Good day,
I am a forester from Northern Ontario Canada.  I have been following Mikrokopter, and arducopter more recently.  I am looking to plan a winter build.  I am a GIS and remote sensing tech guy, with mission planning experience.  I have used full sized helicopters for aerial image capture, but at $1500/hr, you can imagine how much work gets asked for.  I have looked at draganfly, and aeryon locally as well as microdrone from europe for the full package... but really, my budget does not warrant this, and I don't want to give over control of my images though a bs licence agreement. 
I have looked at hoverfly, and gluonpilot... all look pretty decent, but now I am just pretty overwhelmed.

I do compliance monitoring.  When a forest company screws up, I need to document it.  A VTOL is the most viable solution for me in the field.  The following lists the capabilities that I am looking for:

1) needs to carry dual Sony NEX 5 cameras, or panasonic camcorders
2) needs to be an octo frame and very inexpensive, as I may destroy it in its first season (hoepfully not)
3) it needs to have a minimum of 4Hz logging x,y,z, yaw, pitch, roll, altitude, and time to an ascii file onboard.
4) needs wifi connectivity so it can be run from a tablet PC, or Trimble DGPS unit in the field:)
5) gps hold, altitude hold, wapoint nav, come home...
6) I would like to run 13" props
7) wireless camera sync  (may need to hack the IR remote)
8) I would need to be able to overide the waypoint nav with RC transmitter
9) onboard video link for FPV

Am I missing anything?

I am from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and have the ability to drop ship to the border.  Is anyone up for the challenge?  I will be posting a list of parts, and hope that you guys will correct me in my misteps.  Once the list has been compiled to match my needs, I will order the parts and either try to build it myself, or ask one of you guys to assemble and test it.  I am willing to pay for that service.

Best regards,


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  • I don't mind a group buy... anyone else want in?
  • If your both wanting a heavy lift Octo and your both wanting them cheaper than the 7k Mikrokopter sells them for, then perhaps consider a "group" buy, they may be prepared to sell 2 units a lot cheaper than 1.

    An Octo would be an interesting DIY project but to put a price on the hours of love and trial and error would be very difficult, in fact, 7k might actually be a pretty good deal.
  • I'm also looking into the same application for transmission companies (AltaLink/ATCO). There's a lot of work up ahead!
  • Thanks for your comments and questions... I was kind of expecting that.
    I'm starting to think that this may not be the right place to be posting this. Is there anyone here who is interested? My first stop on the comparison train involves mikrokopter vs arduino.

    Which board can do what I am asking the best? GPS hold, altitude hold, best gyro stabilization?
  • Any reason you reject a fixed-wing solution from the start? And why do you want to run dual cameras?
    The system you sketch out sounds a bit complex for use in the field to me.

  • Moderator
    @Gerard... since when is the Sault considered "Northern"?... its almost the equater compared to working in HighLevel, Alberta!
  • Moderator
    This is exactly the application that I have been approached to work on here in northern Alberta... Forestry (Alberta Environment) contracts out a chopper at almost $ 2000/hour for cutline checks and photo work and they like the possibility of a UAV doing these runs. They want to be sure that I can log the photos against the GPS co-ordinates to prove infractions, poor cleanup work, etc.

    I do not feel a multicopter is a serious contender for this work given the distances needed, to say nothing of wind and weather up here.

    My prototype plane (81" Cessna 337 converted to single electric) now has a downward facing digital camera AND an oblique camera as well as the forward CCD nose camera.

    I will also eventually look at getting another Skymaster and seeing if keeping the gas engine will increase range vs lipo power.
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