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Creating Orbit Missions

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:21 pm
by admin
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Orbit missions are simple missions, allowing the drone to fly one pass around a point of interest, taking video or still images at regular intervals. The drone flies sideways in this type of mission.

NOTE: If you have a Spark you cannot use this mission. The Spark does not support waypoint missions.

The camera is pointed down at takeoff, with the aim to keep the point of interest in the bottom 1/3 of the frame (this assumes the point of interest is at the same level as the takeoff point).

Unlike other mission types, in an orbit mission, you will have full gimbal control via the manual controller wheel on your RC controller. Thus you can adjust the angle at any time if you like.

The mission is suited for real estate or inspection work where you want to collect images of infrastructure, housing or a natural feature.

Warning: It's important to control the arc of the orbit so you are not flying behind any tall structure. If you lose contact with the drone it may trigger a return to home and potentially crash into the structure. It's your responsibility to maintain line of sight with your drone at all times.

Two steps are required to produce an orbit mission:
  1. Setting the mission objectives
  2. Define the point of interest, orbit arc and distance from the point of interest
First, navigate to the Plan screen using the main menu. Tap the "Hamburger" icon at the top left of the screen to display this menu:

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On the Plan screen, move the map close to the area that you would like to view and zoom in to a comfortable level. Don't zoom in too far. While you can zoom and scroll later, it is easier to move the map to roughly where you need it first.

When ready to create the mission, press the round blue + button at the bottom right of the screen to reveal the mission selector. Tap on the "Orbit" button and press Next to start building an Orbit mission.

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Step 1: Mission Objectives

The first step of any mission is the Mission Objectives dialog. This dialog allows you to choose basic settings for the mission and the items on it will adapt to suit the mission type. This will slide in from the right of the screen.

Note that you can exit mission creation by tapping the X at the top left of the objectives dialog. This will cancel new mission creation and retain whatever mission is currently loaded.

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In the example above, there are several important settings that you can change, but in many cases the defaults will be suitable
  • Camera - The camera should show the drone that you are connected to now, or were last connected to.
    • Tap on this section of the dialog to display the camera settings.
    • In orbit missions, JPG or RAW photos or video can be taken
Tip: You don't have to change Camera settings now, you can change them at any time prior to takeoff. Camera settings are available from the main app menu
  • Min Safe Alt - this is a critical setting for the entire mission.
    • Whatever other settings you choose, no part of the mission can be lower than this altitude.
    • It also defines the altitude at which the vertical part of takeoff finishes and the vertical part of landing begins
    • Make sure the Min Safe Alt is set well above any obstacles such as tall trees or buildings in your area of operations. The safety of the drone and people and property around you is your responsibility.
    • Remember - all altitudes are measured relative to the Home point.
  • Flying altitude (above home) - Use this option to enter the altitude you would like to orbit at.
    • This must be above the Min Safe Alt
    • All mission waypoints will be at this altitude.
  • Target Speed - this is the speed in m/s that the aircraft will attempt to attain when flying the mission
    • If you set this too fast, you may not have time to react in case of an incident where you need to take manual control.
    • You can set this really slow if you want to do hyperlapse style images. The in/outbound speed will be no less than 4m/s but slower speeds will be used inside the mission area (if you set them < 4m/s)
    • 5m/s=18km/hr=11.2 miles/hr
  • Camera triggering - set the camera to trigger automatically or manually. If Auto triggering is used, set the interval between shows using the slider.
    • Again, this can be used to create hyperlapse style affects.
    • The estimated distance (on the orbit circle) between shots is displayed
    • If set to manual, it's up to you to trigger the camera using the RC shutter button.
  • Review mission after creation - if you tick this on, the app will remain on the Planning page once you have finished creating the mission, if ticked off, it will automatically return to the Fly page, ready for takeoff.
The Gimbal Angle will be automatically set based on altitude and distance from the point of interest to keep the point of interest in the bottom 1/3 of the image. Unlike other missions, you will have full manual control of the Gimbal in this mission type and can make changes to this angle using the gimbal wheel on the RC controller.

When you are satisfied with the settings, press NEXT at the top right of the screen

Step 2: Define the point of interest, orbit size and location

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In this step you will define
  • The target / point of interest of the orbit. The camera and drone always point at this
  • The arc the aircraft will fly
  • The distance from the target the aircraft will fly
Point of Interest

Tap once on the screen to set the point of interest.

The blue ring and white and black point of interest marker, as shown above, will appear.

You can move the point of interest at any time by dragging it.

Flight arc

The blue ring illustrates the path the aircraft will fly, you can set the arc anywhere from 90 to 360 degrees around the object of interest using the white handles at the end of the arc.

Ensure the arc you set will allow you to maintain line of sight with your drone at all times.

Warning: You must maintain control of, and line of sight with, your aircraft at all times. If you fly behind the structure, you may lose signal, trigger the return to home and potentially crash into the structure. 

Distance from target

Using the green aircraft icon you can set the distance to fly from the target. Simply drag it closer or further away from the target.

This distance will impact the resolution of the photos and the orbit radius

Tip: To zoom in/out and move or rotate the map, you can use regular pinch/zoom or single finger drag gestures on an area of the map away from the orbit widget. 

Tip: If you have zoomed in too far, finger gestures may not work correctly. In this case, use the  (-) button at the top right of the screen to zoom out one step.

Once you are satisfied with these settings, press the blue OK button to complete the orbit mission build.

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Mission Statistics
After the mission is created, basic mission statistics are updated in the white strip beneath the map.

In the above case, the mission is 0.62km long, 13 pictures, 3:14 mins flight time (estimated)

Final tips for Orbit missions:
  • You can fly an Orbit mission with the camera set to JPG, RAW or Video.
  • You will have manual control over the gimbal during an Orbit mission, but the camera will initially be tilted to put the target in the bottom 1/3 of the frame
  • The drone does not take terrain into account in any mission type. All altitudes are relative to the takeoff point. Please ensure you set the Min Safe Alt high enough to avoid crashing into terrain, buildings, people or infrastructure at any point of the mission. You are responsible for the safety of your equipment and people and property around you.
To fly this mission, return to the Fly page.