Choosing the right UAV

Good morning folks. I am looking into getting a drone to do mapping for work (vegetation, invasive species, wetland pre/post creation/restoration) and plan to use Web ODM Lightening. I used a Phantom 3 probably 7 years ago at my previous-previous job, so I have enough experience to be dangerous. I am looking at the Mavic line right now, with an overall workflow incorporating Drone Deploy, the selected drone, ODM to create orthomosaics, and QGIS for spatial analysis and map making. I have two main questions:

1- (most important) Is there a list somewhere that shows what models are supported by ODM? I thought I found a list last week but cannot find it again.

2- What model would you suggest to do the kind of work I described above. I’m leaning towards the Mavic 2 Pro. I will not be doing cinematography, do not need 8k video, and prefer higher quality/resolution still images over video.

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Welcome!

  1. We support pretty much everything, provided the camera is supported by OpenSFM. For platforms without multispectral sensors, it is generally a pretty safe bet to assume you’re good to go.

  2. Whatever direction you go, make sure (if it is DJI) that they have released the SDK to the public for that specific sUAS so that flight planning is possible with things like Pix4D Capture, DroneDeploy, Litchi, etc.

For Commercial-Off-The-Shelf stuff I like Parrot’s Anafi, but I personally run an older Solo and very much appreciate the ArduPilot firmware and associated ecosystem of planning software based around MAVLink. Another way into the same ecosystem of software would be PX4 firmware via something like a higher-end Yuneec.

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For mavic 2s, go with the pro rather than the zoom. The optics of the pro are much more suitable to photogrammetry.

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Thank you for your responses Saijin and smathermather.

I see that the Mavic 2 Pros are being discontinued and it looks difficult to find them online. I’m leaning towards the Phantom 4 Pro. Does anyone have a reason not to look at the Phantom?

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Aside from my ideological bias against DJI? None. They’ve proven to be quite capable machines, and if the platform feels appropriate to you, the price is right, and you’re comfortable within that ecosystem/tooling, then I don’t see why it would not be a good choice for you.

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Excellent optics and a good platform: no problem with them at all.

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I’ve just bought myself a 2nd M2P, refurbished for a few hundred dollars less than new cost, although it really does look new.

I’m hoping that the lens-CMOS detector characteristics are close enough that images from each can be successfully combined in tasks, which I’ll be testing soon.

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I’m with a P4P v2.0 and all has been smooth and consistent. Awefully happy with the drone. It’s bulky but I decided on this mainly due to the mechanical shutter of the camera.

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