UGCS Compatibility: DJI M600 Pro + Ronin MX + Sony A7R (ii)

Dear all,

I have found parts of the below questions across the web, but unfortunately comprehensive or definite answers are still missing. Knowing many people out there are dealing with similar questions on the matter I hope people out here are willing and capable of sharing their experiences. Here goes, the thing is as follows:

We are currently in the market for a new aircraft comprising of DJI's M600 Pro, the Ronin MX gimbal and Sony's A7R (or A7R ii) camera. We may include the D-RTK GNSS module later on if we believe this will add to the setup. The M600 Pro platform appears to be a comparatively affordable, flexible and near to ideal platform for the mapping/ surveying (photogrammetry) endeavours we envision. Considering that precision and accuracy is of imperative importance, we are currently exploring what (mobile and/or desktop) Mission Planning applications out there will work with the above setup. We are particularly interested in if (and how!) this rig is compatible with UGCS).

From what I have read on the web in past weeks it seems everyone has had different experiences, ranging from rather succesful to problematic regarding interoperability of the above setup with various Mission Planning applications. Considering the speed of technology and soft- and firmware updates such bad experiences may well be outdated, hence a headsup on the current situation is much appreciated!

In short:
  • Is the Sony A7R (or A7R ii) compatible with UGCS? Is UGCS capable of recognizing the camera? It does show up in the Desktop mission planner at least!
  • Does UGCS support different lenses fort he Sony A7R? Or, can we adjust parameters as focal length in the application if we chose to use a different lens for different projects?
  • Is UGCS capable of automatically triggering the camera in-flight at the desired capture/ waypoint locations?
  • Is DJI's Remote Start/ Stop module required to trigger the camera using UGCS, or does it also work without that module? If neither of the above triggering method works, what workarounds can one think of to trigger the camera? Time-Lapse mode, for example?
  • The release notes of the latest M600 Pro firmware states: “Added GPS information recording while taking stills with a third-party camera connected to a Ronin-MX and Matrice 600 PRO”. It is nowhere explained, however, how one can retrieve the GPS information from the M600/ A3 flight controller. Based on reading across the web this may actually be much of a hassle! Has anyone had experience with this proces?
  • If D-RTK is installed on the M600 Pro, is it also possible to extract the RTK flight log from the M600/ A3 flight controller?
  • If none of the above works, may someone suggest workarounds to geotag
  • Has anyone been succesful in getting the above setup to work with applications other than UGCS? It seems remote/ automatic camera triggering is the most problematic in this respect as DJI’s SDK does not support this (yet)? Nonetheless ideas on workarounds (i.e. Time Lapsing, use of intervalometers) is welcome so one has a secondary backup application in case UGCS is not working for some reason.
  • Are there any other things, not mentioned here, we should consider when using the above setup for mapping flights?

Any information or sharing of experiences is very welcome! The information that is out there is either marginal, unclear or outdated. Considering the costs involved we would like to get everything clear to make sure the bird is actually capable of what we will be using it for to give it a run for its money!

Thanks in advance ;)

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Bob, we don't have Ronin MX so I don't know is it works with UgCS. Couple of months ago I heard that it wasn't possible to trigger camera even from DJI GO.

Below are my comments on your questions (when I can say something..)

  • Is the Sony A7R (or A7R ii) compatible with UGCS?

Yes. In UgCS you can add any camera to the payloads list and specify it's parameters required for calculations fo mapping/photogrammetry missions.

  • Is UGCS capable of recognizing the camera? It does show up in the Desktop mission planner at least!

UgCS can't recognise camera automatically. You can select any camera for your vehicle profile and later use this camera in photogrammetry tool.

  • Does UGCS support different lenses fort he Sony A7R? Or, can we adjust parameters as focal length in the application if we chose to use a different lens for different projects?

You can add multiple entries for Sony A7R to the payloads list with different focal distance. Add all this payloads to your vehicle profile and later in photogrammetry tool you can select between these entries for A7R.

  • Is UGCS capable of automatically triggering the camera in-flight at the desired capture/ waypoint locations?

in general yes, but I don't sure regarding Ronin MX. With modern DJI drones we use DJI SDK and can do only what DJI allows to do.

  • Is DJI's Remote Start/ Stop module required to trigger the camera using UGCS, or does it also work without that module? If neither of the above triggering method works, what workarounds can one think of to trigger the camera? Time-Lapse mode, for example?

Time lapse is working workaround..

  • The release notes of the latest M600 Pro firmware states: “Added GPS information recording while taking stills with a third-party camera connected to a Ronin-MX and Matrice 600 PRO”. It is nowhere explained, however, how one can retrieve the GPS information from the M600/ A3 flight controller. Based on reading across the web this may actually be much of a hassle! Has anyone had experience with this proces?
  • If D-RTK is installed on the M600 Pro, is it also possible to extract the RTK flight log from the M600/ A3 flight controller?
  • If none of the above works, may someone suggest workarounds to geotag

In UgCS you can geotag photos using data from recorded telemetry.

Some samples.

Here we have 2 entries for Canon with different lenses:

We can add both cameras to the profile of particular copter type:

And finally in Photogrammetry tool we can select any camera added to the vehicle profile:

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