Janis Kuze's Posts (25)

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Robotshop offers UgCS with autopilot


We have some great news for those of you about to purchase autopilots. 
In cooperation with Robotshop.com (and Robotshop.com/eu/) you can now acquire autopilots bundled together with UgCS.
If you are about to get a Pixhawk or an APM autopilot with GPS, you can get the UgCS ONE license on top of that for just a few dollars.

In addition to that you can also get AR.Drone bundled together with UgCS in a similar manner.
For more information please visit www.robotshop.com and www.ugcs.com 

Safe flights,
UgCS Team

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Just wanted to thank you for being active users and let you know what you can meet with us and see UgCS 2.4 preview at AUVSI Expo next week.

Please be welcome at our booth #3144


UgCS Team

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In January we published news that we completed test integration of 3DR copter with Sagetech XPS-TR transponder.


We have received permission from Sagetech to disclose part of their communication protocol in our source codes and can publish all technical information of the solution.

In our experimental project we used Arduino board as communication layer between autopilot and transponder.

Arduino sketch controls transponder mode and decodes telemetry from autopilot.

Source code and schematic available at GitHub - https://github.com/UgCS/sagetech-ardu

Operation of ADS-B solution was monitored using following methods:

- ADS-B receiver Sagetech Clarity + FlyQ EFB application

- Ground control software UgCS with ADS-B receiver support

- Webpage Flightradar24.com

During tests 3DR Quad showed on all types of receivers without interruptions. Thus UAV was seen by nearby air traffic and its presence made known to ensure airspace safety.

Video of results is available here – video on Youtube

We hope that our experience can help you if you want to reproduce same solution.

Safe flights,

UgCS team

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Taking the images
To take the images for your own map, you`re going to need a copter compatible with UgCS and a camera. If the copter is equipped with a camera trigger, it can be triggered through UgCS, if not, the camera needs to be set to take an image every few seconds.

UgCS can be downloaded at www.ugcs.com

We used 3DR Iris+ equipped with a GoPro Hero 3 camera. The GoPro was set to take a picture every 2 seconds. The camera was pointing downwards at a 90 degree angle.

1)    Create a mission in UgCS with a few waypoints. We created a mission with 5 waypoints at an altitude of 30 m. Each waypoint has a wait action for 15 seconds to allow the camera to take a picture. Also, since the camera is taking a picture every 2 seconds, multiple pictures at the same location help you to better understand which images are taken at which waypoints.
3689644062?profile=originalPlease note that each waypoint has coordinates in the form of 55.1234567 and 22.1234567. Unless your camera is equipped with the function of geotagging images, please take note of the coordinates for each of the waypoint images, they are later going to be used during processing.

2)    Press Calculate route button and upload the route to the vehicle and let it fly the route with the camera taking images

3)    Upload the images into your computer, look through them and find which images were taken at which waypoints. In the end after deleting unnecessary images and we had 5 waypoints our image folder looked like this:

Please note that the step 3 can be made a lot easier if the copter is equipped with a camera trigger. Camera Trigger action can simply be added to each waypoint in UgCS and thus each image automatically is taken at each waypoint and scripts used to combine coordinates from telemetry with pictures.

Processing the images
To combine the images into a single image we are going to use Pix4D software.
Please note that Pro account is needed to export the finished project from Pix4D. You can either buy the Pro license, rent it or use a Pro trial version for now.

Sign up and download Pix4D from www.pix4d.com

After downloading, install it on your computer and open it.
1)    The following screen will appear

2)    Click New Project, enter a name for your project (in our case it is going to be called Spilve) and click Next.

3)    In the next screen add the images you have taken previously and click Next

4)    In the next screen you are going to have to add the GPS coordinates and the altitude at which the image was taken to each of the images. In the example below the coordinates and altitude have been added to the first waypoint out of five. You need to add them to at least 3 waypoints, but preferably add to all.

3689644116?profile=original5)    Click Next and click Finish. That should take you to following screen:

3689644141?profile=original6)    Now go to Process --> Options --> DSM and Orthomosaic tab
In this tab make sure that Google Maps Tiles and KML and Mapbox Tiles are checked. After that click Ok and the Options window will close.

