another Android GCS

The timing of this is poor, but I figured people might want to try an alternative to the quickly developing Andropilot.  I'd like to release what I have been working on, just to get feedback and bug reports.

The development of Copter-GCS stalled quite some time ago, but I recently picked up the source and started fixing bugs and adding features.  The app still has some quirks, and the UI is pretty terrible, but the function is there:


It includes:

-A full Heads Up Display

-Mission planning, with all commands and parameters available

-Follow-Me with offset mode, Guided Mode flight

-a Command Line terminal

-built for Android 2.2 and up

-full parameter editing

-works for Arduplane and Arducopter

-text to speach announces mode changes and waypoints reached


The included mission planner needs some instructions for use. All possible options are available, so it may be a bit dangerous if you don't use them correctly.


-to set a waypoint, long press in the map view, or use the "add waypoint" button in the list view menu.

-waypoint 0 is the uav's home location. It is important to keep the elevation frame as "Mav_frame_global" this means you are using actual ground elevation

-this app will automatically set the ground elevation (from Google's API) which is why it may pause for a few seconds when the first waypoint is added.

-when you add additional waypoints, the default frame is "mav_frame_global_relative_alt", which is an altitude relative to the home elevation, which is 75 meters by default.

-you can add as many waypoints as you like, then go to the list view to edit them, change then to do_jump or whatever, add in the parameters, etc. Then go back to the map and Save to UAV. I would suggest after you get confirmation, you Load from UAV to check that everyhting is correct

-All mission commands available to Mavlink have been included in this app, but there are some options that have not been implemented by Ardupilot or Arducopter.  Not all waypoint types will work, for example, DO_SET_RELAY doesn't work for APM2 UAVs.











The app connects to your telemetry with a bluetooth to XBee/3DR radio bridge:

APM<-->XBee/3DR<------------------------->XBee/3DR<-->Bluetooth<----------->Android Phone/Tablet

The bridge consists of an XBee or 3DR radio, and a Bluetooth radio, connected by serial port. There are expensive solutions for this, but I have made a inexpensive bluetooth module that includes a power regulator, a bluetooth radio, and a plug for my xbee.  If anyone is interested, I can detail the build process, and/or offer a hardware kit (with the smd bluetooth chip already soldered). The good thing about this set up, as opposed to a usb link to the radio, is (obviously) it is wire-free, and it is possible to have a stationary antenna, and even add in antenna tracking, and it is easily switched to link with a bluetooth enabled laptop..

According to [Pieter], this [DealExtreme Link] ($8.20 w/ free shipping to USA) works almost out of the box.  Set it to 57000 baud by connecting it to your computer with an FDTI cable, RX to TX, TX to RX, power and ground.  Open your serial terminal (I use RealTerm) with 9600 baud. Make sure LED on module is blinking (DON'T pair it with anything yet) Type in transmit field AT+BAUD7 and hit send (UPPER case letters or it wont work). You should get a OK response indicating that it worked.  You'll have to power cycle the bluetooth before the change takes effect.  Then pair with your phone.

Connect to a XBee adapter like this:


Another connection option is to connect the bluetooth directly to the APM telemetry port.  Remember the bluetooth range is short, so you won't be able to control it in the air, but you can set missions and tune param while on the ground.  Instructions from Ioan:

Cheap Bluetooth serial module (CBSM):

CBSM VCC -> APM Telemetry VCC

CBSM GND -> APM Telemetry GND

CBSM TX -> APM Telemetry RX

CBSM RX -> APM Telemetry TX

and then the phone connects directly to the APM's bluetooth adapter: 

Phone <----> APM + Bluetooth

If anyone wants to test, please remember that it is still BETA software, so there are certainly bugs.  


Also, feel free to make suggestions and feature requests....

This community has been very helpful and supportive, so I feel bad requesting donations, but I have put lots of time into this application, and I'm sure Bart has as well.  If you want to buy me a beer (or a PX4), you can donate whatever you like here: PAYPAL


































































Confirmed Bugs:
-crashes without internet connection

-flight modes on arducopter do not show correctly

-auto rotation while in MAV_CMD list crashes app


Feature Suggestions:
-connect to xbee/3dr/APM2 over usb

-keep screen on (added)


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  • This is awesome. I'm using it on my galaxy tab 2 and its working great. But one feature suggestion I would have. Nowadays every smartphones and tabs have GPS, so Follow me feature would be cool. Like in the mission planner.

  • Hi Seth,

    I've tried the app on my 7" tablet connecting directly to Arducopter via a cheap Bluetooth dongle. It works just great in the field as a perfect setup and tuning tool. For flying is more convenient to use MinimumOSD. I'm still figuring out how to use both of them together the same time.

    Are you planning to publish the app on Google Play to distribute updates?



  • If i understand correct, you can extend the range by connecting the bluetooth to a 3DR radio.

    Would some one please be so kind to upload a plan (drawing) on how to connect the bluetooth and 3DR radio.

    Thank you in advance.



  • This is good stuff. I'm in the process of building my copter but would like to see this be developed more. Keep up the good work.
  • After having used Copter-GCS and AQ-GCS I've found by chance this great app and tested today on a MegaPirateNG  DIY quad. It's really impressive....thank you Seth for your effort. You definitely deserve a beer!

    I've found some difficulties in planning a large mission as, if the copter is connected and GPS fixed, the map is always centering copter position so you are not able to move the map far from copter position. For planning large missions you need to zoom out or switch off copter GPS.

    Other functions are working pretty well. Text to speech is great!

    Do pls maintain this version of GCS!!! :)


  • Nice, have you thought about creating an app meant for an on board phone? Sending telemetry and video live?
  • Great job Seth........

    How do i set the altitude in a waypoint?

    Thank you

  • Hi, I've connected my bluetooth module directly to the Ardupilot telemetry port RX to TX, TX to RX, etc... and also I've set the baud rate of the telemetry port and bluetooth module to 57Kbps.

    I've selected Mavlink protocol and the correct bluetooth paired device.

    I get "Active Link" message in the GCS, but nothing shows up. Does anyone knows what should I be missing:


  • Hi, just got this working and it looks great, good job. Suggestions for further development would include adding landscape rotate to all the screens, I'd look to mount my android device into a GCS case and the landscape orientation has some of the more useful views (hud, sensor graphs and gps location and waypoint map for example). I'd prefer to leave the device mounted rather than keep having to turn it between functions.

    Keep up the good work, well worth a donation.

  • Hi seth,

    whats about to add UDP (server/client) for pass through data (e.g. Mission Planer and/or andropilot) or a second GCS for a trainer setup?

    best c.

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