Good Entry Level Drone

I was wondering from other user’s experiences what is a good entry level drone that can be used with WebODM? I have a Pontensic T18 but it does not geotag the photos so it does not work.


I’m going to put this up front:
I’m a huge fan of ArduPilot, and I’m not super keen on proprietary flight control software, despite how common they may be seen. So, that’s my bias.

With that in mind, I don’t see anything that can beat the SkyViper Journey Pro GPS for a true entry-level brushed miniquad. The camera is not stabilized and can’t be aimed remotely, but you can set the angle prior to flight.

It is a full ArduPilot stack, using a very similar control setup as a 3DR Solo. You can plan and have it do fully autonomous survey and employ a manual geotagging workflow from the dataflash logs using something like Solex or Geosetter.

That being said, this is getting more and more precious. They were available a few months ago for $75, which I think is a far stronger value proposition. At nearly $150, you’re getting into the territory where you could grab a used Solo or older Parrot/DJI/Autel/Yuneec kit.

What’s your budget? That’s always the hardest constraint, so we need to work within that.

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The sky viper seems perfect as I want a drone that I can do mapping work with and that is also compatible with open source flight control software. Just out of curiosity have you used the sky viper to create products in WebODM?

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Also I am an IOS user and I have heard that the sky viper camera app for IOS is not very good.

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I have not, no. I’ve just been watching people talk about it on the ArduPilot forum. It’s on my list of things to get when I find a money tree.

Ah, that may very well be the case. I’d probably try something like SidePilot for iOS which is mostly geared towards the Solo, but should also work with the Journey Pro.

It might be a good idea to ping the developer of SidePilot to see if anyone’s tried it with the Journey Pro yet.

My personal recommendation for anyone getting started is to buy a used DJI drone that’s 3+ years old. Any Phantom, Mavic, or Air model is going to be really easy to fly and have an excellent camera, and you can usually get into something like that for <$300.


Also how does one determine if a drone is compatible with Ardupilot as I have been wanting to learn how to use it?

A post was split to a new topic: New User - Where to Download Open Drone Map?

So decided to go with a used Parrot Anafi drone for a variety of reasons but I am grateful for all the advice.

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I am so sorry I never replied to this. I was on mobile at the time, and I absolutely despise typing on a slab of glass.

A good place to look is the ArduPilot Discuss:

Or the firmware/target list:

Glad you found one you like! The Anafi calls to me daily, haha. Then my Solo yells at me for having wandering eyes.

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I think also an older DJI IV is a good entry. You can etablish a good wokflow with free tools and improve it with time. It is widely supported from other software and has good flying capabilities.

the best entry-level mapping drone is one that is supported with a mapping app, like the free pix4dcapture or dronedeploy…
short answer…mavic air flymore combo (discontinued, but available).
our shop has 11 of these, and i start all newbies on them before they graduate to a phantom 4 pro…the original mavic air can fully map, and its a little tank of a drone…4k too!

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I feel your pain, and understand your bias… :-)) My precious three upgraded Solos sit in a closet unless I find an excuse to lift a ONE X2 360 camera for aerial 360 video shots. Otherwise for my other jobs I use a primary or backup Anafi, both refurbished by (one recently delivered from TechRabbit). So far, no problems using Pix4Dcapture on an iPad for large areas, with battery swaps. It’s relatively quiet (bee buzz), surprisingly rugged (darn those tree branches when doing a reveal shot…), and less stress to operate than worrying about what a Solo might hit, or fall on. A used older DJI drone product can also be good for entry-level. Bigger fan-base than for the Anafi, for getting newbie questions answered in a forum.

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Yeah, there’s a huge appeal to the Lego aspect of the Solo.
New GPS? Sure, why not.
LiDAR? Yep, sure.
ADS-B? Slap it on.

Love this freaking thing! But right here… You’ve gotten to two of my pain-points:

These didn’t matter a whit when I was in the middle of a farm field by myself mapping. Around people? Nightmares.

Wish Parrot would fill that hacker/tinkerer void with the Anafi, but they’re very much in lockdown on their products. At least they speak MAVLink now (apparently?)

When the Anafi was announced I had a hunch that it would be a remarkable engineering and manufacturing achievement. I have not been disappointed. I bought one within a couple of months of its release. I finally managed to break it in a way that I did not want to resolve through repair, so I ordered two of the refurbs by Windsor. Of course an Anafi won’t lift much at all, other than itself. ArduPilot continues and I expect an uptick in significant applications, at least here in the US.


I have actually had quite a few problems with the Anafi. First I had one its props break mid flight (it was used though). Then a second time I had it fall out of the sky when using Pix4D Capture for no reason. I was having connection issues before launching the drone so I do suspect that was the problem. However the area I fly is quite dusty so it could have been that dust got into one of the rotors and jammed it. Has this been other people’s experiences?


If can help the fimi x8 is good for flying , enought cam but only have 20 waypoints to manually program the grids to photogrametry , Better than the DJI mini to fly but worse for not supporting flight management apps for photogrammetry, only the manual loading of 20 waypoints, in this group of fb you can get information about its use and limits, it is a private group but it is admitted to all interested people

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