3689644171?profile=original7)    In the bottom of the screen click the Start button to start processing the images. This might take some time depending on number of images. After it is done a Quality Report window will open. You can take a look at the results and close it. The main screen in Pix4D should now look like this3689644216?profile=original

Uploading the project to Mapbox
Right now our project file is stored locally in our computer. We are going to upload it using a service called Mapbox to access it in UgCS.
1)    Go to www.mapbox.com and sign up
2)    After signing up, open up Pix4D and go to Process-->Mapbox-->Upload
3)    A browser window will appear asking you to log into Mapbox. Enter your credentials and the upload will start.
Please note that Mapbox free account is limited to 100MB.
4)    After the upload has finished, go to www.mapbox.com  
5)    From the menu, click Projects3689644192?profile=original6)    Click New Project
Under Style choose Transparent
Click Data
Click Menu
Click Layers3689644076?profile=original7)    Click Add layers3689644229?profile=original8)    On the Add layers window that opens, click the layer that is generated by Pix4Dmapper and it is already uploaded under the layers.

9)    Close the Add layers window.

10)    The layer has been added. Click on it to see the map.3689644201?profile=original11)    Click Save to save your project

12)    Click Project

13)    Find and copy the Share link. Copy it to a notepad or similar text editor, where you can edit the link.
The link should look something like this:
The link needs to be adjusted to work with UgCS. Replace https with http and /page.html with .json
The finished link should look something like this:

Adding the map to UgCS
Now lets add a map overlay from the project we created in Mapbox to UgCS.
1)    Open UgCS Client
2)    Go to Menu-->Configuration-->Map providers-->Add
3)    Enter a Name for the map provider, it can be any name you like, we are going to call it Mapbox layer
4)    In Type select MB tileJSON
5)    In URL enter the link you created in the previous section. In our case it is:
6)     Click Save

3689644240?profile=original7)    Exit the menu and go to UgCS map

8)    In the right upper side of the screen click the button to see the dropdown menu for overlay map tile providers and select the one you just created3689644268?profile=original9)    The end result should look like this:3689644026?profile=original

Congratulations, you have now successfully added a Mapbox overlay created by you to UgCS!

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We have added new functionality to UgCS. Integration with DroneShare to ease sharing and "bookkeeping" of your flights.
In this article we are going to show you how to fly a mission in UgCS, replay the mission in the telemetry player in UgCS and then upload the telemetry from the mission to Droneshare.

1.    Open UgCS and add your vehicle

2.    Create a mission and process the created route

3.    Upload the route to the vehicle
4.    Fly the mission


5.    Open telemetry player 3689642570?profile=original
6.    Add your vehicle and navigate to the timeframe when the flight took place
7. Replay your mission if necessary 3689642670?profile=original
8. Open the Upload to Droneshare window
9. Enter your Droneshare credentials and click OK to upload the mission to Droneshare
10.    That’s it, your mission has been successfully uploaded to Droneshare! Click the link to view the Mission on Droneshare



UgCS Team

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UgCS 2.3 is out!


We are happy to launch UgCS 2.3

Due to demand and interest from Spanish speaking countries we have added Spanish language.

To bring more connectivity for your conviniece right inside UgCS application we have added support to Droneshare.com and Mapbox.com

Using UgCS now you can turn your UAV into real time reportes camera as UgCS support streaming to ustream.tv

From UAV flight management most important update is implementation of an option to select Spline, Bank Turn, Adaptive Bank Turn, Stop and Turn turn type.

For rest of the changes please take a look at release notes: http://ugcs.com/release-notes

Have a good flights!

UgCS Team

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3689640699?profile=originalHere is one neat trick we would like to share with you!

Software in the loop (SITL) allows you to simulate APM:Plane, APM:Copter or APM:Rover on your computer without using any hardware. Think of it as a virtual simulator of your unmanned machine.

It is possible to set up SITL to work with UgCS. This process consists of two parts:

1) Setting up SITL on Linux
2) Connecting SITL and UgCS

SITL needs Linux to run, so it is suggested that you either do this on a virtual machine in Windows environment or run it on Ubuntu. For best results we suggest doing this on a native Ubuntu computer instead of a virtual machine.

1. Setting up SITL on Linux

To set up SITL on Linux, follow these instructions (http://dev.ardupilot.com/wiki/simulation-2/setting-up-sitl-on-linux/ (http://dev.ardupilot.com/wiki/simulation-2/setting-up-sitl-on-linux/)) up to and including Step 5.

2. Connecting SITL and UgCS

1. Find the vsm-ardupilot.conf file on your computer. It should be in the UgCS install directory.

In Windows, it is located in:

 C:\Program Files (x86)\UgCS\bin\vsm-ardupilot.


In Ubuntu, it is located in:


2. Once you have found the file, add the following lines to it:

# IP address of the vehicle to connect to.

vehicle.ardupilot.tcp.1.address =

# TCP port of the vehicle to connect to.

vehicle.ardupilot.tcp.1.tcp_port = 5762
The ip address should be changed to the one on which Ardupilot host is running. To find the ip address in Ubuntu, go to System Settings → Network and you should see the IP Address. Copy the address and replace the vehicle.ardupilot.tcp.1.
address with the one you have.

