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Inspire v Phantom for mapping

Discussion in 'Surveying & Mapping' started by bluelight.support, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. bluelight.support

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    Having now used the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 Pro for mapping Im unsure as to which is the better system.

    The Phantom is a very quick and easy system to use and is idiot proof.

    The Inspire is a professional beast with professional lenses which needed the extra attention and set-up to ensure a good finish. Ive used the stock 15mm lens, and also Olympus 12mm, 17mm, and 14-42mm with comparable results.

    Getting 1.5cm GSD is normal from around 120ft and processing 150-200 images is similar timing for both. Im not seeing any real benefit from the extra resolution of the Inspire 1 Pro and I find that surprising.

    I wonder what others felt ?
     
  2. Aerial-Pixel

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    I've used both the Inspire 1 and Phantom 3 Advanced for mapping and have reached the same conclusion. Plus longer flight time for the P3 and P4 so there are less interruptions when mapping a large area.
     
  3. Captured Media

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    What program are you using for mapping? I was looking at Pix4
     
  4. bluelight.support

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    Pix4D, Agisoft Photoscan, Envi Onebutton, ESRI Drone2Map and a number of others
     
  5. Captured Media

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    Would you recommend one above the rest?
     
  6. bluelight.support

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    whats your budget and what are you trying to achieve ?
     
  7. IrishSights

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    Inspire wins hands down, for me anyway, commercially because of its higher wind rating. The Phantom range would restrict my available flying days dramatically in my part of the world.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. bluelight.support

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    ignoring the manual, is their much physical difference between them both do you find ?
     
  9. IrishSights

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    Not sure what you mean ignoring the manual. I don't use the Phantom at all now. I would not fly a Phantom in 20mph winds, too risky, it small, light and low powered for such winds. I cannot ignore the manual, I am also bound by my Ops manual as my insurance is void if I go outside of its parameters. If I can't map due to 20mph winds and only a Phantom, I could not stay in business.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  10. bluelight.support

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    I probably didnt phrase it very well - i was meaning just taking the airframes in actual use in wind - how did you find them, as opposed to just looking at specs in the manual.

    Ive flown both the Phantom and Inspire in relatively blustery weather and felt the Inspire seams to compensate more "robustly" than the Phantom.
     
  11. Captured Media

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    I'm a start up company, and want to be able to offer 3d mapping which can be used for site surveys etc and have measurements taken from it. Budget is around the £500 - $700 mark
     
  12. bluelight.support

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    im afraid you've jumped into a minefield. The fact you want to offer site surveys and have measurements taken from it puts you in the professional arena, and issues with gps accuracy. I can map from both the Inspire and Phantom and get 1cm/pix GSD, the accuracy of GPS for positioning which ultimately affects measurements is =<5m. The easiest way of getting 1-5cm accuracy which you would need for surveys would be to take separate ground control points with something like a hand held cm grade gps device which is what we do and that will get the accuracy between 1-2cm. I dont know where you are based but in the UK you would be looking at £6k+ for the GPS unit, then the software varies between $200 for Agisoft Photoscan (which will not do for you) to circa £3-5k per annum for the others. We also use ESRI Arc GIS Pro to prepare reports.
     
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  13. IrishSights

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    For site surveys you need GCP's to cm level accuracy. That means either buying in RTK GPS or hiring it per job. The Inspire's GPS is only consumer grade, no use for surveys I'm afraid. You then have to process the data with either dedicated software like Agisofts Photoscan Pro at $3000 or the likes of a Pix4D subscription. Even for the aircraft alone plus batteries and extra chargers I think your budget is way too low.


    UK PFAW holder
    BNUC-S qualified
     
  14. IrishSights

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    He would need the Pro version which is $3000 the last I checked. For GIS I use the Open Source QGIS



    UK PFAW holder
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  15. bluelight.support

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    As IrishSights says, Photoscan Pro is a one off price of $3000 compared to others which are annual subscriptions.

    I didn't have much luck personally with Photoscan Pro for measurements as I found it quite limited.

