Before collecting data with PrecisionFlight make sure to go through the Unboxing and Setup of your Drone Section of the knowledge base for the initial setup of your drone. Also download our Pre-Flight Checklist to inspect equipment before leaving to the field location as well as preflight checks on the drone. This will include physical checks of the equipment as well as necessary steps to take in the DJI Go software before a PrecisionFlight survey.
For information on flying with the PrecisionFlight app in video format see our Capturing Data with the PrecisionFlight App Video.
1. Choose an ideal takeoff location at your area of interest. The spot that you turn on the drone will be your designated Home point through the entire flight. Account for takeoff, landing, and any emergency procedures that may be necessary.
We typically recommend an area that is free of obstacles and obstructions for at least 20 meters in all directions of the drone’s takeoff location.
You should also be within Visual Line of Sight of the drone throughout the survey.
2. With any necessary sensors connected, setup the drone with charged battery installed. Have RC controller and tablet ready. Power on the Drone and then the RC controller by tapping the power button once quickly and holding down on the second push until the drone powers up. Wait for the green light to illuminate on the controller signifying a successful connection between the drone and RC.
Where you power the drone will be the takeoff and landing point of the mission.
3. Close out of all other applications before running the PrecisionFlight app. Prepare to connect the RC to your mobile device using the provided USB cable.
- If you are using Android, connect the tablet to the RC, then select “PrecisionFlight” from the pop up bar and tap “Just Once”. This will ensure that you can use DJI GO when required.
- If you are using an iOS device, then open the PrecisionFlight app on your device and connect the tablet to the RC.
4. Once successfully connected you will see “Connected” in the upper right corner of the app. Select the aircraft status menu to ensure Camera, Firmware, Flight controller, and Battery all have good status before flight.
It is typical for the Firmware message to take some time to update. If you have a warning for any item on this list be sure to check DJI Go for the issue.
5. When ready select “Create Flight Plan” or choose from existing flight plan to start flying. Select “Grid” survey type. This will program a lawn mower path with given overlap values to get full coverage on the area. For flight process using “Orbit” survey type see Orbital Flight Modes Section of the knowledge base.
6. Choose a unique flight plan name. Some people often note sensor type, altitude, field name or other pertinent details in the actual flight plan name.
7. Set a designated altitude for the flight. Ensure all obstacles are lower than or out of reach for your programmed flight plan. Your estimated resolution will display if your camera is detected at the start of the flight planning process.
8. You can choose to draw area on the screen or enter flight plans manually using the GPS coordinates of the boundaries (For further instruction on manual flight plan entry see Manual Flight Plan Entry section of knowledge base). Through this process estimated Flight time and Resolution are advertised for the plan.
9. You can rotate your transects in any direction. This can be helpful to increase battery economy on a flight shaped in a long rectangle. It will take more battery to bounce through the short side of the survey than running long ways.
10. Before saving your mission select “Advanced” in the upper right corner to fine tune the parameters of your mission.
11. Under “Camera Settings” you can set your Active Camera or Camera Mode to Default or manual. For detailed review of all Camera Settings see Camera Settings section of knowledge base.
- Active camera will relate to the sensor model that you are using for the flight. Since this defines the sensors field of view it will alter transects to meet the overlap settings.
- Camera Mode will change how the camera is deciding contrast, brightness, shutter speed, aperture and more throughout the flight. As you change this setting you can view the changes live in the preview pane on the left
12. Also in advanced settings there is a “Mission Settings” menu to change Overlaps, Mission Speeds and more. For detailed overview of Mission Settings see Mission Settings section of Knowledge Base.
13. Once the flight plan is complete “Save” the mission. From there you can either fly the mission right away or save it and return to the flight planning menu.
14. Once you have chosen to fly the mission it will then upload to the drone. All flight patterns and mission parameters are uploaded to the drone in this segment so be patient. When the drone is ready to take off the icon will turn red. As soon as you swipe up the flight will begin and the drone will takeoff to survey altitude.
15. The drone will takeoff directly towards the sky until it reaches the designated survey altitude. Once at survey altitude it will head out to the first waypoint of the survey. This first waypoint is marked on the map with a “1”.
- The first waypoint of a survey is actually programmed based on the exit point of the drone at the end of the survey. The final waypoint is always the closest exit point for the drone when battery is running low. Therefore the starting waypoint is typically one of the furthest waypoints in your flight plan.
16. The main flight screen consists of several markers and controls that can be used during the mission.
- The home icon will be the takeoff and landing location of the drone for regular operation or emergency procedure.
- The blue dot signifies the ground station location- This is based on the GPS signal of the mobile device.
- On the right side you will see 3 icons that will zoom to ground station location, zoom to drone location, and turn the flight track on and off within the viewer.
- Emergency controls are found at the bottom of the screen. For further details on these controls and how they function see Emergency Procedure section of the knowledge base.
17. The drone will cycle through the flight plan until it finishes or runs to low battery. Once complete it will return to the home position at survey altitude and begin its decent for landing.
- Low battery warnings will be signaled with around 30% battery left. This will trigger the drone to return home and land immediately.
- There is a Return Home Altitude that is assigned to your drone through DJI Go. Make sure that this is set accordingly before flight.
18. During all segments of flight follow necessary emergency procedures if the drone begins acting strangely or flies off the planned course of flight. Throughout the flight you should be within visual line of sight of the drone in case of an emergency. See Emergency Procedures section of knowledge base for more information.
19. At the end of the flight let the drone land and wait for the propellers to stop spinning before approaching the drone. Power off the the drone and RC controller before carrying it anywhere. Remove your Micro SD card from the drone or sensor, and review the images on your computer. Follow the steps of the In-Field Data Verification article for more information on this.