3. Launch the Ardupilot simulator

Write the following lines in the Terminal:

cd ardupilot/ArduCopter (or cd ardupilot/ArduPlane if you want to simulate the airplane)

make configure

sim_vehicle.sh -w

4. Run UgCS. You should find ArduCopter in the vehicles list:

It will be located in Austrialia


5. Now you can create mission plan for it (select 3DR ArduCopter QUAD profile when asked). It's ok, that battery is zero. It will fly anyway


Calculate path and upload it to vehicle. After successful upload you need to arm the vehicle and as quickly as possible. Arm it by typing the following command into terminal:

rc 3 1100

This means that you send the signal of 1100 through the third channel of your imaginary RC.

Now switch the vehicle to Auto Mode and it will start flying the mission. You can also experiment by entering some manual commands.

Best regards,
UgCS team

P.S. The next time you launch the simulator use the command:

sim_vehicle.sh --console --map
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Hi guys,

We would like to share with you very simple find we did during our operations. Making reusable Ground Control Points (GCPs) for aerial photography and photogrammetry.

We spend a lot of time testing and tuning our Universal Ground Control Software U[g]CS in a real world scenarios.

For aerial photography and photogrammetry you can rely on modern software like Pix4D, Acute 3D and other to produce good results without ground control points. If good is not enough and accurate 3D model or digital map needs to be rendered you always need GCPs.

We started from “classic” crosses made from painted plates of cardboard, wood and plastic, but they proved not to be practical in every situation and all weather conditions we encountered.

And finally we found that best material for small GCPs is simple ceramic tiles:


For each GCP you need 2 black and 2 white tiles with mat surface. Glossy has reflections and does not work well.

They are absolutely water (rain/snow), wind and mud resistant. Can be easily transported in car and reused almost forever. Until human error takes its toll and you drop them on rocks or hit hard against a car.

Tiles with 40X40 cm size proved good for making shots from up to 100 meters.

This is a shot taken from approx. 50 meter altitude with GoPro:


Zoomed in part of the frame above:


Good luck and safe flights,

UgCS team

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Today we again sucessfully flew Arducopter with ADS-B transmitter. Flight was detected on Flightradar24.com along with other aircraft.

Our Arducopter has formal and legal ICAO registration and probably is first in its class in the world to get formal ICAO ID.

We used microADS-B reciever and our UgCS software to monitor the mission. In paralel also used Sagetech Reciever (screenshot)

Please see whole mission in our video


UgCS Team

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U|g|CS 2.2 is out



U|g|CS 2.2 is out. Several nice features from our backlog have been implemented. Here is a list of changes:

• Implemented support of multiple map layers
• WMS map provider now supports ESPG:4326 projection
• Telemetry player now displays commands that were sent to vehicle
• Route segment can be deleted by pressing "DEL" key on keyboard
• Added energy saving functionality for Notebook users
• Added demo missions containing most important functions
• Improved overall client performance in comparison to v.2.1
• Added camera trigger action for DJI based vehicles
• Client will now automatically check if a new version is available

• Coordinate input improved in U|g|CS client
• Home location functionality fixed for DJI based vehicles
• Fully tested and supported ArduCopter version 3.2
• Fixed take-off action problems for DJI based vehicles
• Added Ubuntu 14.10 support
• Fixed ArduCopter based vehicle POI action on circles
• Fixed button for minimizing all windows open in U|g|CS client

To upgrade from 2.1 get 2.2 and start the installation process.

Stay tuned!

U|g|CS Team

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UgCS is used by Santa's present delivery service!

We would like to thank you all for being with us, using and commenting on our ground control software. Your feedback helped us greatly. During this year the number of our Beta testers and users of Open version rose from few to more than thousand. Most of them members of DIYDrones community.

During December we saw also first clients for our UgCS ONE commercial version. Special thanks for them on showing trust in us with their money.

Make your dreams come true in 2015 with help of www.ugcs.com next year, just like "New Year's Present Delivery Service did!

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UgCS 2.1 is out!



I am pleased to inform that UgCS 2.1 is out now. All versions including UgCS One are available.

There is of course UgCS Open which is free and will suit needs of most of hobby users who fly drones for fun.

With UgCS version 2.0 one has ability to search for locations via text search and our new 3D map engine supports different sources of maps. Custom map sources can be added in configuration tab of the software.

We have retained multi drone support even for Open version thus you can work with scenarios involving multiple vehicles.

