Set Up for Flying - Start Here!

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Welcome to DroneDeploy! This is a document to help pilots set up and fly with the DroneDeploy Flight app.


Please have a look at our Supported Drones and Supported Devices articles for information on compatibility with your aircraft and operating system.


1. Check that your mobile device OS and DroneDeploy and DJI Apps are fully Updated

First, please check for iOS, Android, or Amazon updates for your mobile device.

Then, please check the App Store or the Google Play store for updates to DroneDeploy and DJI. We recommend that you turn on automatic updates.

Get it on the App Store

Get it on Google Play

Get it on Amazon Appstore (Mavic 3 Enterprise only)


2. At Home, Check Drone Firmware in the DJI App

To use DroneDeploy, you must upgrade to your aircraft's latest firmware and ensure your aircraft is fully calibrated. Uncalibrated hardware and out-of-date firmware are the two most common issues that prevent people from flying or cause unexpected behavior.

Please check for updates before you leave home. Checking for updates in the field is a recipe for waiting too long for a download or flying with out-of-date firmware.


How to check firmware

Connect your controller and drone to your mobile device and open the DJI App. The first screen shown will also load firmware updates as it first searches for those updates.
Please enter your drone if there are no pending firmware updates, and make sure that the aircraft status is 'Normal - Ready (GPS).'
(You can also check out additional information on updating firmware using the appropriate DJI App and the link here.)



3. In the Field, Confirm Flight Readiness

You've confirmed that your drone is updated, and you're now out in the field at your takeoff point.


Before opening up DroneDeploy, we highly recommend opening up the DJI App first to ensure that the compass and IMU do not need to be recalibrated (travel can cause these instruments to become uncalibrated) and that you have ample satellite coverage before takeoff.


Manually Fly to Check the Altitude of your Highest Obstacle
Obstacle Avoidance is not 100% safe proof and cannot be relied upon to avoid crashing into objects. Planning your mission with altitude at the top of your mind is essential. Before opening up DroneDeploy, you can use the DJI App to fly to the highest obstacle in your mission area and take note of its altitude. We recommend flying a minimum of 50 feet higher than the highest obstacle within your mission area.
You're set to fly with DroneDeploy after 'Ready to Go - GPS' status in DJI.
Please ensure that you completely close the DJI app before opening DroneDeploy to avoid any potential issues.

4. In-Flight Safety Precautions

You are always in control

When flying with DroneDeploy, you'll be prompted to switch to:

  • P mode for Phantom 4 series
  • P mode for Mavic Pro
  • "Normal" for Mavic Air, Air 2/2S, M3E, M3T
  • F mode for Inspire series

If at any point you are feeling uncomfortable, take manual control of the drone:

  • Switch to S mode for the Phantom 4 series
  • Switch to S mode for Mavic Pro
  • Switch to P mode for the Inspire series
  • Switch to "Sport" for Mavic Air 2/2S, M3E, M3T

Or initiate a Return to Landing using the app's remote controller or home button.


Position the mode switch on the remote controller (Phantom 4 Pro pictured).

*Invalid Remote Controller Mode* Error means that your controller is not in the correct mode listed above. It may also indicate the controller/drone is in beginner mode.



5. Help Promote a Strong Signal between Drone and Controller

Distance, physical barriers (a big building, a hill, a tree), and electromagnetic interference (such as power lines, reinforced concrete, or large metal objects) are the most common reasons your drone can disconnect from the controller's signal.

To help avoid this, we recommend:

  1. Taking off from the high point of the map. A vantage point has a good chance of the signal propagating strongly throughout the area.
  2. Take off as centered within the area as possible
  3. Avoid sources of interference; examples given above
  4. Avoid flight plans that take the drone out of the line of sight
  5. Walk with the drone if necessary if the flight plan must take the drone out of your line of sight
  6. Adjust flight direction and flight shape, especially near the specific problem area.
  7. Stay within the advertised range of the drone.

No Fly Zones/Restricted Areas

DJI's NFZ unlocking SDK could be more reliable and buggy. Even with proper authorization, mapping in and around an NFZ may not work. You'll be able to read more about it here.

Using the app

Where to from here?

After you've flown, your images can be uploaded for processing via an automatic Mobile Upload (if available) or can be added to the existing map or a fresh map by following the How to Process Datasets article for instructions to upload images from your SD card to your DroneDeploy dashboard. Processing of images is a feature only reserved for our paid users on our Lite, Individual, Advanced, Teams, or Enterprise subscriptions.



Webinars and case studies: All webinars are recorded and posted here. Check out our Forum to connect with over 1000 drone pilots, our troubleshooting guide, or email for further assistance.

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