    QGis is a very powerful system, we only went with ESRI because of compatibility with our clients... and even better, its free and works with both PC and Mac.
     
  16. Captured Media

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    Ah I hadn't quite realised it was that in depth, I'm based in Sussex the company is going to be primarily photography and videography but I saw the Pix4 software and thought that could be another good option to offer. I'd read it could be used to take measurements but from the sounds of it they won't be any good to serious client. I definitely don't have enough to get all the other equipment you've mentioned either. Think I might have to have a rethink. Is something like Pix4 worth getting just to offer the 3d mapping aspect as aposed to offering structural dimensions?
     
  17. IrishSights

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    It's a personal preference really. I like to process my own datasets hence Photoscan Pro. But that needs a very powerful high end workstation...it can still take overnight to process large point clouds. If you don't have that then the online services can be good. Pix4D is not cheap either at its basic level it's $500 a month. So you would need to have work for it. In my opinion mapping is quite specialised and not really just an add-on service to a videography operation.

    Only very basic mapping can be done with the Inspire images directly. You can using the likes of QGIS's Georeferencer Plugin get it a little tighter but still not good enough for survey setting out. Might be OK for the likes of Ecology clients or basic landscape context mapping for archaeologists where tight accuracy is not required. It depends what the client wants really.

    PFAW Holder
    BNUC-S Qualified
     
  18. bluelight.support

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    You've answered your own question really. I came from the other point of view. My background was emergency services and emergency planning so came from the mapping and situational awareness hence getting in with mapping and topography. Although I went for the Inspire Pro for a better resolution camera and therefore higher resolution imagery (which also is a double edged sword as it is more difficult to process) there is no way i would set up as a arial wedding photographer or movie maker thats something i know nothing about.

    Unless you are willing to put in the 18 months or so research on how GNSS works and the massive technicalities behind that to the level of which was you face when taking measurements to ensure you don't block the view of the satellite etc (and thats just to take one measurement) then stay well clear.

    All these on-line services are great for processing, however you have no control over them, you cant tweak settings and control the process. More importantly you will find most clients will cite security issues for allowing their data to be processed in the cloud, thats before you consider the data protection issues, but lets not go there!

    Im really not a fan on Pix4D, i find it unreliable, although I see they are brining in a Mac version which is good.

    I process using a Mac Pro and i can process an an ortho in about 7 hours from start to finish using high resolution. It is interesting that i am also trailing Envi Onebutton and that processed the same data in 10 minutes, but I'm still looking at qualities differences
     
  19. woodc

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    We have an Inspire 1 Pro, a P3 advanced and a P4. We use the P4 almost exclusively due to the extended runtime vs the I1. With only so many hours in the day without long shadows trying to map several hundred acres at a reasonable altitude with the I1 is not feasible in a single day. The P4 can also run all day on 6 batteries and 2 chargers. So keep in mind the target site size when making a decision:)

    If you are not afraid of technical bits there are some inexpensive RTK GPS solutions becoming available. Check out Emlid Reach

     
  20. bluelight.support

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    I agree there are some good systems such as the one above plus a number of others, none of which are compatible with the DJI. Running Pixhawk controllers will interface into the Emlid, Pixi and others, however you still need a ground station as a base point and you are limited by radio range of 200-300m accurately, and when you go to your client explaining how you got your data and the "open" nature of the software, unlike known names for getting ground control points I found the systems not that friendly and more suited to research rather than real commercial work.

    There are also supported only by forums (mind you; you could say that of DJI !!!) and you are still looking at £2k to implement, and they you have the control issues of matching the images to the GPS data.

    While the DJI has all its faults, the EXIF info does at least allow quick alignment (if you obviously change the negative sea level issue which is a simple process) in the field, without spending times and effort with spreadsheets and the errors they are prone to.

    Sorry i have researched and tried all these, they don't work in a real situation where you don't have time to spend hours getting accurate and usable data.

    How do you find your imagery out of the Inspire compared to Phantom (or is it the X3)??