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As the leading drone survey company in the UK, we have vast experience and unparalleled insights into the various best drone mapping software available on the drone market in 2023.
When comparing drone software, it’s crucial to consider the specific needs of your operation.
Evaluate the features and capabilities of each software against your requirements in terms of ease of use, accuracy, speed, integration with hardware, cost, and support.
Choosing the right software can significantly impact the success and efficiency of your drone operations. The best software for your needs will depend on the specific applications you’re focused on and the resources available to you, including budget, hardware, and personnel expertise
Always Try Before You Buy
Always make use of free trials, demos, or lite versions of the software if available. This gives you a hands-on experience of how well the software meets your needs before making a financial commitment.
Adopting these strategies will ensure the chosen drone software not only matches your operations’ needs but also improves efficiency, accuracy, and usability, ultimately leading to better outcomes, whether it’s in mapping, surveying, or any other drone applications.
Drone Software Comparison Table 2023
Best Drone Mapping Software In 2023
- Easy-to-use interface
- All-in-one solution
- Real-time 2D mapping
- Supports various mission types
- Useful for quick decision-making
In 2023, DJI Terra marks its position as an easy-to-use, all-in-one drone software solution, offering real-time 2D mapping and flexibility in mission types for professionals. However, users should note its limitations in terms of overall accuracy and resolution quality when compared to other market competitors.
In the drone software landscape of 2023, DJI Terra stands out as an easy-to-use mapping software designed for professionals seeking to convert real-world scenarios into digitized assets.
As an all-in-one solution, DJI Terra provides a robust platform for planning flight missions, capturing image data, processing these images into maps and models, and analyzing the data for improved decision-making.
The software offers real-time 2D mapping, an invaluable feature for rapid decision-making in remote areas, and supports a variety of mission types like Waypoints, Area, Oblique, or Corridor, granting users a wide range of flexibility.
However, the software isn’t without its shortcomings.
Limitations in the overall accuracy and resolution quality of the final maps and models when compared to competitors like DroneDeploy or Pix4Dmapper.
Thus, while DJI Terra presents a rich feature set and ease of use that makes it a valuable tool for professionals needing to digitize reality and create 2D and 3D maps, users should be cognizant of its limitations in terms of accuracy and resolution quality compared to other drone software in the market.
- Versatile camera compatibility
- Comprehensive drone software suite
- Integrates with other platforms
- Broad industry application
- Advanced drone photogrammetry algorithms
In 2023, Pix4D continues to dominate the drone software industry, offering a suite of comprehensive tools that turn a variety of image sources into precise 3D maps and models with exceptional accuracy and speed. With its innovative 2023 updates, improved user interfaces, enhanced processing speed, and robust customer support, Pix4D remains an essential investment for drone surveyors seeking to stay at the forefront of the rapidly evolving field of drone technology.
In 2023, Pix4D continues to set the standard in the drone software market with its comprehensive suite of specialized products. Tailored to a multitude of professional applications, the suite impresses with products like PIX4Dmapper and PIX4Dsurvey, which are of particular interest to drone surveyors.
These tools transform images from a variety of sources, including drones, DSLR, fisheye, RGB, thermal, and multispectral cameras into precise 3D maps and models with survey-grade accuracy.
The efficient and sophisticated photogrammetry and computer vision algorithms deliver speed without compromising on precision.
Pix4D’s 2023 updates bring improved user interfaces, enhanced processing speed, and advanced features, showcasing their commitment to innovation. Add to this their responsive and knowledgeable support staff, and it’s clear why Pix4D remains a top choice for professionals in the field.
All these factors make Pix4D a worthy investment for drone surveyors seeking to leverage the latest technology and elevate their operational capabilities in the rapidly evolving field of drone technology.
- Cloud-based mapping platform
- Fast 2D and 3D processing
- Robust mobile accessibility
- Efficient autonomous flight
- Supports multiple tool integrations
In 2023, DroneDeploy stands out as a leading cloud-based drone mapping platform with its user-friendly interface and timely data processing. However, its steep pricing plans necessitate a careful consideration of specific needs and budget constraints for potential users.
DroneDeploy, in 2023, stakes its claim as a leading cloud-based drone mapping and analytics platform, transforming aerial images into insightful 2D and 3D maps and models. Its user-friendly interface, quick flight planning, and autonomous flight execution have earned it accolades, particularly for its mobile accessibility.
