AGL ETA ?
Hi, I'm aware this is on the roadmap, but would like to know whether it's on top of the priorities or not. This is a biggy for me, as I have to fly over (and between) trees and hills. I can fill up the hole with litchi, allowing me to play with AGL, but it's not as flexible as to action integration as dronelink, so I'd like to know whether there's any ETA on this feature (which I truly hope to see in the near future)...
We generally try to match our priorities to the number of votes that features have, and AGL is near the top of that list. Having said that, we also prioritize based on what our paying customers need first, especially for the enterprise accounts, and AGL isn't at the top of that list yet. In either case, we don't commit to timelines or publish release schedules. Instead we stick to "it will be ready when it's ready".
Well, i could imagine AGL be enticing for enterprise accounts, like when needing to spy upon one's colleges on the right floor of a building ... : )
Yes, AGL is important. A must have!!!
I can't leave Litchi until we have AGL.
Agreed. AGL is much needed and a must for anything having to do with terrain. If "paying" customers haven't pleaded their case for it yet...they will.
Are you looking to use this feature for non-commercial use?
Personally I had a free account before a couple of weeks ago. This feature would be very handy for my hobby purposes. I have recently upgraded to a paid membership to support this fantastic product. AGL/terrain follow is high up my list 😀
My account is non-commercial as we are a non-profit organization and we do wildlife observation in mountainous terrain. I am hand calculating every waypoint/marker elevation to get a consistent above ground level for our missions. It is tedious, but I like the DroneLink software, so I will continue to endure.
To be clear, AGL support is not the same as terrain following. Are you guys interested in setting AGL altitudes on things like markers in Path components, or more interested in terrain following in Map components?
For me, we are following creek courses through valleys at a consistent altitude above the valley (say 300 feet AGL). Well, over the course of a one mile mission the valley may change in elevation 500 feet. So, I have to add markers into the mission to tell the drone to raise/lower in elevation using the linear interpolation method given in the DroneLink algorithm, otherwise I'm going to be 800 feet AGL or crash into the ground (as the the case may be, whether the valley is rising or lowering if I don't change my elevation somewhere in the mission). And as you know, valleys are not sloped consistently, they undulate up and down along the way. So a marker needs to be added at every major undulation.
Therefore, it would be nice to simply enter 300 AGL at every marker (with linear interpolation between each marker) instead of having to calculate every marker elevation (using a spreadsheet) and entering an ATL altitude (delta in elevation since takeoff) for every marker - it's very cumbersome and time consuming, especially for long missions following winding creek beds.
Thank you, I really do appreciate your hard work and your effort in this platform, it's great. :-)
Terrain follow for me. Going to map my father's farm and it's very hilly. Goes from 300m above sea level to 800m at it's heighest point. Way I'm doing it at the moment is I need to set smaller areas to map and try to make sure it's on the same level above ground. Terrain follow would fix that for me.
Are any of you interested in testing this on our development servers?
I would like to test it.
I would love to - I’m heading up to my father’s property on the weekend to do so mapping and can give it a good test out.
Concerning the development of this on the dev site...wow! Great work. I'm very impressed.
I've only tested the mapping part and haven't actually flown a mission, but I mapped a Path mission and a Map mission; exported them both to Google Earth using a KML file and they both came in fantastic, both at the right elevations - the Map followed the terrain and the Path followed the markers at the exact AGL that I input.
No more using spreadsheets and calculating elevations for every marker. HALLELUJAH!
I'm sure this will have to be tested with actual missions flown, but do you know have an idea of when this will go live on the production site?
Yes please, Ide also like to test it.
is Equipment feedback also of interest, ie I use mavic pro and iPad Pro combo?
I would like to have at least a week of testing on it, and I still want to integrate it with the KML and Litchi import features.
Ok ... I have tested terrain follow with mapping. Very happy with it. I've posted a video of part of the mission. You can see the altitude changing as it goes along. I will be uploading photos and using OpenDroneMap later today to compile the pictures and create the orthographic, will post results.
