New GoPro Lens vs Cannon CHDK for mapping


I was looking at this post and am looking to get into mapping with an Iris and currently have a GoPro Hero3+ Silver camera.

I am thinking of either changing the lens to remove the fisheye or distortion, or buying a Cannon camera to use CHDK.

Here is a blog post about about changing your GoPro lens .

I am leaning towards buying a Cannon camera because I think you have better control over the images with CHDK and no distortion.  This Cannon SX 230 HD has built in GPS.

Anyone have any tips on mapping?

How do you get your pictures to overlap?

What is the best height to fly at?

Can anyone point me to a "mapping 101 for drones" webpage ?

Thanks :)

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  • I use a Sony RX100 with no gimbal (Nadir view) for aerial mapping. With my Iris+ I get maximum 10 min. But I must say my batteries are not so young now.

    I always wondered how could be the quality of Gopro based mapping.

    • I also use a Sony RX100 without gimbal on the Iris+ (I use a Canon s100 in the same way). I made a simple interface plate out of thin plywood that allows the camera to be mounted with the top facing forward. The interface plate is attached with velcro straps that thread through the vent slits on the Iris underside. Velcro straps also hold the camera to the plate. I trigger the RX100 with a module from Mobilexcopter. The camera mount adds very little weight, and the slight angular variations during flight are of no significant consequence for processing.

    • Nice!....1 inch 20mp sensor and 213 grams....what mount do you use? Something from
      Man I'm envious.
    • Very simple : under the Iris 3 bolts holding a plastic plate, intermediate 1 cm thick piece of foam for vibration, and RX100 hold by its extended strap around the Iris body.

  • I use a GoPro, the Cannon is too heavy.  The software takes out the fisheye lens, I just upload.  I have it set on 12MP @ 1FPS and get very accurate results.  

    Get the trial to ReCap 360 (autodesk) or Pix4D.  Pix4D has a limited version for a few hundred dollars a year w/ limited output, I ended up getting the full version.  You use GCP's(ground control points) and you don't need to geotag.  Try DroneDeploy, they're an up and coming software too.  Use your tower software setting to a survey grid (I use a spline so that the edge photos turn out).  

    I've had a lot of success w/ this, I've been doing it for about a year.  The software I would go with right now is Pix4D.  W/ survey points, you can get the most accuracy.  The drone GPS gets you w/in about 5 meters of accuracy.  

    • How heavy was your Canon rig? What camera were you using?

  • I am using a Canon A4000. It is cheap, 16 MP's. GPS in the camera is useless. There are many videos on this. Welcome to college, again.

  • I tried a Powershot S100.... and the Iris+, on multiple occasions, couldn't handle the weight and just crashed.  3DR told me that it was too heavy.  The GPS from the S100 was unreliable anyway. It wasn't worth the hassle - so many photos would be blurry - it was a nightmare.

    I've now been making orthophotos and DTMs from a GoPro 4 on an Iris+  - with excellent results. Even with the normal lens I can produce 2cm/px ortho and 4cm/px DTM flying at 25m altitude.    Remember - you could geo-tag the images after the flight with the GPS trace from the Iris+.   Alternatively, do away with GPS tagging and simple use Ground Control Points ( real....i.e. put down markers with known lat/long/alt   - or fake - use features visible in Google Earth)

    I've had GREAT success using a GoPro 4  - throwing the images into AgiSoft Photoscan, doing fake GCPs with obvious features from Google Earth.  GoPro set to 1 sec interval stills.  The most important part is getting the altitude for the GCPs. 

    Anyone saying you can't do mapping with a GoPro is simply wrong. Period.  I've done it - with superb, well georeferenced results, again and again and again.

    Some results here :

    Pisgah Crater - dougellison
    This gallery hosted by SmugMug; your photos look better here.
    • My Canon rig weighs in at 185 grams...well under the max payload of 500 grams for an Iris+.

      Canon 330HS and Nadir mount on Scale

      I'm also using Agisoft, albeit the trial version. Hope to see something later today. Been struggling with this KAPShop 11pin Canon cable....doesn't work: KAPShop Canon CHDK and Video Cable.

      I reckon one has to use the odd-shape USB connector shell Canon uses on their AV cable to get the camera to switch video output to the 11 pin USB port. (I have one of those cables btw...only HALF the 11 leads (just the upper ones) have contacts).

      Spent the last 4 hours repairing the CHDK cable I HAD that was working fine before I cut it for this [latest] experiment.  arrrgh.

      btw: I DO use the GoPro on my Solo for mapping...using the gimbal to point at Nadir. Works ok, but I have to slow the Solo down as its racing along at 8+M/S whilst in program mission mode (area scan) and I've had my best house/roof scans with my Iris+ cruising along at: 1 M/S, Canon at 20% zoom from 164 feet (tall trees in my part of the country), running the KAP-UAV script in FAST shoot mode via trigger from the Pixhawk, Focus at Infinity and all the cool stuff that script can do...on a circular area scan over the house.

      I've read the "Ag guys" write that sensor size is of utmost importance in larger area scanning...if you want to get any work done in a day etc. I hven't seen the limits of my Canon yet, but its not far off...its a focusable lens systems...albeit a small one.

      JPG Image
    • Don't believe the '500g' payload claim for the Iris+     I was flying a 200g Canon Powershot S100 - and was told by 3DR after it crashed that the reason it crashed was I was carrying too much weight.   Iris+ is marginal on performance as it is...the 500g claim is clearly ludicrous. 

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