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X5R and Geofencing

Discussion in 'Zenmuse X5R' started by Alex Douglas, Aug 4, 2016.

  1. Alex Douglas

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    Hi there, new to the forum. Great knowledge base + resource here. Excited + honored to be a part of your community. A little background, I have owned multiple copters over the years. I was primarily flying the s1000 and then slowly transitioned over to the inspire as my full time workhorse as the tech has improved. The ability to have raw micro 4/3 in such a small package is unbelievable. When DJI first introduced the X5/R platform in an announcement trailer, I knew it was a game changer. Since owning the X5, I never wanted to upgrade my firmware on the system as I was unsure of the possible problems the geofencing might create. I have my 333, have taken numerous flight classes, have liability insurance and have been flying for probably 4 or 5 years. I always want to play by the rules, so lets get that out of the way first. I recently just purchased the X5R and am super excited about the technology and possibilities. I just have an uneasiness about how the geofencing could potentially be problematic. From landing in a small foreign country that you are shooting commercially or for a wedding and then being locked out? being on the edge of a locked area locally for a commercial shoot, etc. A few quick questions

    -Is there an older version of the X5R firmware that geofencing isnt enabled that is reliable?
    -Is there a 3rd party app for flying with the X5R without geofencing-This kind of scares me, but thought I would ask?
    -What is yalls experience flying with geofencing? Is it not that big of a hurdle? Is there a resource for seeing what is locked both locally and internationally? How much in advance do you have to contact DJI? are smaller "3rd world" countries generally flyable?

    Thank you guys so much in advance for your time and expertise.
     
  2. Oddshot

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    I can't speak for little islands elsewhere in the world, but in my own experience in a little Oregon beach town with a small airstrip, the geofencing has prevented a couple shoots where the home points were apparently considered too close to the airstrip. The flights would have been 50'-75' max (as I know there are very noisy Cessnas that occasion the place + I don't want to be that guy) and not in any way endangering the runway approaches.

    It's understandable to have geofencing in certain cases and by default for new pilots, but for professional/responsible operators working in a small town that happens to have a runway (with no tower), a complete lock-out is a bit excessive. There should just maybe be a notice you have to click that comes on the screen that reminds you of the costs to yourself and the risk you pose to others if you fly irresponsibly... hmmm, maybe our cars should have that same thing before we can start them eh?

    In another case, a filmmaker friend on a shoot in Wyoming ran into a military geofence... they were literally out in the middle of square miles of grassy field to get some beauty shots at dawn, and just after liftoff, about 30' away, a warning came on the screen and said the craft was approaching a military zone... it then dropped the i1's video signal completely and only allowed pilot controlled flight back to the home point. They tried in another spot further away and same thing. One might expect that in Area 51 but in a grassy field in Wyoming?

    This maybe a handy map to have before planning any shoots:

    U.S. Air Space Map | Know Before You Fly

    Also for reference: Airspace Restrictions

    I will have to ask my buddy if any of those spots on the map are where they were trying to fly.

    As far as I know, the only DJI flight controllers without geo-fencing are the WooKong and A2. Despite who they are marketing the i1 to, I guess DJI feels the it falls into the same category as the Phantoms and might be flown by less responsible pilots not using their senses when it comes to flying in the vicinity of manned aircraft/grassy fields... with that logic perhaps the large, pro-sumer kites that get flown near the beachtown runway should have geofencing as well :)

    There is always the 3DR Pixhawk and other FCs and platforms that don't have geofencing.

    Probably not any FW alternatives, but there is this alternative to the GO App: Autopilot - Autoflight Logic but I am not sure if geofencing is overridden. I would want to try that with a Phantom before I trust it on the X5R Inspire.. Yikes!

    Fair Winds!
     
  3. Oddshot

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    So, from a little more fishing inspired by the subject matter and I see that DJI has been quite sensible in implementing the geofencing. Surprised I did not catch this before (of course for most of my flying, it has not been an issue):

    DJI GEO System - Up-to-date Information On Where to Fly

    I see there is even a way to unlock the zones in advance if you will be without wifi or cellular connections. A bit of a hassle but closer to reasonable. Not bad... but I have yet to try it out, I am now eager to try this out in the nearby beach town with the landing strip :)