Were you running this mission without a required takeoff location?
Tried using AGL on a path, but it didn't do as I expected. I used "Ground Level" as reference. Am I missing a step somewhere?
Map is the only component that does "terrain follow" automatically. If you want to get terrain-follow-like functionality out of Path, you have to add as many markers as you need along the path accomplish the level of granularity that you want. For reference, the Map component is hard coded to a 30m granularity.
The reason I ask about the takeoff restriction is because the issue detector should be showing you a warning to turn it on once you have at least one AGL altitude specified. If you take off from somewhere different than the takeoff location indicated in the plan, all the altitudes could be severely off. Perhaps the warning message doesn't make this clear enough?
Sorry Jim, was your question about the path mission? I updated the path question to include a second image - or was the question about the mapping?
I had the same question when I was testing it.
Drop a few markers along the path (like you are setting a marker to "change" altitude), then set that marker altitude to be AGL.
Dronelink will calculate the proper altitude at that point
Create enough markers to cover the changes in altitude properly and preview it in Google Earth before flying.
Yes, Eric, I tried it on the Dev site like you described and it worked like a charm. However, have not tested a flight yet.
I'm a litle bit late, but for my use (non-commertial) AGL is sufficient.
Also I am concerned about terrain following, how will it work if we are ina a region where ground elevation is not acurrate?
(Sorry if this is off-topic)
The feature is based on ESRI's online elevation service, which itself is based on many different data sources as discussed here. Bottom line, not all locations have the same accuracy, and if you put garbage in to the system you will get garbage out. This is why we show the warning to be extra cautious during mission execution and recommend that you export the mission to Google Earth as a sanity check against a different tool (which may be using different elevation sources, depending on the location). To further complicate things, the entire feature is dependent on having a known takeoff location, which is why Dronelink warns you if you do not set a takeoff restriction.
Jim - re map terrain follow. I had used some specific takeoff points as well as some that weren't. As you said, maybe the warning needs to be looked at to make it clear what the issue is. In all of my mapping missions I view in Google Earth beforehand so I can see where it will be and if there's any potential issues. No matter where I took off from, I did not have any issues whatsoever with the height or it appearing to be higher or lower than expected. In fact, it turned out perfectly every time. Having an enhanced warning about it would make it clearer what potential pitfalls are. Typically where I took off from was the same altitude as the starting point.
Here is one of 15 grids I did yesterday that show various elevations. You could clearly see the drone changing elevation and it was consistent with the 50 metres above ground I had directed. (I was unable to get it to load the textured model from work so it doesn't look as good as it should).
I had an issue of disconnection on two specific areas, but not quite sure what caused it. The app said disconnected, the light on the remote was green. It did what it should though and returned home, so no problems there.
Re terrain follow. All in all though, I absolutely love this new feature and it has worked flawlessly for me. I flew the drone around part of the property and given I went up 500 metres from take-off point (sheds in middle of the image I posted before) and just reached top of the highest mountain, I would be confident in using this. Ensuring I take off from the right point is important and I understand the reasons behind it and will ensure that it is used each time - some are easier to know where I will take off from than the rest. For the 15 grids I had two take-off points - one was the sheds and the other was down near some cattle yards. Easy enough for simple stuff, thought required on my behalf when I get into the remote parts of the property.
Re path stuff. I ran out of time to test that updated process but will give it a go in my suburb where there's a few hills.
If you takeoff from a location with a significantly different elevation than the specified takeoff location, all the altitudes in the mission will be offset by the difference because the ground elevation of the takeoff elevation is stored at mission planning time. It is possible to use other sources, such as the phone's GPS altitude (assuming you are standing next to the drone at takeoff and it has GPS) or even the online elevation service (assuming the phone has a network connection), but none of this code has been written, and even if we do write it, those assumptions may not be true all the time. The question is, should we release it as-is (seems like it is useful for you already) and just make the warning more clear?
I would like to test as well, but not able to fly much due to constant rain and or darkness up here at 60 deg north. I would love to test the planning part of it though. Where can I find the dev server?
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