Flight Plan, by Beyond the Cube
Note - Features for SLANTRANGE sensors are currently only available for iPad devices. If you are using an iPhone please follow the instructions linked here.
Beyond the Cube's Flight Plan app is an excellent mission planner for SLANTRANGE systems. It supports our full suite of sensors, and offers additional features for the 3PX.
For 3PX users the custom DJI PSDK enabled Flight Plan app can be downloaded through Apple's TestFlight Beta program. Follow the link below and sign up using your iTunes user account.
Below is a quick example mission video with the 3PX.
Mission Planning Tutorial
Once the app is opened, the first step is to navigate to the area you want to fly and either open or create a plan using the folder icon
The Open Shape window lists a few options:
- Local - Load a flight plan stored locally on the device.
- Cloud - Load a flight plan from your BTC cloud account.
- Shapes - Select either a rectangle (4 vertices) or polygon (3+ vertices) shape.
- Logs - See BTC website.
After the flight plan or shape is selected, edit the vertices to enclose the area you want to survey and rotate the flight lines using the rotate icon.
Note: If you created the shape using the polygon type, you can tap the vertex to enter in a Latitude and Longitude.
The main screen has several options, here we focus on those needed for collecting data with SLANTRANGE systems.
Note: Highlighted elements are for SLANTRANGE 3PX sensors only.
Press the Mission Settings gear icon to open the Grid Settings window.
First, toggle the Start Camera setting to off, and set the SideLap to 20%-30% depending on your wind conditions.
Note: Changing the FrontLap setting has no affect for SLANTRANGE sensors.
Next press the edit icon to open the Flight Planner window. Change the Sensor setting to SLANTRANGE 3PX and select the appropriate Type of Data Collection.
IMPORTANT: Understanding the Flight Planner and Type of Data Collection is critical to collecting the right data for SlantView analysis. There are currently four different collection types.
- Individual Plant - Population
- Individual Plant - Stress
- Closed Rows
- Closed Canopy
See the Mission Planning section for a detailed explanation of factors to consider when planning a mission. Here is a quick example using the Individual Plant - Population data collection type.
When the Type of Data Collection is changed, new fields will appear. In the figure above, the required inputs are Plant Length and Plant Width. Measure the plant and enter the values with the correct units. Once entered, the altitude and speed will be applied to the Grid Settings window.
Double check the settings and exit out of the window to return to the main screen. Save your plan locally or in the cloud using the save icon and give it a name. At this point we've finished planning the mission and now it's time to fly.
After verify the flight plan, start data capture using the AIS button or the capture icon for the 3PX. Watch the AIS lights or 3PX status, and wait for the blinking green LED and Recording status. Press the start mission icon to bring up the Execute Flight Plan window.
Set the Finish Action to RTH, meaning Return To Home, and Heading Mode to Auto.
CAUTION: Pressing Start Mission is the last step before flight and the aircraft will take off.
Ensure the takeoff area is safe and press Start Mission to begin the waypoint upload and execute flight.
After the mission is complete, the aircraft will return home and land. Stop data capture by pushing the AIS button or press the capture icon. Wait for the AIS red, yellow, and green LEDs to turn solid before powering down the system. At this point you have completed a data collection and can process the data in SlantView.
Other features available for the 3PX
With the addition of the DJI Skyport, we have added features to the Flight Plan app. The first noticeable difference is additional GUI elements that monitor and perform basic functions with the sensor. In this section we will explain in detail each element and how it is used.
The 3PX Checklist window only appears as the sensor is booting up, and may be missed depending on when the Flight Plan app is started. The checklist indicates the status of two main tests:
- SD Card Checks - The sensor checks SD card formatting and write speed. If any of these checks fail, an error message with instructions is shown.
- Preflight Check - The sensor is checking its navigation solution. If the sensor biases and noise do not settle quickly, sensor calibration may be needed.
- Ready - The sensor checks are normal and it is ready for data collection.
The status element is located on the top of the main screen and indicates:
- Sensor State
- SD Card Space Left - Percent remaining capacity on the SD Card for data collection.
- GPS Number of Satellites
- GPS Fix Type
3PX SD Card Info
Pressing the status element will bring up the SD Card Info window with more sd card details.
- Total Space - Total capacity of the SD card.
Note: SLANTRANGE removes 4GB of total allowable data collection space to allow for generation of log files.
- Space Left (Percent) - Space available for data collection.
- Images Left - Estimated number of images that can be stored on the SD card.
- Time Left - Estimated total data collection time left. Before every mission it is good to check the time left is greater than the total mission time.
The 3PX telemetry element is located on the bottom of the main screen.
- AIS - Sunlight levels for each camera channel normalized to calibrated values.
- Image Count - Number of images captured during the data collection.
The 3PX Capture icon functions similarly to the physical AIS button, and is used to start and stop data collections. Once started, a new data folder will be created and images will be saved in it. Once stopped, the log files are created and data collection ceases. A red capture icon indicates recording and the sensor is capturing images.
Pressing the configuration icon will bring up the 3PX Configuration window.
- Sensor Serial Number
- Sensor Firmware Version
- Format SD Card - Reformats the SD card to free up space and change file system.
- Create Log File - Creates a log file and saves it to the SD card.
- Reboot Sensor - Reboots the sensor to clear any errors.
During the mission, the pilot can monitor the image overlays to see the surveyed area. The AIS indicators display live measurements of different bands in the changing sunlight conditions.
When the sensor starts getting too hot, a warning message and the temperature status will be displayed. The sensor will automatically shutdown when any of the temperatures reach 90 degrees celsius.
The 3PX is constantly monitoring itself and at times will pop-up messages informing the user of status changes, warnings, and errors. We minimize these messages to what is necessary.