Is there a link that has full documentation on the Mission Planner? Things like what do all those lines represent that point from my airplane and quad when I play back a mission. What’s the .rlog file? Why do I sometimes get waypoints during mission playback and sometimes not. The more I use it the more questions I have.

I guess I am looking for the Dummies/Beginners guide to using the Mission Planner.


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This is still a serious problem. What's the current site one should use for documentation?  Is it the new APM copter site, or the Google code wiki?  There are broken links and incomplete information on both, and no links from one to the other that specify which should be used.

It's extremely confusing.

You should be using the new manuals on the ardupilot.com site. Please let us know if there are broken links. As for incomplete information, that's as always a work in progress. There is an unlimited amount of information that could be in the manuals, but the team has focused on the setup and most common instructions first. 

Hi everybody, I am currently chief bottle washer in the (non-aligned) documentation department.

Not because I want to be, but because, additional volunteers to do actual editing are really hard to come by.

First: there are the new site(s):

APM:Copter Here: http://copter.ardupilot.com/

APM:Plane Here: http://plane.ardupilot.com/

And APM:Rover Here: http://rover.ardupilot.com/

There is an editors forum Here: http://diydrones.com/group/manual-editors where you can leave a note and get signed up to be an editor.

And there is a batch of tips for editors on how to edit in WordPress for the (Manuals) here: http://ardupilot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2&sid=aea36d...

It is very reasonable to have 3DR/DIYDrones manage who has editorial access for liability reasons if nothing else.

And the WordPress site is challenging enough to need people who have reasonable editing qualifications using it.

That said, they have a very open policy and if you are interested in contributing to it and have a willingness to learn what is necessary to do so they are more than happy to hook you up.

I am not affiliated with 3DR and would really like more people to get in there and contribute.

Right now we are in the process of transferring the old Google wiki to the new WordPress Manual and there are still a few broken links as well as the fact that we are currently undergoing massive improvements in methods and capabilities.

That said, the new wiki is already much more current than the old wiki and even with the moving and growing problems that is where you should look for the best and most current information.

That is MY opinion of course and since I did much of the work getting it in there and editing it; I might be prejudiced.

One final bit of advice -> -> Use the "REFERENCE MANUAL TABLE OF CONTENTS" in the upper right of each page to get around.

The TOCs have everything in them, the Drop Down Menus DO NOT!)

I know a few people are working very hard on this problem and seem to be making progress. Here's an idea which I think is the best way to get people's questions answered accurately by knowledgeable people in the community: we need a diydrones StackExchange site (or, better, a general UAV StackExchange). You might think that suggesting yet another web framework is a silly thing to do, since we've been through Ning, Google Code, Google Groups, and Wordpress.

However, it's not the framework so much as the paradigm I'm promoting. A StackExchange-style format provides three very important things:

- A way to identify the correct answer to a question. On this ning site (diydrones.com), that's impossible. Most threads are too long to read all of the answers, and there's no way to even know if the question has been answered or not. Discussion groups are a little better since you aren't hindered by the few replies per page limit, not much better.

- A reward system to provide incentives for people with answers to spend their time providing them.

- Automatic determination of who is trusted enough to have a moderator type role. Having 3DR determine this manually is a political and practical problem.

Without those two things, we can keep switching platforms forever but won't solve the actual problem.

@Aaron

I'm curious as to how this would be the solve all. What would happen if they decided to make it a paid service or just switch it off?

That said I am coming from just Googled StackExchange and read the about page, I don't know anything about it.

I really like wordpress I created a site with it. SO I am biased. Please type slowly for a non believer and explain the StackExchange advantage once more???

As a member of a StackExchange site, you have "reputation points." You can gain points a few ways, for example, answering a question in a way that solves a problem (questioner chooses your answer as correct), or making a comment that others "upvote" as relavent. It quickly becomes publicly obvious if you are informed and contributing.

Points unlock privileges which allow you do do things like downvote other questions, answers, and comments. Eventually, if you accumulate enough points, the software trusts you to the point that you basically run the site.

I spend hours answering programming questions on StackOverflow because it's a game where I earn reputation points and unlock privileges.

There is very little incentive for me to to put time and effort into writing what is effectively the 3DR user manual. In fact I would feel like I was working to sell their products for them without any compensation.

I feel 3DR should put money into maintaining some kind of online user manual, i.e. the beautiful wordpress site that @Gary has put so much time and effort into. Don't get me wrong, it looks great and it'd definitely needed. But if you want to get real community involvement you need to turn it into a game the way StackExchange does.

If you compare the answer quality on sites like Yahoo Answers to StackExchange sites, it's black and white. I'd estimate the average answer is 50 times more likely to solve a given problem. That's why Ubuntu, among many others, has switched over from community wikis to a StackExchange site .

I think you're correct that StackExchange is a commercial company, and that is a big downside. It would be great if there was a free alternative, probably just a matter of time. In the meantime I might go ahead and propose a general UAV stackexchange site at http://area51.stackexchange.com/

By the way,http://stackexchange.com/about is a much better explanation than mine.

And how StackExchange this better than a moderated Wiki?

@Stephen, as I explained above I think automatic moderation using reputation points is vastly superior to moderation based on arbitrary human decisions and permission inhertance.

But a StackExchange site has a very different purpose from wiki. A wiki is designed to be a user-edited set of permanent documentation. A SE site is a place where questions are answered. So, I picture a documentation wiki (a wordpress, actually, in this case) that explains all the standard simple stuff, and then a SE where people go when they need help with a problem that could be very specific or have to do with a non-standard piece of hardware, or an unusual use of  the hardware, etc. SE answers will often refer to documentation -- often the person asking the question has misunderstood the documentation or failed to find the right section. So, the two things are both necessary and compliment each other.

When I first got to Diydrones many years ago, all my questions were answered instantly in the chat room, which was great! However, usage decreased and eventually the chat was removed from diydrones.com . I was surprised and excited to find it showed up again for a day or so a few weeks ago. Tons of people were on there asking questions and some were getting answered. I'm not sure why it was removed again -- maybe it was enabled by accident?

Anyway, an SE site is better than a chat too because answers tend to be instant but questions are not lost if they don't get an instant answer.

Sadly the IRC implementation on Ning (our hosting platform) slows the site to a crawl, so user complaint forced us to remove it. Maybe someday it will work better and we can bring it back, but we don't control the tech so can't do much other than cross our fingers.

I just realized that there is already http://robotics.stackexchange.com/ , and it already has quite a few ardupilot questions on it. I'm going to start using that.

We definitely haven't got all of the dross out of this WordPress Endeavor, but it really seems like it's got the right stuff for us to do what we need and to do it well.

Tridge's ability to add a few magic Python Scripts and PlugIns plus WoirdPress's own PlugIns really make this thing awfully powerful.

We need a site where 3DR the Company and we the Public can communicate and educate each other and this is rapidly being forged into and excellent site for just that.

The question really isn't which system we should use.

At this point, it's really much more a matter of how do we make it work best for all interested parties and with WordPress we have the basic scope to make that an attainable feat.

Google was limited, this is much less limited.

I'd make an APM / PX4 comparison, but that might not be popular.

Oops - Just did!

I will be adding a "common page" for editor education for new and future editors with lots of information.

So, I've learned a little more about the state of Q/A sites. I think a better stackexchange-style solution for us would be the open source platform Askbot. (See e.g. the Robotics Operating System page http://answers.ros.org) It takes years to prove to stackexchange that a new site is worth starting (the process happens at area51.stackexchange.org ).

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