Your DJI as an Ag Survey Tool
You may already use a DJI drone for videography. These drones work great for agriculture surveys too.
What you need:
• Drone: Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 Pro, Inspire 1, Inspire 1 Pro, or Matrice 100
• Camera: The stock cameras on these drones work well. However, if you want to capture imagery that will generate NDVI and Variable Application Reports (variable rate application shape files), you will need to install an NIR filter in the camera. You will also need to modify the camera’s setting so it does not auto-adjust to changing light conditions during your survey.
• Ground Control Device: An iOS phone or tablet with Map Pilot installed. Map Pilot is an application made by Drones Made Easy for flying precision surveys with your DJI drone.
• A subscription to FarmLens. The first week is free after signup. Find details here.
How to survey:
In the field, you’ll connect to your DJI through Map Pilot and create a survey pattern over your target area. See this page for details on creating surveys with Map Pilot. Once your survey pattern is uploaded to the drone, you can take off and it will fly the survey while it’s camera takes pictures. Afterwards, you’ll need to transfer your survey photos to a computer, compress them into a single zip folder, then upload them to FarmLens. Once your upload is complete, your photos will be stitched into a single image of your field in a couple of hours. After you crop this image to your preferred dimensions, your final products will be generated within a matter of minutes. For a more detailed explanation of this process, see this page.
If you are well-versed in DJI operation, you should find this process simple enough, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when executing your survey…
Different FarmLens products require different survey parameters. Make sure you are using the right parameters for your desired products. See this page for details on the various survey parameters.
Your maximum survey area is not limited by the flight time of your drone. With Map Pilot, you can stop mid-survey, change batteries, and the drone will pick up where it left off once it’s back in the air. The only things limiting your survey area are your radio range and your amount of charged batteries.
When uploading to FarmLens, only include photos from a single survey in a single zip folder. Do not include multiple surveys in a single zip folder. Also, do not include any photos other than those from your survey.