How do I plan a SlantRange mission using the DroneDeploy flight planner?

The SlantRange app in the DroneDeploy app market allows users to easily plan flights tailored to the size of the crops and desired data products.

Step 1: Download the SlantRange App and Create a Plan

From the DroneDeploy Dashboard select App Market at the top of the left hand sidebar. Make sure All Apps is selected at the top, then scroll down and select SlantRange to view our installation page. Or you can just click this button to go directly to our app:

Click the blue Install button at the bottom of the sidebar, review the description and app permissions, then click the second blue Install button to install the app. You should see an "App Added" message at the bottom of the screen.

App Install Screen.png

Enable 3rd Party Camera: This is an important step and worthy of a quick explanation. When using DJI cameras, DroneDeploy will automatically detect the camera connected to your drone and will load the appropriate camera parameters to compute image footprints, overlap, resolution, etc. However, DroneDeploy supports flying with "3rd Party Cameras", meaning cameras from other vendors that don't require a connection to the drone. All SlantRange sensors other than the 3PX do not have a connection to the aircraft or flight planning app.

To enable this functionality, click Settings at the top of the Dashboard, then turn on the toggle labeled "Use 3rd Party Camera".

Use 3rd Party Camera.png

Note that the appropriate camera parameters will be loaded when you select which sensor you're using within the SlantRange app.

Select “Plan a New Flight” to create a new flight plan. After assigning a name to your plan, you can define the boundary, add/remove points, and move/rotate:

DD1

Step 2: Set Altitude, Overlap, and Speed

Enter your plant length and width (not height) into the calculator for the altitude and speed recommendations based on the type of data you are collecting: Population analysis for young crops where individual plants are still separated by visible bare soil, or Stress Analysis for more mature, closed row or closed canopy crops.

IMG-0183

Once you have the suggested altitude and speed, enter these into the DroneDeploy settings manually. (The SlantRange app does not have direct control over the DroneDeploy mission settings.)

As a reminder, we recommend flying at 20% side overlap for most use cases. And no, that’s not a typo! You can read more about our low overlap requirements here. Front overlap is greyed out because the sensor framerate is fixed, thus front overlap is purely a function of altitude and speed.

Plan your missions based on the size of the smallest object you want to measure. E.g. if flying a mature closed canopy alfalfa field, but looking for dodder weeds that are few inches/cm in diameter, enter a resolution that will allow several pixels per dodder weed plant, this way you will have enough pixels of weed content to generate an accurate custom filter with SlantView.

The options for data collection are:

Individual Plants-Population: Use this setting when you want to perform population processing to count plants, identify weeds, or create plant size or emergence fraction maps. The recommended altitude and speed will be lower and slower. Reminder: plants must not be overlapping to perform accurate stand counts! In a field where leaves are beginning to overlap in some places but not others, plan a mission with these settings to generate plant size and emergence fraction maps.

Individual Plants-Stress: Use this setting if you wish to perform stress measurements on plants that are not overlapping and could still be flown for population. The recommended altitude and speed will be lowest and slowest when using this setting, given the very small amount of measurable plant material (there may only be a single leaf or two).

Closed Rows: Use this setting when plants within a row are overlapping, but bare soil is still visible between rows. This will recommend higher and faster flight settings. The "row plant width" is the width of the vegetation as shown below:

Closed Canopy: Use this setting to perform stress measurements on mature crops with predominately closed canopy. This will recommend the highest and fastest flight settings. Then, enter the desired resolution in inches/pixel. At minimum, make sure there will be a few pixels per plant.

If you are experiencing problems with DroneDeploy, make sure you have the latest app software updates and iOS firmware updates. As a backup, try running DroneDeploy through a Google Chrome internet browser and having the maps sync to your mobile device through your account.

IMG-0181

Step 3: Complete the Plan

Once happy with the flight plan, click the blue save icon in the lower right.

Step 4: Fly the Plan!

Make sure to follow the flight instructions detailed in our User Guide.

Connect your mobile device to your aircraft remote controller via USB. Turn on your remote controller and aircraft. In the DroneDeploy app, select your plan and click the blue airplane button in the lower right to initiate your Pre-flight checklist. Once your Pre-flight checks are completed successfully, the airplane button will turn into a check button. When you are ready to take-off, click the check and away you go!