Best Drone Mapping Software


The perfect drone mapping software program is relative to who’s utilizing it. For a farmer, it might be a DroneDeploy. For a 3D modeler, it might be Pix4D or Agisoft Meta Form. For a surveyor, it might be Internet ODM.

This text will briefly focus on how these software program choices would possibly profit sure customers whereas others would possibly profit from different software program.

Ultimately, the general winner when it comes to high quality of service and adaptability in terms of the drone fashions used is DroneDeploy. Whereas not the most affordable software program service on the market, it’s actually the very best.

Pix4D

Pix4D, a cloud-based mapping program, is designed for photogrammetry and LiDar. It is a kind of mapping the place giant numbers of images are used to create photographs of land. These images can then be mixed into textured, full-color photographs.

Pix4D’s excessive degree of customization makes it particularly helpful. You may keep away from paying for options that you simply don’t use and solely pay for these you want.

Pix4D permits you to buy the components of the software program that you simply want, not like DroneDeploy, which has subscription tiers. These choices provide extra superior instruments primarily based on the same tier system to Drone Deploy.

Pix4D is a premium service, so you’ll get top-notch buyer help. There’s a cellphone quantity to name and a message heart. You may also entry a variety of on-line boards.

Pix 4D’s cloud software program works equally to Drone Deploy. It’s also shareable, and all of your maps might be saved on their servers. You may also obtain the software program onto your exhausting drive.

Pix4D’s orthomosaics are spectacular. The software program’s capacity to supply exact and wonderful orthomosaics is unmatched in cloud-based processing software program.

Pix4D’s LiDAR processing instruments are what makes it distinctive. Different mapping engines on this checklist don’t provide LiDAR processing.

Pix4D can be utilized to visualise the purpose clouds from LiDAR scans in all the mapping engines listed. Nevertheless, you may export, course of, and visualize a LiDAR dataset into Autocad utilizing Pix4D.

Cons

Though that is our funds selection, it’s nonetheless fairly costly to make use of. Plans vary in worth from $58 per thirty days to $315 per thirty days. This may assist you to spend lower than DroneDeploy however remains to be not low-cost.

DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy has many options, together with in-app flight planning and real-time orthomosaic building, cloud-based processing and sharing, in addition to the truth that it helps a number of drone manufacturers and fashions.

Many drone house owners think about DroneDeploy’s help for a lot of totally different drones to be a serious cause they selected DroneDeploy.

DroneDeploy additionally helps drones that aren’t made particularly for mapping. This is a vital profit to new pilots who won’t have the cash to buy a mapping drone.

There are a lot of plans out there for Drone Deploy. Every plan has a unique worth level and provides extra options with every worth enhance.

These embody Ag Lite, which is designed particularly for agriculture, Particular person, Superior, Groups, and Enterprise.

DroneDeploy’s cloud-based nature is one other benefit. Cloud-based mapping software program will profit you even when you have terabytes as a result of downloading maps and fashions can take so much out of your reminiscence.

Orthomosaic DSMs or DTMs require giant quantities of knowledge, not like regular photographs like JPEGs or PNGs. That is to protect high quality and GEO referencing.

DroneDeploy additionally provides a web site comparability with earlier surveys. It is a useful software for building firms because it permits them to see the progress of their tasks. DroneDeploy is much like engineers layering blueprints to visualise how the mission will prove.

DroneDeploy, a paid service, is offered to you. You’ll get top-notch buyer help. 

Cons

DroneDeploy is among the most costly drone mapping software program out there. Its price ticket can also be not clear.

Particular person plans begin at $329 per thirty days, however provided that you commit for a yr. You should utilize it for as little as $499 per thirty days in case you don’t wish to decide to a yr. The upgraded model with extra options will price you $599 per thirty days, which is greater than $7,100 yearly.

What occurs in case you aren’t a sole proprietor or entrepreneur? DroneDeploy will present a demo for individuals who wish to buy a model for his or her total crew.

Though it’s costlier than particular person plans, DroneDeploy doesn’t disclose the precise worth. You’ll need to name DroneDeploy to get an estimate. Costs also can differ relying on the scale of your crew.

Propeller

Propeller is a platform constructed on the mannequin of pay-per-map. Propeller provides their aerial mapping resolution for $250 per map.

This processor will present all map outputs, together with your orthomosaic and 3-D mannequin, plant well being, and a variety of measurement instruments that can be utilized to investigate and look at your job web site.

Propeller software program recommends the Phantom 4 RTK or the Wingtra One drones.

Propellor is a premium service. Which means that you’ll obtain top-notch buyer help. Propeller has a fast help line, identical to the opposite paid apps. You may also use the messaging platform to get help and request a name if wanted.

This software program is extra fitted to firms that use it inside their mapping division than for pilots trying to buy a mapping program to make use of of their enterprise. It is because spending $250 to buy a map just isn’t a smart monetary resolution in case you plan to conduct a single mapping mission per thirty days.

Propeller’s per-map worth is unlikely to be value the associated fee for a corporation that plans on making many extra maps.

DroneDeploy 4D and Pix 4D provide measurement instruments, however Propeller is a step forward with instruments like:

  • Elevation Distinction  
  • Highway Grade  
  • Floor Space  
  • Design to Design  
  • Quantity beginning on the lowest level  
  •  Earthworks Progress  
  •  Elevation Historical past  
  •  Cross-Part Comparative  
  •  Examine to Earlier Survey  
  •  Berm Test  
  •  Examine to the Newest Design  

Cons

Propeller’s largest drawback is the requirement to make use of an Aeropoint, which is a brilliant floor management level that’s extremely exact and good to course of imagery.