Moreover, it ensures timely processing and stitching of 2D and 3D maps, providing users with prompt access to their data. The capability of DroneDeploy to integrate with various tools and platforms further enhances workflow efficiency and project effectiveness.
However, DroneDeploy isn’t without its drawbacks.
Notably, its pricing plans may prove steep for some users, with the standard plan commencing at $499/month. Consequently, while DroneDeploy proves an indispensable tool for professionals creating 2D and 3D maps from drone imagery, potential users should consider their specific needs and budgetary constraints when choosing a drone mapping software. It provides ample features and capabilities, but these must be balanced against its pricing, an important consideration for many users.
- Real-time rendering of 3D assets
- Interactive web-based inspections
- Multi-device compatibility
- Collaboration-friendly platform
- Caters to various industries
Nira.app is a collaborative drone software platform in 2023, offering real-time rendering of massive 3D assets for web-based interactive inspections. It is device-agnostic, catering to various industries and providing a secure environment for the presentation and review of digital assets.
Nira.app is emerging as a highly collaborative platform for drone software, uniquely designed to render massive 3D assets in real-time for interactive web-based inspection and review.
Regardless of the device used, including smartphones and tablets, Nira.app makes it possible for drone surveyors to work together efficiently and review complex 3D models.
The platform’s compatibility and real-time rendering capabilities help streamline drone surveying tasks, especially when large-scale assets and areas are involved.
Nira.app doesn’t just cater to drone surveyors, but also finds use across various sectors like construction, engineering, entertainment, product design, and historical preservation, to name a few. It offers a secure environment for the presentation, review, inspection, and organization of digital assets and designs.
However, it’s important to note that Nira.app is still in its developmental stage.
As the platform continues to mature and evolve, users can anticipate more improvements and added features that will enhance their drone surveying experience further.
Maps Made Easy
- User-friendly interface
- High-quality image stitching
- Flexible payment options
- Companion app for data collection
- Branding-free map sharing
Maps Made Easy, as of 2023, is an affordable drone software that offers an intuitive interface, high-quality imagery, and flexible payment plans for drone surveyors. Compatible with DJI and Autel drones, this platform stands out with its companion app, Map Pilot Pro, which simplifies the data collection process.
Maps Made Easy
Maps Made Easy is a reliable drone software in 2023 that empowers drone surveyors to upload aerial images, seamlessly stitch them, and host the created maps.
Praised for its ease of use, it is compatible with DJI and Autel drones, delivering orthophoto maps and 3D models with impressive image quality and accuracy within 1%.
This software caters to varying budget needs, offering flexible payment plans, including a pay-as-you-go option and a free plan permitting unlimited map processing up to 1 gigapixel.
The platform sets itself apart with a companion app, Map Pilot Pro, which automates the data collection process and is compatible with both iOS and Android. Accommodating up to 5,000 source images, it lifts resolution limits and allows users to annotate maps to highlight areas of interest or make measurements.
Particularly beneficial for professional use, Maps Made Easy ensures branding-free map sharing for paid jobs. Users have reported commendable results, particularly when using DJI Mavic Mini drones. However, it’s worth noting that the software’s performance might vary based on the drone used and the specific mapping project.
Maps Made Easy presents an economical and user-friendly solution in the realm of drone mapping software, serving as a popular choice for both professional surveyors and drone hobbyists.
- Handles large datasets reliably
- High-quality image stitching
- Offers affordable commercial software options
- Supports different mesh generation methods
- Compatible with 3D PluraView monitors
Agisoft Metashape, a leading drone software in 2023, stands out for its photogrammetric processing, effectively generating 3D spatial information for various applications. It offers a user-friendly interface, handles large datasets reliably, and provides different mesh generation methods, making it an affordable and flexible solution for drone surveyors.
Agisoft Metashape, previously known as Agisoft Photoscan, is a versatile drone software for 2023 that excels in photogrammetric processing of digital images, generating essential 3D spatial data for GIS applications, cultural heritage documentation, and visual effects production.
Known for its reliable performance, the software is particularly adept at handling large datasets and offers a user-friendly interface. The affordability of this software, coupled with its precise processing, makes it an integral part of various workflows, particularly in creating 3D models, maps, and digital elevation models (DEMs).
