About Ground Control Station User Experience

Hi Guys,

Could you give me some impressions about the GCS you use? If you can answer these questions for me, it will be very helpful:

- What is your drones’ usage?

- Which GCS do you use and why?

- What are the main features you use?

- What are the best and the worst experience using the Ground Control you had?

Thank you

What is your drones’ usage?

Which GCS do you use and why?

What are the main features you use?

What are the best and the worst experience using the Ground Control you had?

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  • Good comments so far. I agree with Bill Bonney further back that most GCSs are too monolithic. Most of the time you need tuning when setting up a new drone, but after that good mission control and setup is more important. Log analysis may be a third application.

    For me I use both fixed wing and multirotors, mainly for survey work with a little FPV mixed in.

    I use mission planner for setup, tuning and configuration because it simply does everything. I use my own android based CloudRaven GCS for flight ops because it's simple to use and gets me flying very quickly.

    Main features of mission planner I use are the parameters page and log replay and analysis.

    On CloudRaven it's mission creation, flight monitoring and post flight geotagging which is all super easy. Also when used with a smart camera, the inflight image download is good.

    Best thing about mission planner is it does everything, it's the swiss army knife of GCSs, worst is the general stability and the fact that each new release is two steps forward, one step back with regards to bugs.

    For CloudRaven, it suits my and my customers needs well but I'm biased :-). Downside is developing it consumes huge amounts of my time.
  • Hi Guys!

    - What is your drones’ usage?

    Developmet platform for AI

    - Which GCS do you use and why?


    1. Because of custom radio protocol

    2. We need to implement new functions quickly and with easy

    3. Special monitoring functions for development and working with black box. Also it initially developed for HIL and SIL flight research in conjuction with simulator.

    - What are the main features you use?

    Here is example of pilot screen:


    Usual engine, speed, attitude and altitude indications (two small gauges at bottom eng RPM, big one is airspeed, and at right of attitude indicator there is altitude situation). Battery, fuel and signal strength. Battery and fuel also shows how many flight time remain on each of them.

    Time indication: UTC, local, time from eng start, ETA to current target

    There is misc warning information blinkers, operator must know at what state of AI currently, it decission and intentions. They all offline, just one there (green one at middle), indicating that engine never started. Also there is information line at upper part at which GCS posts important info (currently it shows which passbook used for radio encryption)

    There is typical and emergency commands (buttons at right, they nearly not on screenshot), like "return home now" or "abort landing".

    Button on left changes modes of operation, like with google earth or without, waypoint planner mode or normal etc.

    Also, because all system designed as multidrone control, currently selected one is indicated (number "2")

    There is monitoring system, that shows "on paper roll" all major parameters. See below example (there is case when system lost speed and because of it stability and then regain it. Numbers in shadow - seconds):


    Well, thats all.

    Worst part of it is design. Not good for reading above google earth, but it is just prototype, in final this will be corrected.

  • im using MP but not to much happy ;-) so i decide make new GSC ;-) is now in very early state, but going front ;-)

    so i please all users, please watch our discusion and please write me some your opinion ;-)  Every opinion will help us make it better ;-)


    now we finished alfa version of HUD system, so i will reraly aprisiate opinions on that ;-)

  • What is your drones’ usage?

    Mostly Hobby, but built powerful enough for "payloads", currently looking into Pi/SDR project.

    Which GCS do you use and why?

    Mission Planner, more features available, already had Windows tablet to use with it.

    What are the main features you use?

    Config/tuning, datalogs, flight data screen. Eventually the flight planning.

    What are the best and the worst experience using the Ground Control you had?

    Best: $8 video adapter put FPV into the HUD of flight data screen.

    Worst: None yet, but it does load/refresh a little slow on the tablet, runs ok.

    I've tried a few others, and for any benefit they may have, they also have their drawbacks. At least MP is keeping up with Ardupilot changes.

  • my drones are land, heli, multi rotor and fixed wing, just for experimentation so far.

    i use the gcs mission planner because its the only one i have found so far.

    i use it for configuration mainly and i am trying to get fully autonomous take off and landing (without success.)

    very good for configuration, i like the moving map and log files.

    i dont know how to put auto land into the flight list, PLEASE can we get someone to put 3d moving map behind the hud PLEASE.

  • Drone: Fixed wing mapping/surveying

    GCS: Mission Planner. Why? lack of other options?
    Features: Setup, planning and flight monitoring, post-flight review.

    Flight planning interface is not very intuitive, but works ok once you get used to it.
    Worst is the log-analyzer, "hidden tools" (Ctrl F).
    Set-up can be complicated, but it's more an indication of the complexity of the flight controller (Pixhawk) than the software.

  •  Stay the hell away from the RT....It's a stripped down piece of junk. But if you get a Surface (1 or 2 are basically the same) on ebay for $180 to $300..And thats with a core I5 CPU and an SSD drive. Beats most laptops. Anyways it has good battery life and usb ports for your telemetry connection.

    An you can run mission planner, apm planner and a couple others on it. Plus you can fully tweak your Drone in the field. Just get matte screen glover so it doesnt glare and you can see it and your good. Not to mention you can plug a capture card in (usb) and see the video through the MP!

    • AKA Surface Pro

    • Developer

      We should have made it clear in the initial post that we were inquiring about  GCS Software, not hardware.  I would appreciate your help to not hijack this post and to stay on the topic of which GCS software you use and please answer the questions that Beatriz has asked.


  • I just picked up one those Aluminum cases from Harbor Frieght, Picked up a surface one and made a mount for it (they can be for $200)  I also have an lcd panel I score of a laptop I was going to use with a pi.....but now I am thing of just picking up a 10"motorola Xoom with Verizon LTE Capability ($80 to $130 on ebay) and mounting that, and then setting up some kind of control board for a tracking antenna with directional AND Wide Range antenna on a diversity contoller from range video.

    Then buy a second box for the Antenna and the tripod it sits on for easy setup.

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