Request/Collaboration: Building an open source drone flightpath parser

Hi folks,

As I mentioned last week, I work for a start-up called Hivemapper. We do 3d mapping from drone videos. Part of this process involves reading drone flight paths/gps trace logs. As those of you probably know, there are tons of different formats out there. Moreover, some companies cough DJI cough constantly change their output format without telling anyone. We’ve written various internal parsers over the last couple years, but rather than continuing to reinvent the wheel internally, we’d like to help build a better solution.

There should be a good lightweight, open source, general purpose, drone flightpath converter. Something that can take the various formats (.csv, .gpx, a dozen .srts, etc) and convert them into something standard like KLV. Similar questions may apply to extracting exif data from images. We’re looking at contributing to/sponsoring the development of such a toolkit. As far as I can tell, there are many one off converter projects out there, often connected to spiffy visualizations or other features. However there doesn’t seem to be anything that fills this niche of making any input data convertable to a standard format.

Based on this, I have a few questions for this community:

  • Are there any projects that we missed that are trying to do this already?
  • If such an open source tool existed, would it be useful to you? Is there any specific funtionality you’d want from it?
  • Do you know of anyone who would be interested in being part of such a project?

Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.


I haven’t done a recent review of available options, but my impression is that your survey of existing projects is probably correct. I think a general use utility would be incredibly useful.

Open Issue:

You’ve probably seen this, but a fascinating (more narrow) project:

I think this is currently an unfullfilled need in the drone ecosystem. Most vendors have their own format for flight planning and one of the reasons we haven’t gotten around to do much work on a generic flight planner in WebODM.

I think if you open sourced your internal parser it could be used as a starting point?

I think if you open sourced your internal parser it could be used as a starting point?

Unfortunately our internal parsers are written in C++ and pretty tightly tied into the rest of our software stack. For portability and ease of contribution it seems like the open project should probably be python based. We’d be happy to publish some of the code as reference though to help kickstart the project in addition to whatever work we end up contributing directly.

Ah, unfortunate.

I think a project like this would be really helpful for the ODM ecosystem long term. I personally wouldn’t be able to take a leading role at the moment, but would certainly help with creating a flight planner within WebODM if such a project would take place.

Cross post