Aeropoints can be utilized by each new and skilled surveyors resulting from their ease of use and excessive accuracy. Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be very cost-friendly. An Aeropoint is simply over $1000.

The draw back to this software program is the necessity for a flight planning software to carry out your automated flights. Propeller doesn’t provide one.

The Phantom 4 RTK or Wingtra One are really helpful drones to be used with propeller software program. Each drones are costly and might price upwards of $10,000. 

Internet ODM

OpenDroneMap is an efficient selection for individuals who have a background in GIS. It really works with QGIS and WebODM. This software program mixture is a superb various for individuals who don’t wish to spend 1000’s on cloud-based mapping software program.

WebODM, an area drone mapping program (it runs in your exhausting disk), gives related map outputs to Drone Deploy and Pix4D. The software program permits you to take quite a lot of measurements.

You ought to be conversant in GIS to be able to use WebODM. GIS stands for Geographic Data Programs. That is also called digital mapping.

Cons

WebODM is an open-source platform. Subsequently, you have to to have some information of coding to put in it.

WebODM’s help cellphone quantity is totally different from different mapping engines. You may put up your query within the WebODM discussion board to get help.

This software program package deal could be very cost-effective, however it isn’t probably the most user-friendly.

Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape is a cloud-based and native picture processing platform that focuses on processing and delivering 3D mannequin knowledge. Though this software program provides a measurement software, it isn’t as highly effective as Propeller.

Agisoft Metashape, a paid service, is assured to offer wonderful buyer help. When you have any questions, you may name the help quantity or ship an e mail to help. You may also take a look at the boards which might be utilized by Agisoft customers.

Just like Propellor, the various distinctive instruments Agisoft Metashape has to supply are:

  • Modifying and classification of Dense Level Cloud  
  • Registration of Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS).  
  • Floor management factors/Scale bar help  
  • Stereoscopic measurements  
  • Technology of hierarchical tiled fashions  
  • Dynamic scenes could be created utilizing 4D modeling  
  • Automated energy line detection  
  • Satellite tv for pc imagery processing  

Cons

Agisoft is a premium service that prices $179 to $3,499. As with different software program, the upper the value, the higher you get.

On this occasion, you might have two decisions: You may both pay $179 for the processing software program that permits you to take drone imagery and create fashions, or you may pay $3,499 to get the whole package deal, which incorporates instruments not related to drone pilots akin to 3D modeling texture instruments for online game design.

Agisoft, not like the opposite listed firms, is a Russian enterprise. This one just isn’t really helpful for individuals who want to use merchandise made in America.

The Winner

Total, the most effective drone mapping software program packages is DroneDeploy. It’s exhausting to place a particular finest drone mapping software program medal on it as a result of, as we’ve mentioned, every software program could profit a consumer higher than the opposite.

However on a broad scale, DroneDeploy appears to suit probably the most customers’ wants in addition to with the ability to do one factor that the others can’t.

After attempting all of the software program, one learns the talents and the drawbacks of every. On a mission carried out by my firm, Unmanned Aerial Operations, a 600-acre plot of land was mapped from Mossy Oak properties. Most drone mapping software program requires one elevation to be held all through the whole automated flight for the software program to have the ability to construct an correct mannequin of the topic space.

Within the case of the mission mapping 600 acres, a number of sorts of drones had been used. To cowl such a big property, the mission required over 10 batteries. This was extra batteries than I had available for one drone on the given day. Subsequently, two totally different drones had been used.

As soon as the first drone’s batteries had been exhausted, the secondary drone was deployed and picked up the place the first drone had left off.

The first drone and the secondary drone are each nice drones, however one is extra apt at dealing with climate circumstances akin to gusts of wind. The secondary drone needed to fly decrease than the first drone to get detailed and correct photographs for the 3D mannequin.

After returning to dwelling base, I found that Internet ODM wouldn’t assemble a mannequin of this measurement, with differing elevations of images and from totally different drone fashions. The mannequin that was constructed was detailed however had areas of the mannequin and map lacking.

Upon additional inspection, the software program had taken items of the mannequin and put them 1,000 ft beneath elevation or above. Rerunning the software program, it was not capable of course of it as soon as once more.

Picture Courtesy of Unmanned Aerial Operations

Subsequent, I turned to Pix 4D. Pix 4D processed the mannequin and map extraordinarily rapidly and produced a extremely correct map and mannequin.

But once more, components of the map and mannequin had been lacking, this time at totally different angles however as soon as once more at a thousand ft above or beneath the place they need to have been.

Lastly, I turned to DroneDeploy. DroneDeploy is totally different than the opposite software program in {that a} crew of human beings will evaluation your map. I consider this was the case with the processing of the 600-acre property map.

The map and mannequin each got here out with spectacular element and accuracy, with no holes within the map and mannequin. There have been no chunks of the map 1,000 ft off the place they need to have been, nor had been there any items of the mannequin turned at an incorrect angle.

Picture Courtesy of Unmanned Aerial Operations

Miraculously DroneDeploy was capable of assemble a map and mannequin from two totally different drones at totally different elevations. Altogether, DroneDeploy confirmed that not solely is it a contender for the very best mapping service, however it might very properly be the very best.

References:
Unmanned Aerial Operations (link)

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