The software supports various mesh generation methods like Depth Map and Dense Cloud model generation, catering to the availability and volume of photos. Metashape showcases exceptional scalability, supporting up to 50,000 images for large projects, with an option to split the alignment step into several sub-projects.
A highlight is its compatibility with the entire 3D PluraView monitor product family by Schneider Digital, providing a comprehensive workplace solution for geospatial data acquisition, processing, and product generation.
However, potential users should note its high-resource consumption and challenges in body scanning, which requires a multi-camera setup.
Agisoft Metashape emerges as a powerful, reliable, and flexible photogrammetry software, appreciated for its user-friendly interface, affordability, and large dataset handling capabilities.
- Generates Precision Reality Twins for inspections
- Promotes global collaboration in a digital workspace
- Ensures data security with ISO27001 accreditation
- Offers fast processing speed for detailed data
- Enhances reporting with interactive asset condition accounts
Trendspek is a cloud-based drone mapping software that creates Precision Reality Twins (PRTs), highly accurate 3D models of structures, enabling comprehensive remote inspections and analyses. The platform facilitates seamless collaboration within a singular digital workspace, with robust security measures ensuring data privacy
Trendspek is an emerging drone mapping software, providing precision asset intelligence for an array of industries, including civil engineering, real estate, telecommunications, and more. Designed to revolutionize asset management, Trendspek generates high-fidelity 3D models known as Precision Reality Twins (PRTs) of structures and buildings.
These models serve as detailed digital twins, allowing asset managers to carry out comprehensive visual inspections, derive actionable insights, and analyze structures, all without having to step foot on site.
This cloud-based platform brings teams together in a singular digital workspace, simplifying collaboration regardless of geographical barriers. Users can communicate safely and efficiently within the model itself, making the sharing and storing of information a centralized process.
Furthermore, Trendspek demonstrates a strong commitment to data security, reflected in its ISO27001 accreditation and stringent security measures in place.
On top of that, the platform prides itself on its processing speed, ensuring tasks are completed swiftly without compromising on the level of detail in the data. Trendspek’s meticulous attention to detail, coupled with its high processing speed, helps in preserving asset value over time. It stands as an indispensable tool for asset managers who require in-depth understanding of their assets to make informed decisions.
Bentley Context Capture
- Generates detailed 3D reality meshes and models
- Compatible with any digital drone camera
- Integrates with LiDAR point clouds
- Offers on-premise and cloud-processing services
- Facilitates secure data sharing and management
Bentley ContextCapture is a powerful drone software solution that generates detailed 3D reality meshes, orthophotos, and digital surface models using photographs or LiDAR point clouds. Offering versatility in image sourcing, precise photogrammetry techniques, and options for both on-premise and cloud-processing service, it provides invaluable, detailed context for infrastructure projects of all scales.
Bentley ContextCapture is a versatile software solution that enables the creation of high-resolution 3D models, orthophotos, and digital surface models from photographs or LiDAR point clouds. It is useful in various stages of infrastructure projects, offering scalability to accommodate both small sites and large cities.
Additionally, it’s compatible with any digital camera, including high-definition aerial rigs, smartphones, or UAV-mounted cameras.
ContextCapture’s power lies in its fusion of photogrammetry and computer vision techniques, leading to highly accurate, detailed 3D models. The ability to incorporate LiDAR point clouds further enhances these models. With options for both on-premise and cloud processing, ContextCapture ensures flexibility in deployment. The ContextCapture Cloud Processing Service is particularly notable for its rapid processing speed. Moreover, the software’s data management and sharing capabilities facilitate efficient team collaboration. In conclusion, Bentley ContextCapture is a reliable tool for detailed drone 3D modeling.
Drone Software Pricing Comparison 2023
1. DJI Terra Pricing
Pro Permanent (1 device) for $3,430
This plan provides you with permanent access to DJI Terra’s software on one device. It offers:
- Model Reconstruction: This allows you to input images to generate a detailed 2D map and a high-accuracy 3D model of the area. For instance, if you need to map a landscape or a construction site, this feature can be highly useful.
- Real-time Reconstruction: This feature provides the 2D map and 3D model in real time as you fly your drone, enabling instant access to the output and faster decision-making.
- Lidar Data Processing: If your drone is equipped with Lidar (a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth), DJI Terra can generate high-accuracy true-color point clouds with a single click. This can be crucial in topography or terrain modeling, infrastructure design, forestry, and more.