UgCS runs on MacOS/Linux/Windows and supports most of popular autopilots such as 3DR AMP/Pixhawk, DJI Naza(Phantom2)/Wookong-M/A2, ARDrone, Mikrokopter

Here is full list of changes from 2.0 to 2.1 http://ugcs.com/release-notes

Thank you,

UgCS Team

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3DR Robotics group flight

Here is 3D Robotics centric group flight. Iris+ and his grandpa 3DR Quad on a mission. Playing around with scenario to cover large area with multiple vehicles simultaneously. Can be handy for Search&Rescue, surveyors and others.

Additionally you can see a proximity warnings in UgCS in action. These can use ADS-B as a source as well.


UgCS Team

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ICAO address is used as unique airframe identifier for so called Mode-S transponders - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_transponder_interrogation_modes#ICAO_24-bit_address.


It is likely at least in Europe that beyond line of sight UAV operations in future will require equipping UAVs with such transponder.


So we decided to start working on ADS-B OUT transponders integration with popular autopilots and adding these features to our ground control software UgCS (www.ugcs.com).


As first carrier we have selected 3DR Quad with Pixhawk.


Why Pixhawk? -  This line of autopilots have matured and we expect lot of  commercial applications will be using it. We will be ready for that with our solution for Pixhawk- ADS-B transponder integration.


We selected 3D Robotics Quad because we have lot of them and they are symbolic for getting quads and UAV technology to the masses. :-)


We will use Sagetech XPS-TR transponder because of its small size and weight, which allows equipping even lightest UAVs with it. 


4 months ago we approached Latvian Civil Aviation Agency with request to provide us ICAO 24-bit address for our quad, and now it has happened! 


Latvian Civil Aviation Agency (FAA analogue for us) has issued ICAO address 502С08 for our little bird - 3DR Quad with "tail number" 6 (see picture).


In a month or two it should appear on flightradar24.com.




UgCS Team

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UgCS 2.0 public Beta is out!



I wanted to let you know what UgCS 2.0 Beta is now available for download at our site www.ugcs.com !

UgCS 2.0 now supports Ardupilot, Mikrokopter, Microdrones, ARDrone and DJI (Naza-m, wookong-m, A2) autopilots.

As shown in our teaser, UgCS 2.0 has now real 3D globe map engine and capability to search for locations for quick navigation.


Please feel free to download it and see the beauty with your own eyes :)

As always your feedback is greatly appreciated, as together we can build really one of the kind ground control software!

Thank you!

UgCS Team

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Our sincere thannks to UgCS Beta testers


We would like to express our sincere thanks to all who have registered and downloaded our software for Beta testing!

This month we have more than 550 guys who have downloaded our Beta version of software.

Majority of you are from DIYDrones community!

Thank you and keep torturing our product and give restless nights for our devs to fix the bugs and implement suggested features!

If you want to join, just register at www.ugcs.com and download UgCS Beta from Products&Services tab!

Best regards,

UgCS Team

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UgCS 2.0 Teaser video

Hello the DIYDrones community!

Thank you very much for your interest in our software. Since last news about support of DJI Phantom 2 our ranks of Beta testers have exploded!

Here we would like to present to you teaser of upcoming version of UgCS 2.0.

To those who have stumbled upon us for the first time we support not just DJI, but numerous other autopilots like: 3DR APM/Pixhawk, ArDrone, PixHawk, Mikrokopter, DJI autopilots, UNAV, Microdrones. You can sign up for beta testing by registering at www.ugcs.com!

Thank you and have a good flights!

Best regards,

UgCS Team

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UgCS now supports DJI!



We received huge interest in our work since last post about using DJI and Pix4D combination. (http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/creating-3d-models-using-pix4d-ugcs-and-dji-phantom-2)

Most of questions were when DJI owners themselves will be able to try it out :)

And here is the answer: NOW IT IS!

New version of UgCS Beta containing DJI support can be downloaded from www.ugcs.com  Products & Services/Download section. Build (Need to register and log-in to access)

Currently DJI support is available for Win and Linux versions.

DJI connection manual can be found here http://ugcs.com/documentation 


Enjoy and we are waiting for your feedback!


UgCS Team

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We have improved area scan tool of our software. Now you can set direction of "snake" any angle you like or require!

You can get UgCS for free at our site. Just register and download from the Products section!

Please be reminded that our offer for free polos in exchange for flight report is still on! Let us know what you think of UgCS. Especially things you don't like are welcome!

Here is more details on how to obtain UgCS polo for free: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/new-release-of-ugcs-and-goodies-up-for-grab

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