Starting from scratch, with the view of eventually flying multispec cameras over farms back home.

Hi all,

I have been silently watching this group for months now and reading as much as I can and I am finally at a point where I would like to ask for input.

I live in South Korea and at the moment UAVs are just a hobby, but like many of you I would like to be a part of this massive evolution in tech and its endless Agri applications. My dream would be to fly UAVs over farms in South Africa (my home) and collect crop/stock data confidently and possibly offer this skill set to the Environmental sector too, as this is where I have most of my training (EIA and ESIA studies)

I have just finished building a pretty solid flying wing and I have got the hang of flying it: 

My question is: What now?

Do I buy the APM autopilot system and learn how that works? Do I get setup for FPV? Cash in my life savings and buy a decent multispec cam? 

Any suggestions would be most welcome and additional tips and wisdom would be appreciated.


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Hi Thorsten,

RAW v Jpeg, I am not an expert, but the experts that I supplied data for (2 years ago) asked for RAW imagery and I got into the habit of doing this. There are many forums on the web that have discussued this topic, see RAW v Jpeg or Digital Photography Scool RAW vs Jpeg

As you can see a Jpeg could be used for calculating NDVI, but RAW is superior. As most cameras can do both at the same time, it is recommended to capture both, so the Jpeg's can be viewed quickly in the fields straight after the mission to confirm image overlap, etc and RAW data processed back in the office.

Please share your experience of processing Jpeg's into NDVI using the Red channel, I'm always looking for new easier / simpler ways of doing a job. That's why I bought a Tetracam ADC Micro last year and stopped using the IR converted Canon to produce NDVI.

Now CHDK is fully supported in Arduplane & MP, for an entry level system, it seems sensible to use two Canon pocket cameras with one conerted to IR 720nm or 850nm.

Best regards,


Here an interesting link to deepen the knowledge in the area.


Hi Keith quick question,

Why do you suggest Pixhawk over ArduPilot?

Ardupilot is AVR 8 bit processor completely maxed out..

pixhawk is STM32 chip ie 32 bit processor.. where the future of APM development is..



Ah I see. Thanks for the input!!!

Hello Keith, can you post somoe photos of your catapult? I'm triying to do one for my Skywalker, Thank's

Hi Cala,

I have just set up a group called "Catapult & Bungee Launchers", as you inspired me to do this. I have thought before now that a group like this would answer many questions. Any way I have posted a video of the catapult that Bormatec manufacture. The Maja has a flat bottom, so it sits well on the track, join the Group and we can discuss there, I expect many people prefer bungee launching a Skywalker, rather than a catapult, as they have rounded fueslage's.

Best regards,


Thank's see there

sorry, I searched all through the groups, the closest one I could find was "Image Orthorectification", is that the photo mapping one you were talking about?


Hi Keith,

Im looking at what airframe to use for mapping....there's a mix of answers and they range from Flying Wings like the Ritewing ZII to the skywalker like you mentioned....wouldn't a wing be be better in terms of durability..for example based on some of the lessons learned by the 3DR team it seems that constant landing for agri purposes takes a toll on airframes ( have their own flying time issues....but in the end its experience that counts using trying to get an idea what platform to choose...flying wing or the skywalker...and then focus on one to tune and improve on. multirotors can be used for short flights and mapping but i have narrowed it down to either the ZII or the Skywalker 2014

would be interested in your input


Horses for courses!

If you're landing on standing crops, then the Skywalker / Maja is O.K.

Most commercial UAVs (Smartplanes, eBee, Swinglet, Gatewing, UX5, Quest, Bramor) all use the Delta wing!

I have just bought a Skywalker 2013 kit and a X6 kit, my plan is to compare both this summer and draw a conclusion. Reading the spec's the 2013 fly's slower than the 2014 model, so you might want to consider this, as for our uses, slow and stable is better than "sporty" for FPV users.

Best of luck!

A good equation is :

Modified Penguin + APM 2.5 + good GPS + long range telemetry +  NDVI camera + android tablet / Win8 laptop + 9 channels remote control + Agisoft Photoscan

- Either DIY at the (high) risk of frying the fragile electronics and spend a solid amount of time and money but it is possible (buy spares !).

- Or check out various providers such as 3DR, Flight Riot, myself, and a few others in the world who sell RTF ones.

Pixhawk is sexy but not a mature product yet. I would not recommend it to start a business today. I may do so tomorrow.



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