Is it possible for me to build a DIY mapping fixed wing drone?

Hello all, im a newbie looking to get into the drone business of mapping and surveying. I have a few quad copters that can take care of small jobs and stills but Im now looking to increase my reach by having a fix wing drone in my arsenal. The cost of the fix wing drones for sale intended for mapping are pretty pricey. 

I was on youtube and stumbled upon a Skywalker Black X8 . Is there a possible way i could use an airframe like this or any other that you may suggest and make a mapping drone?

Im a novice but very tech savvy and can catch on quickly, what are all the components/parts I would need to make an autonomous fixed wing that takes stills, works with an autopilot and all of that jazz. Is this even possible for me to do?

Thank you for all of your help!!!

I'll probably use Pix4d for my rendering/stitching 

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Great Stuff Mathew. I too have an X8 that i just got and am itching to set it up for mapping. I was originally going for a Canon S110 on a 2 axis gimbal but then i say the QX1 and was interested, however I was told that the Sony QX1 is a horrible pain to deal with. It has an auto shutoff feature that wonkily decides to activate when using a shutter trigger cable. 

Ive also been told the RX100 Mk2 is a great choice for aerial topography images.

To those that have the QX1> is this true? Is it truly a good option for mapping or is something like the RX100 Mk2 better?

Matthew said:


I'm planning a build with a Sony QX1 and a Designing Innovation 2-axis gimbal. This will be controlled by the pixhawk 2. I think I have narrowed it down to the Skywalker X8 or Skywalker eve2000. Others that should fit the gimbal are:

I soar one
XUAV two
Xuav talon max
Nimbus 1800
Swallow electric UAV 2600
New Hugin 2200
Fx79 Buffalo
I haven't decided on the other components yet, and would love feedback. Thank you for your time!
Hello Michael,

Planning starts before i go to the field. I ask the client to give me perimeter of the area to map in kmz or kml file, so i can study the terrain in google earth. From google earth i create a polygon...convert it to shape file....import it to mission planner and create a flight mission. Before i make a schedule to go the site....check first the weather....if its :)

Setting up pixhawk 2 is the same with the past version.

Michael said:

Hey ScratchN,

I like the build you did with the Pix 2.1 and Sony A6000.  I am wanting to get into Mapping with my drones and thought you might have some helpful advice.  I have mainly multirotors and recently have been upgrading a Tarot 680 with a Pixhawk 2.1 and it has a Sony A6000 with a gimbal.  It is set up with long range radio (EZUHF) immersion and I am soon to get a new Tarot 960 frame with 320KV and 17" x55 Props.  I have had to rebuild my 680pro because of an issue with the old pixhawk having compass issues and decided to just rebuild with new set up.  The t960 is going to be using the DJI A2 FC but I am hoping to still use the Sony A6000 with it.  

I am interested in finding out what you need to do when you arrive at a site to map with your drone or what would you consider to be the most important things to learn to start mapping using a drone?  How did you find the pixhawk 2.1 for setting up?  Are the input pins the same as the 3DR pixhawk and do you have a intel edison chip on yours?

 I have worked in various fields such as building construction, horticulture and agriculture and studied Science, Chem, Computer studies and I've worked with drones about 3 years.  I already invested about $20,000 on drone technology since getting into it with the hope that I could make it into a job. I am interested in maybe using Lidar or using optical sensors to produce the point cloud maps. 

ScratchNodado said


I also do aerial mapping using diy fixed wing. Just finished my current aerial mapping platform using...

Skywalker eve2000
Pixhawk 2.1
Sony A6000

you may also want to look at RTF solution Feiyu Tech Unicorn UAV photogrammetry drone for Aerial Photography ! they also carry RTF X8 kit's but the X8 is on it's way out this is the NEW bird 2017  UNICORN from !

I'm looking at purchasing the FX-79 for my build. This cable has the QX1 "keep alive"

Nice work! How did you mount mount for the camera?

ScratchNodado said:


eu , de asemenea, fac cartografiere aeriene folosind diy aripa fixă. Doar terminat actuala mea platformă de cartografiere aeriene folosind ...

Skywalker eve2000
Pixhawk 2.1
Sony A6000

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