ESRI Shapefiles in MP

I use ArcGIS quite a lot when planning out flights and I can see the utility in being able to import an ESRI shapefile into Mission Planner. It would allow some users to use a GPS such as a Trimble to shoot GCPs then use them as waypoints and camera trigger points in imagery missions. Is this something that is already incorporated into the MP code and I am just missing it? I guess that the SHP could be exported to a KML/KMZ overlay. With the SHP (from the GPS shots) the exact lat/long of a known ground landmark could be utilized as a GCP which could further enhance the accuracy of the resultant imagery.

Anyone else doing this?

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            • Great! I tried it with both alt and elevation fields. Thanks so much for this... it makes a big difference in my workflow.

  • Developer

    ok I think we need to clarify a few things.

    MP already supports basic kml's used for overlaying only.

     

    do people want to be able to import a shp file as a mission, or just as an overlay.

    • WOW!!!! Didn't mean to open up a can of worms like this!

      The discussion of projection versus coordinate system is something best left to an entirely different thread. We can do that if need be. Just as a side note, if you are using a specific ESRI projection, it is very easy to change your central meridian to make that projection fit your area of interest better than it does out of the box. In a nutshell, that effectively changes the points of intersection and tangency of the geoid model to your particular point on the globe. It's a bit more complex than that, but suffice it to say that it works.

      The (paraphrased) previous statement that I agree with the most is that shapefiles are very portable. Most GIS packages use them quite readily for just that reason. They are small (usually) and they carry their own projection (coordinate system) with them in the form of a text file with the .PRJ extension. They also carry their own DBF along with an index (.DBF and .SHX) that provide attribute very useful attribute data about your WPTs. The ability to fine-tune WPTs in ANY GIS environment would be more than valuable to anyone using UAV imagery in a GIS setting. We could tune ALT and XY very easily in an environment that our clients and bosses actually recognize...even if they don't really understand it. 

      To answer Michael's question, I think the ability to bring a SHP in as a mission would be absolutely invaluable. It would give field GIS users the ability to pick and choose flight WPTs in a familiar environment. KML overlays work beautifully as long as you can get them to work, but as with all things ArcGIS, there are ALWAYS quirks with non-native data interoperability...even when you pay $2000 for that extension (death to ESRI indeed). I have exported SHPs and LYRs to KML (actually ArcGIS only exports to KMZ) and they won't show up in MP. Why? I have no idea, but I seriously doubt the problem is on the MP side of the coin. I have been using ArcView/ArcGIS since 2001 and it has ALWAYS had its quirks. ESRI to this day STILL hasn't fixed the crappy print engine that won't allow us to print to wide-format plotters.

      PLEASE add SHP functionality!!!! the SHP format may be the only thing ESRI has ever produced that is truly portable between platforms.

      • Developer

        can someone give me a sample of what you would like to import.

         

        and tell me if its an overlay or a mission.

        • Hi Michael,

          I've attached an example from a mission that we recently flew. It comes from WPs that I created in MP, then imported into ArcGIS to adjust altitudes of each line. (I've also attached a polygon of our area of interest in case you wanted to view it in MP.) Here's an explanation of the fields in the attribute table:

          WP = waypoint number

          lat = latitude (decimal degrees)

          long = longitude (decimal degrees)

          alt = altitude from MP (feet)

          RASTERVALU = elevation values extracted by overlaying WPs on a DSM (meters)

          AGL = altitude above ground (new flying height calculated by converting RASTERVALU to feet and adding alt)

          To make this usable as a mission, I have to export the attribute table from ArcGIS as a text file, then edit it in Notepad so that I can re-load it into MP.

          Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks so much for considering our request!

          MC

          mission.zip

          wetland.poly

          • NICE!!!!!!!!

            That's EXACTLY how I have been doing this. It's clunky but it is a decent workaround. For a neat view of the finished product, you can also export to KMZ out of ArcGIS then view in Google Earth. Here's one of mine in Google Earth. The SHP is at my office so I'll have to post it up later.

            This is a great discussion. Glad it took this turn! Thanks Michael!

            haynes_3D_google_earth.jpg

            • Here is a copy of my SHP if anyone wants to test it out. It is in GCS 1983 coordinates, but it'll be interesting to see if it comes into MP as a "project on the fly" sort of thing. The whole file is about 3K so download time should be nothing.

              HaynesWPTS_AbsAlt_030514.zip

              • Developer

                Ken, the file you posed appears to be missing the .dbf file. so therefor fails.

                • AWESOME WORK MICHAEL!!! It works!!!! It did just fine even with my SHP in a different coordinate system than WGS84.

                  So, from here, I guess it is a simple jump to bringing in a SHP from the Trimble GNSS as GCPs and maybe even camera trigger points. We can use them as WPTs in the flight plan. This is exactly what I was wanting to do. I have some old survey points from previous GNSS field work that I'll test them with and report back.

                  • Great job :) . finally it's possible to use shp with WGS 84?. It's need to be projeted? THANK'S :) :)  

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