- Detailed Inspection: DJI Terra can automate inspection workflows by generating routes based on target points marked in a 3D model or point cloud. This is beneficial for infrastructure or building inspections.
- Model Application: This feature allows for easy measurements of targets’ coordinates, distances, areas, volumes, and more. It’s very useful in sectors like construction, agriculture, and surveying.
Pro 1 Year (1 device) for $1,210
This annual subscription offers the same features as the Pro Permanent package but requires yearly renewal. If your needs are short-term or budget constraints prevent you from investing in the permanent license, this could be a good option.
Monthly subscription for $260/month
The monthly subscription includes:
- Desktop Application on Up to Two Devices: This provides flexibility, allowing you to work from two different devices. If you need to move between locations or share the software access with a teammate, this could be useful.
- Unlimited Desktop Processing: This means you can process as many projects as you need on your desktop. For heavy users with numerous projects, this is crucial.
- High-Resolution Outputs: The software generates highly detailed, high-resolution 2D maps and 3D models, beneficial for precision work like surveying, construction planning, or detailed inspections.
Yearly subscription for $216.67/month
This plan includes the same features as the monthly subscription, but it’s 16% cheaper when billed annually. If you foresee using the software for an extended period, this can save you money in the long run.
Perpetual for $3,990 one-time payment
This is the best option if you prefer owning the drone software outright. You get all the features offered in the subscription plans, but you also receive personal support and upgrades for the first 12 months.
3. Drone Deploy
Flight & Analysis for $329/month
The features in this plan include:
- 1 Admin User Access: One administrator can control and manage the software. This could be you or someone else responsible for managing the drone operations.
- 3k Image Upload per Map: You can upload up to 3,000 images per map. This could be sufficient for small to medium-sized projects.
- Email & Chat Support: This ensures you can reach out to the company if you encounter any issues or need assistance with the software.
Advanced Flight & Analysis for $599/month
This includes all features from the Flight & Analysis plan, plus:
- 1 Advanced Pilot: This suggests an additional user with advanced privileges or capabilities could be added to the software.
- 10k Image Upload per Map: With a higher image upload limit, this plan is suitable for larger, more detailed mapping projects.
- Cut/Fill vs. Design Surface Capabilities: This tool is handy in earthwork calculations and construction projects, helping measure the amount of material needed to be added or removed to achieve a desired terrain level.
- Vertical Facade Inspection: This feature is beneficial for inspecting the vertical facades of buildings or structures, useful in construction or infrastructure maintenance.
- Radiometric Thermal Imaging: This allows your drone to capture temperature data, which is crucial in certain sectors like energy (inspecting solar panels or power lines) or agriculture (assessing crop health).
- Unlimited GCP Mapping: GCPs (Ground Control Points) are used to increase the positional accuracy of drone imagery. This feature is useful if your work requires very precise measurements.
How To Choose The Right Drone Software In 2023
When selecting the appropriate software for your needs, several key features are critical to consider.
Drone Model Reconstruction
If you regularly create detailed 2D maps and high-accuracy 3D models, software options like DJI Terra or Pix4D, both offering model reconstruction features, should be at the top of your list.
For instant access to your 2D map and 3D model while operating your drone, DJI Terra, with its real-time reconstruction capability, could be a fitting choice.
Lidar Data Processing
Projects involving topography, terrain modeling, or forestry often require Lidar data processing. While Pix4D doesn’t explicitly list this feature, DJI Terra does, making it a vital consideration for such projects.
Detailed Drone Inspection
Automating inspection workflows is a feature provided by DJI Terra and Drone Deploy. If drone inspections are a core part of your work, these two may serve your needs better than Pix4D, which doesn’t offer this feature.
While all three software options—DJI Terra, Pix4D, and Drone Deploy—provide measurement capabilities, consider the ease of use and specific measurements each offers. This consideration is particularly relevant in sectors such as construction, agriculture, or surveying.
Drone Software Recommendations By Drone Pilot Types
For freelance pilots who work on diverse projects, the flexibility is crucial. Pix4D could be a preferred choice due to its diverse pricing models and extensive feature set. The monthly subscription could be particularly beneficial for freelancers with varying work schedules, offering them the flexibility not to commit to a yearly subscription.
