Desktop Flight Planning

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You can learn how to plan a flight on using your computer.

Below are the instructions to plan a project on on your desktop computer prior to flight. See the Initial Setup for Flying and the Making Successful Maps guides before you leave home to map!


Project Overview

A Project is a location-based organization that centralizes your relevant drone data into one place making tracking change over time easy and time-efficient.

There are 4 tabs within a project: 

  1. Fly: Reusable flight templates can be found on the 'Fly' tab. You can fly a template as often as possible without copying it. This helps to remove variability when you're tracking change over time.
  2. Upload: The 'Upload' tab is ready to accept images for flights we've detected as flown and can also receive any uploads that fit our processing requirements.
  3. Explore: The maps in the 'Explore' tab are each distinct entities within the project. They are automatically aligned to each other, so overlays and annotations will only need to be made on one map to see the change over time. Deleting a completed map will delete that single map and will not delete the entire project.
  4. Report: The 'Report' tab currently hosts the Annotation Report and the Progress Report, with more to come.

The 4 tabs of a Project.

Please refer to the Creating a New Project article to learn how to properly create a new project.


Creating a Flight Plan

Once you have created a new project, select the 'Fly' tab in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.1.png

In the 'Fly' tab you are able to select the type of flight you would like to capture. There are several flight template options: 

  • Manual - Allows you to manually fly and capture data without a specific flight plan
  • Agriculture
    • Stand Count - Generates a stand count report 
  • Maps & Models
    • Standard - Creates a map and model 
    • Facade - Creates a vertical model 
    • Corridor - Creates a long distance map 
  • Media
    • Panorama - Generates a spherical photo
    • Video - Captures a high quality video 
    • Photo Report - Captures high quality photo

Select the flight template you would like to create. After doing so, a standard view of that template will appear.


IMPORTANT! For the remainder of this article, we will be referencing a standard flight template, however, the flight planning process is the same for all flight templates.

Screenshot 2024-02-22 at 14.15.20.png

You will be able to edit the map template by dragging the white outline markers of the map to create your desired template. You can also add points to your template by selecting the "+" markers surrounding the map template.


Seeing Overlays on the Flight Planning Page

You can use one of your overlays as a guide for flight planning. To do this, head to "Explore" at the top of your project. Select the overlays tab, then the overlay of choice. From here, you can toggle on the option to see this on the "Fly" Page: 

Screenshot 2024-05-15 at 5.56.25 PM.png

Head back to the Fly tab to see your overlay.


Adding Additional Flight Templates

It is common to utilize more than one flight template in one project. You may, for instance, want one standard map plan, one panorama template and one video template for a single location.

To create additional flight templates, click on the template selector in the top left of your screen, indicated using a blue "+" symbol.

Screenshot 2024-02-22 at 15.48.55.png

Flight Settings

Below the template selector, you can set the custom parameters for your flight.


Your flight settings are very important.
Understanding and adjusting these parameters along with the Advanced Settings is paramount to successfully mapping across varied conditions and subjects. Altitude and overlap settings are the two most crucial parameters to think about changing for each flight.
  • When you aren't connected to a drone, the time, area, image count, and battery count estimator calculates conservative estimates based upon a Mavic 2 Pro by default. You can change the drone by which the estimate is based in advanced settings. Likewise, calculations for your specific drone on the mobile app will update once you've connected your drone.

Click on the Planning Camera option to change the drone/camera estimates for each specific flight template.

  • Overlap 
  • Flight altitude sets the distance above the takeoff point that the drone captures photos. Flying higher makes the images easier to stitch at some expense of resolution. If you're mapping a difficult subject such as vegetation, a desert, or water, flying high increases the chance for a successful map. If you do have to fly lower, increase your overlap to make the photos easier to stitch.

A few other notable settings include: 

  • Enhanced 3D captures additional angled shots from the perimeter of your mission plan, facing towards the center of your subject for higher quality 3D models, and combines this with crosshatch photo capture. Enhanced 3D mode maps are best kept under 1000 images. Enhanced 3D mode does have device requirements.

  • Live Map is a real-time mapping product available as part of DroneDeploy’s mobile iOS app. With Live Map, you can produce a low-resolution 2D map on your iOS device as the drone is flying -- even without a cellular or data connection. Live Map has device requirements as well.

  • Obstacle Avoidance is enabled by default to use the built-in obstacle avoidance sensors that your drone may have to help avoid a collision. Sometimes, a low, bright sun can cause the drone to stop mid-flight because it's detected as a nearby object. Turn off Obstacle Avoidance if you think this may be the case and you're confident that the drone will not encounter any real obstacles along its flight path.


Plan on mobile

To plan a flight offline, please plan a flight within the DroneDeploy mobile app. It's a toggle on a template dashboard.


Before you fly

Read the Initial Setup for Flying Guide before you leave home to fly! It's very important to ensure your aircraft is flight-ready!

After you've read the Initial Setup for Flying Guide, head out to the field, check your drone in DJI Go and quit, navigate to your template in the DroneDeploy mobile app, and connect to fly!

Access: All levels of the organization can create a project and flight plan on the dashboard desktop, including pilots, analysts, and admins. 

After you fly

If your captured images do not automatically upload using Mobile Uploads, follow the How to Process Datasets guide to learn how to upload the image set to be processed into a beautiful, complete map!

More Guides on Planning your Flight: 

Mobile App Flight Planning
Planning a Video Flight 
Planning a Panorama Flight
Planning a Progress Report Flight 

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