Autonomous "Vertical" Missions In Mission Planner?

Greetings: I am using a 3DR X8, Pixhawk with a NEX5 for standard mapping/photogrammetry. I want to map a cliff face. Is it possible to create an autonomous flight in Mission Planner that will photograph the face in a grid-style pattern up-down and left to right (or vice versa) with the same kind of image overlap that you can do on a vertical mapping project? Think photogrammetry turned sideways to map in a vertical plane as opposed to the normal horizontal plane.

I can use a gimbal set at 90 degrees and create the waypoints fairly parallel to the face but can't figure out the up/down part at a specific waypoint. I have seen this done with oblique images that are manipulated in specialized software (EG PIX4D) but not with images taken parallel to an object in an 'up-down' format.

All help gratefully appreciated and accepted.


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  • Did you ever figure our a good procedure for vertical face mapping?

    Thanks for posting

  • I haven't flown a copter for a while (mostly fly planes) and I do not have SITL handy but I suggest you try it out in SITL first. If you haven't set up SITL yet, check it out here, it will save you a lot of time when trying to figure things out.

    SITL Simulator (Software in the Loop) — Dev documentation
  • Andreas, I'm not really familiar with that command (seems more for planes than copters); will take a look at it.


  • I think what you might be looking for is the LOITER_TO_ALT type of waypoint in MP.

  • Hello Everyone.

    I've been investigating for a (relatively) simple, reliable, and "all-round" planning tool or method to use for vertical structures, landslides, cliffs, power-lines, etc.

    - Using Mission Planner (free): I implemented something similar to Felipe's approach, where you basically use an essentially manual "copy-paste" method to create/replicate parallel way-points (or lines of) at different altitudes - I've not flight tested though - @Felipe: have you field tested these kind of missions? And what do you think in terms of safety and results?

    - Using Tower (free): the Structure Scanner feature can be used for buildings (or objects for which circle surveys are adequate); pretty straight forward to set-up and use.

    - Using QGC (free): I have not looked into it, but I feel MP and Tower are better; please advise otherwise if you know.

    - Using UgCS (non-free): I'm investigating if the ONE license ($65) has the more advanced planning tools that allow "vertical" mission planning; it would probably be the most user friendly, safe, and complete, at least that I know of.

    It would be nice to have some sort of guide on this topic - I make myself available if anybody else wants to join resources/experiences.

  • Hi everyone,
    Guys, I think I figured out the vertical wp problem...
    At least, for my aplication it's enough...
    In flight plan, I add all way points that I need, after, I copy the coordenates (lat-long) that I need for all of waypoints... after I set the altitude for each one. All of the points will be at the same position and what will be change in flight its just the altitude, where I can set the command that I want.

  • i am also interested in this question ... some news ?

  • Has anyone figured out a good way to map a vertical surface? Ideally we could use a lidar range finder to maintain a constant distance from the cliff wall.
  • I am also interested in this capability, to conduct repeated surveys of the condition of tall structures as a way to estimate future maintenance or repair projects.

    • Any developement? That should be a great add for Tower app. Maybe easier than the circle survey, omho!
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