Company Drone Pilots
Company drone pilots typically undertake large and consistent projects. In such cases, DJI Terra may be the most suitable. With detailed model reconstruction and Lidar data processing capabilities, it offers comprehensive project support. Furthermore, the Pro Permanent subscription could be a cost-effective solution for companies as it involves a one-time substantial investment.
In-house Industrial Pilots
In-house industrial pilots, often required to manage inspections, terrain modeling, and other specific industrial needs, find Drone Deploy to be an optimal choice. Its automated inspection workflows and high image upload limits can be particularly beneficial for large-scale, regular industrial projects. The Advanced Flight & Analysis subscription could be the right fit for these needs.
Remember, these recommendations are broad guidelines, and the best-suited software still depends on the specific requirements and budget considerations of the individual or the company. It’s always advisable to utilize any available trial versions to test out the software firsthand before making a decision.
In-Depth Drone Software Company Reviews
Pix4d Company Background
Pix4D is a Swiss software company that specializes in photogrammetry.
It was founded in 2011 as a spinoff from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Computer Vision Lab in Switzerland.
The company develops a suite of software products that use photogrammetry and computer vision algorithms to transform DSLR, fisheye, RGB, thermal, and multispectral images into 3D maps and 3D modeling. Pix4D started with just one product, Pix4UAV, and has since expanded its offerings to cater to various industries and applications.
The company is led by CEO and founder Christoph Strecha.
User Interface and Precision
Pix4D’s user interface offers a wealth of operational features, making it a comprehensive tool for drone surveying. While it requires mastering photogrammetric principles, its precision is a standout, offering sub-centimeter accuracy, making it a reliable choice for precision-demanding tasks.
Efficiency and Image Processing
Pix4D brings forth impressive computational efficiency, utilizing CUDA technology for increased speed, a beneficial feature for drone surveyors handling large datasets. It’s also highly adept in processing high-overlap images into accurate 2D and 3D models, a critical capability for drone surveys.
Ground Control Points (GCPs) and Customization
Pix4D’s handling of Ground Control Points contributes to its high accuracy, essential for professional surveying applications. Its algorithm settings are highly customizable, allowing drone surveyors to adjust parameters for specific project requirements, adding to its versatility.
Despite Pix4D’s complex feature set, the company provides ample learning resources, aiding users in mastering the software’s capabilities. This commitment to user education enables drone surveyors to continuously improve their use of this powerful tool.
In conclusion, Pix4D stands as a robust, precise, and customizable software for drone surveying. Its computational efficiency and commitment to continuous learning make it a valuable asset for any drone surveyor seeking high-quality geospatial outputs.
- Accuracy: Pix4Dmapper is known for its high accuracy, with the ability to collect survey-grade data with less than 1 cm accuracy.
- Compatibility: Pix4D supports a wide range of drone models and camera types, including RGB, thermal, and multispectral sensors.
- Customization: Pix4D allows users to customize their workflows and adjust parameters for specific mapping projects.
- Ease of use: Pix4D is considered more intuitive and user-friendly compared to some of its competitors, such as Agisoft PhotoScan.
- Customer support: Pix4D offers excellent customer support, including workshops, direct support, and a knowledge base for self-training.
- Integration with other software: Pix4D can be integrated with other GIS software, such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online.
- Specialized software: Pix4D offers specialized software suites for specific industries, such as agriculture and inspections.
- Cost: Pix4D can be expensive, especially for small businesses or individual users.
- Learning curve: Although Pix4D is considered user-friendly, it may still require some time and effort to learn and master its features.
- Hardware requirements: Pix4D can be resource-intensive, requiring powerful hardware for processing large datasets.
- Cloud processing limitations: While Pix4D offers cloud processing, it may have some downsides, such as limited customization and reliance on internet connectivity.
Drone Deploy Drone Mapping Software
The San Francisco-based company offers a comprehensive solution for making aerial data accessible and productive across a range of industries such as construction, agriculture, surveying, mining, and insurance.
The software provides automated flight and data capture capabilities, allowing users to generate and share high-quality interactive maps, orthomosaics, and 3D models.
Additionally, it provides analytical tools for inspections, thermal imaging, and other applications. Compatible with a wide variety of DJI drones, DroneDeploy enables users to pre-program automated flight paths and process the images captured into high-resolution 2D maps and 3D models, making it a powerful and user-friendly tool for aerial mapping and 3D modeling.
