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Auto rotate optimal (shortest) flight path, manual input of points

a) I have to do surveys on several "french style" lots. That means, they are narrow in width, but very long (i.e. 1 mile length, 100 feet wide). Most of the times the given initial flight path is crosswise along the long direction, which does not make much sense of course. But adjusting the rotation for having the optimal flight path (which is often just one straight flight along the long part) is kinda pain, because it's too fiddly to do. An automatic proposal of the optimal (shortest) path would be quite handy.

b) Once the direction of the pattern is set, a later change of the take-off point kills the work already done on that. This drives me crazy, to be honest. For what practical reason this happens anyways?

c) Another way to cover stripe type lots would be to use a simple Line Mission. But for whatever reason you're not allowing a Line Mission with only two points. Additional to that, you seem not to allow a single pass flight despite saying one to nine would be possible in the introductory dialog of the Line Mission. Carefully swiping from two passes downwards always leads to zero passes, which makes no sense at all.

d) I know the coordinates of the lot edges. I really would like to input them manually to have the points and final rectangle set the fastest way possible. Using Google Earth for that (as you already suggested here) is a workaround, but not convenient. So you don't want me to get this done efficiently with your app alone?

Thanks!

 

Manuel Kraus

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a. You can adjust the pass heading of grid flights by using the standard iOS two finger rotate gesture. 

b. The path is automatically adjusted to line up with the takeoff point, which in the absence of some other requirement, is usually the shortest path possible. 

c. A two point line mission could easily be approximated using a grid mission. The Linear Flight planner is designed for more complicated linear flights. You are correct, we do not allow for single pass flight because it won't create usable photogrammetry data. That, and the aircraft has to come back anyway so why not take pictures?

d. Google Earth and KML files is a much more universal way of doing things. Typing in coordinates is not fun for anyone. Map Pilot is a tool for collecting data and we try to provide a reasonable toolset to allow different things to be done. 

Zane 0 votes
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Zane

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately you seem to have missed the use case details I actually face.

a)

I know that very well. Unfortunately in my use case it becomes a quite difficult thing to do.

b)

Not if your take-off point is sidewise to a 1 mile x 100 feet property. The flight path will switch to the most useless path it can go, timewise and economically (battery). If you do the thing a) to correct that, then moving the home point a bit, the path snaps back to something worse again.

c)

In my use case it is not that easy as you might think. I guess you did more bulky shapes only in the past.

There's no practical point (I can imagine of) to restrict the Linear Flight planner to a minimum of three points. If a user needs only two points, so what? If it would help in my and similar use cases? Everything which helps to do the job shouldn't be restricted.

Not allowing single pass is in my use case is questionable as well. At 60 meters AGL I'm able to catch the width 100 feet in one pass. There's simply no need to stich another line of pictures along that first one. Forward overlapping should do the job.

Yes, the aircraft has to come back anyways, right. The question is at which speed and which direction!

d)

If you have to survey forest areas in northern Canada, with almost no visual anchors you can add the points to, typing in coordinates is the only way to go. Using another tool like Google Earth just for transferring over the needed coordinates has a notable impact on the workflow, especially if you are already in the field and have to pick the coordinates by GPS again, for some reason.


You seem to assume only optimal conditions with Map Pilot: 1) Take-off point sits always at the boundary area in an optimal angle to initially produce the most efficient path as proposal. 2) Visual accuracy of the GUI is always sufficient to set points. I can prove both wrong. To see what problems I face, just try it yourself:

https://kraus.global/files/Stripe_Lots.jpg (type of areas to capture)
https://kraus.global/files/Survey1.jpg (path proposal)
https://kraus.global/files/Survey2.jpg (adjusted path)

Consider a 1 mile by 100 feet lot and try your tool. To maintain reasonable control distance, the pilot has to be around the middle of that mile. Because of the huge dimension you have to be as precise as possible, to avoid making way too many pictures you don't need at the end. So just moving the points around roughly the place you think the lot is located at, is far from being the professional way to do it.

Having reasonable toolsets is a good way to think. I think your tool is addressed to an audience of professionals. Gridwork is professional stuff. Professionals love to have the option to put in precise data, like coordinates. Typing in coordinates is not fun for anyone, right. But simply nescessary in certain cases. At least having that as an option hurts nobody, right?

 

Manuel Kraus 0 votes
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You can easily put down an extra waypoint that is inline with the others to get it to work. This is a very niche case that we will not likely make any modifications to the software to address. 

You can type the coordinate numbers in on Google Earth. It is hard to imagine that the only format these shapes exist in is a list or coordinates. You can import a CSV coordinate file into GIS software and do things that way. We will not be supporting typed in coordinates. 

Zane 0 votes
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Zane

Let it be a niche or not, the work has to be done. Sometimes I get last minute GPS info by e-mail or phone, or I pick it up from lot markers on the ground using a GPS tracker. Having to use middle ware like Google Earth for the workflow is not exactly the streamlining of the process you need, once sitting on site.

And once on site, I can't go by visual positioning alone, because of the lack of reference points (buildings, streets, landscaped property boundaries). Your app is already showing the coordinates while the users moves around the markers. It shouldn't be that much of work to implement an adjustment handle to this.

If your users argue profoundly and ask for it nicely, there is not much room to say no. ;-)

I'll go ahead and check other gridwork projects and services for now.

Thanks for your time anyways!

 

PS:
Is there a way to get the app payment refunded somehow?
I'm new to the iOS platform and their App Store, so I don't know.

 

Manuel Kraus 0 votes
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I'd like to second the original poster's (b) request. I too find it frustrating to have my carefully oriented grid mission rotated because I have updated the intended home point.

I have also noticed that the following changes also change the grid orientation (seemingly needlessly):

  • Changing the overlap percentage (either along track or cross track, but only the first time. Subsequent changes do not reorient the grid direction)
  • Toggling the units from ha/km to ac/mi, and vice versa
  • Changing the mission altitude


There may be more cases... If I find them, I'll post them here.

Craig O'Brien 0 votes
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Craig: I just tested it and don't see either of the cases you have called out modifying the rotation of the mission.

If you are on iOS 11, can you take a video screenshot of it occurring?

 

Zane 0 votes
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Will do, Zane... It'll take a couple of days. Field work to do :)

This is indeed on iOS 11.1.2. If you are able, try doing the tasks I listed immediately after opening a saved mission. That's when I experience it. For the overlap and altitude change, you have to unlock the mission. For the units change, you don't.

Craig O'Brien 0 votes
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(b)  Another vote to be able to lock the grid from moving on it's own while adjusting 'any' other perimeters.  Let MP take it's best guess of what the user wants.  But let the user tap a button to lock the grid orientation.  Simple stuff. Please.

Dave Pitman 0 votes
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Thanks to Craig's great but reporting we now understand the issue and it will be addressed in the next release. 

Zane 0 votes
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To be clear,  it would be beneficial if the grid orientation could be locked by the user so it doesn't move at all unless unlocked.  For example,  moving the takeoff point should not change the orientation of the grid on it's own either.

Dave Pitman 0 votes