WSL since on the laptop I have it on it’s not running Windows Pro. I’m guessing there isn’t a swap space set up.

Frankly, I just wasn’t even expecting to run close to running out of space with 74 images without resizing since I was kind of thinking I’d want to do the entire farm, but just ran out of memory just doing the area around the house, but hey this is why you start small.

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Docker’s defaults are very conservative on MacOS/Windows for how much hardware it’ll give itself access to.

You can tune that on Windows by using this guide:

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Litchi supports multiple battery missions, it is advised you keep the controller powered on however as occasionally I see posts on the Facebook group about the drone losing its GPS location between battery swaps when the RC gets powered down… then flying back to the start and redoing the entire plan again.

With the SDK released for Air2 S and Mini 2 expect apps like Drone Deploy to be updated quite fast to support these drones, DroneLink has already been updated and Litchi both are out of beta testing now.

DroneLink is on the more pricey end but I can assure you it is worth every cent when you want something more advanced than Litchi waypoint planning, I use the Elite package currently and I get access to features such as restricted flight boundaries and many other cool things.

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