DroneDeploy Feature Review
DroneDeploy’s core mission is to make aerial data both accessible and productive across a wide array of industries such as construction, agriculture, surveying, mining, insurance, and inspection.
One of the standout features of DroneDeploy is its automated flight and data capture. It simplifies the process of obtaining and interacting with high-quality maps, orthomosaics, and 3D models directly from your mobile device.
DroneDeploy is recognized for its robust processing capabilities. Regardless of the size of your dataset, DroneDeploy ensures quality results at any scale, making it a versatile choice for various industry applications.
Another major benefit of DroneDeploy is its wide range of compatibility with different drone models, including those from non-DJI. This makes it an adaptable solution for many different hardware setups.
DroneDeploy offers extensive analytics capabilities. This includes features for inspections, thermal imaging, and earthworks, amongst others. These powerful tools can provide valuable insights and aid in decision-making processes across a variety of sectors.
An exciting feature of DroneDeploy is its app marketplace, where users can find industry-specific tools and services to extend the platform’s functionality.
Developer and Enterprise Platforms
DroneDeploy also provides a developer platform for creating custom applications and integrating drone data into existing workflows. This can be particularly valuable for businesses with unique needs or bespoke workflows. For larger operations, the Enterprise platform offers effective management for drone fleets, pilot, and data.
Pros & Cons Of Drone Deploy
- Ease of Use: Known for its user-friendly interface and automated flight planning features, DroneDeploy is highly suitable for beginners.
- Compatibility: The platform boasts compatibility with a wide range of drone models, including those from DJI.
- Cloud-Based Processing: DroneDeploy uses cloud-based processing, which provides convenience and speed for processing aerial data.
- Analytics Capabilities: The software offers extensive analytics capabilities, such as inspections, thermal imaging, and earthworks.
- Limited Export Formats: DroneDeploy supports a limited number of export formats, which could be a limitation for some users.
- Cost: While generally less expensive than some drone software competitors like Pix4D, the cost of DroneDeploy may still be a concern for some users.
- Less Control Over Processing: As DroneDeploy primarily focuses on cloud-based processing, users may have less control over the processing settings and customisation compared to other software like Pix4D.
DJI Terra Drone Mapping Software
DJI Terra is a 3D model reconstruction software that uses photogrammetry as its core technology. Launched in 2019, it supports a range of accurate and efficient 2D and 3D reconstruction of visible light and data processing through DJI LiDAR.
The software is designed to work seamlessly with DJI Enterprise drones and payloads, catering to various industries such as land surveying and mapping, power transmission, emergency services, construction, transportation, and agriculture. DJI Terra is an easy-to-use mapping software developed to help industry professionals transform real-world scenarios into digital assets.
The software is compatible with several DJI Enterprise drones, including Phantom 4 RTK and P4 Pro, making it a popular choice for various surveying applications.
DJI Terra Feature Review
DJI Terra Mission Planning
DJI Terra is equipped with a feature for detailed inspection mission planning that greatly simplifies the process. This sophisticated software has the capability to automatically generate waypoints and flight routes based on one or more points selected within a realistic 3D model or point cloud. This means that once you’ve identified key points of interest on the 3D model or point cloud, the software will compute the best path for the drone to cover all these points.
This automation removes the need for you to manually plan the drone’s flight path, saving you significant time and effort while ensuring comprehensive coverage of all areas of interest.
In addition to the above, DJI Terra provides a simulated camera view on your screen which includes the selected points. This unique feature allows you to see, from the drone’s perspective, what will be captured during the flight.
By presenting a visual preview of the drone’s path, the software enables you to refine the planned flight path and guarantees that important areas are not overlooked.
The integration of these features makes DJI Terra a powerful tool for automating inspection workflows, making your mission planning process more efficient and less labor-intensive, and letting you focus more on the interpretation of the captured data.
DJI Terra features Realtime 3D Data
DJI Terra is a drone mapping software that supports real-time 3D mapping. This means that the software can create 3D models of a mapped area as the drone is flying and collecting data. This is a highly useful feature in several ways, and its benefits to you as a potential user would depend on your specific needs.
Real-time 3D mapping allows you to quickly visualize the area being mapped. This is much faster than traditional mapping methods where you would have to wait for the drone to complete its flight and then process the data. By rendering the 3D model in real time, you can see the results almost immediately. This efficiency is important if your projects are time-sensitive, or if you need to make quick decisions based on the mapped data.
The ability to view the 3D model of the area in real time can inform your decision-making process. You can evaluate the preliminary model and make necessary adjustments to your mapping strategy, if required. For example, if the model shows that certain areas have not been covered sufficiently, you can adjust the drone’s flight path or capture additional data.
Real-time mapping allows you to check for completeness of the mapped area immediately. This can save time and resources as you can immediately see if there are any areas that the drone missed or that need more detailed coverage. You can then send the drone back to these areas while still on-site, rather than finding out about the gaps later when processing the data.
L1 LiDAR Compatible Data
DJI Terra can process point cloud data, which are sets of data points existing in a three-dimensional coordinate system. In the context of LiDAR, this represents the external surfaces of objects or terrain. The software can interpret this data to form a 3D representation of the mapped area, useful for various applications from terrain modeling to infrastructure inspection.
DJI Terra calculates the most effective route for the drone to follow during data capture. This optimization of the drone’s flight path ensures efficient data collection, saving time and battery life.
DJI Terra has the ability to combine point cloud data (from the LiDAR sensor) and visible light data (usually from a camera). This merging produces a colored or textured 3D model, adding an extra layer of detail and visual context to the monochromatic point cloud.
The software includes tools that improve the accuracy of point cloud data. These may involve noise reduction techniques, calibration procedures, or the use of additional data for error correction, all contributing to more accurate and reliable results.
DJI Terra can isolate points that represent the ‘ground’ from the point cloud data. This is crucial for creating a digital terrain model (DTM), which provides a clear, unobstructed representation of the earth’s surface without trees, buildings, or other vertical structures.
Once the data has been processed, DJI Terra can create reports that summarize your fieldwork. These reports could include specifics about the area covered, data accuracy, areas of interest, and more. This feature is useful for keeping a record of your work or for sharing the results with others.
DJI Terra Compatibility
Designed to work seamlessly with several DJI Enterprise drones, including Phantom 4 RTK and P4 Pro, DJI Terra is a popular choice for various surveying applications.
DJI Terra supports the creation of accurate and detailed 2D orthomosaics and 3D models from the captured aerial data. This function allows users to analyze and use the data in meaningful ways.
Beyond creating visual models, DJI Terra provides tools for measuring dimensions, distances, and other essential data on the structures and areas captured in the 3D models.
DJI Terra Software Pros & Cons
- Photogrammetry: DJI Terra uses photogrammetry for accurate 3D modeling.
- Compatibility: Designed specifically for DJI Enterprise drones and payloads.
- 2D and 3D Reconstruction: Supports detailed reconstruction using visible light and DJI LiDAR data.
- Upgraded Algorithms: Efficient data processing with algorithms based on NVIDIA CUDA platform.
- Pricing Structure: The pricing structure of DJI Terra may pose a challenge for smaller businesses or individual operators, as the Pro edition, which includes more advanced features, comes at a higher price.
- Limited Features Compared to Competitors: Some users have pointed out that DJI Terra lacks certain features that competitors like Pix4D and DroneDeploy offer.
- Hardware Requirements: DJI Terra demands a relatively powerful computer with at least 32GB of RAM and an NVIDIA 1050 Ti graphics card for optimal performance. This can be a limitation for users with less powerful hardware.
- Software Bugs: Some users have reported occasional software bugs and issues with DJI Terra. However, the company has been proactive in releasing updates and fixes.
In conclusion, choosing the right drone software is a critical decision that depends on a variety of factors.
This article has provided a thorough comparison of three industry leaders: Pix4D, DJI Terra, and Drone Deploy, each boasting unique strengths tailored to specific operational needs. Factors such as ease of use, accuracy, speed, integration with hardware, cost, and support are all essential considerations when selecting software.
Users are encouraged to leverage free trials, demos, or lite versions of these software to evaluate their performance before making a financial commitment. The detailed comparison table and overview of the best drone mapping software in 2023 provided in this article serve as a valuable resource for decision-making. It is essential to remember that the perfect solution will depend on individual needs and specific use-cases.
By taking into account all these factors, users can ensure they are investing in the software that best suits their requirements, ultimately enhancing their drone operations and productivity.