DroneOS - Realtime UAV tracking via the web

We're a small startup working on a project for tracking and sharing the location of UAVs and drones in real time via the web. Flights are tracked by attaching a smartphone to a drone and distributing a URL which lets your friends follow your flights in realtime on a map in a web browser.

We've been focused on building and solidifying a backend system and API to support our iPhone application. (an Android app is in the works) We're interested in feedback from the community on what we got right / wrong and where we should take the project.

Take a look at http://droneos.com and sign up for the beta if you are interested in trying it out. We are at SXSW this week if you are interested in meeting up or DM us at @droneos via Twitter.


Views: 921

Comment by Dani Agami on June 23, 2012 at 9:51am

Guys, you still there? last entry here is March 11.

Comment by Anders Brownworth on June 24, 2012 at 10:11am

Yep, we are still working on this. The backend has been completely re-written since the initial beta and we have been working on an Android / HTML5 version of the smartphone app. We have QGroundControl integration through our backend as well. Lots of people have signed up but few are in a position to actually test. If you are interested, sign up and feel free to shoot me a note - anders at drones.com.

Comment by Dani Agami on June 25, 2012 at 8:04am

Hi Anders, thanks!

Did you happen to notice the message I sent you to the droneos facebook account? If that is not a convenient place for communication I'll place the message here.

Comment by Anders Brownworth on June 25, 2012 at 8:23am

Post here or tweet us...


Comment by John Wiseman on June 25, 2012 at 8:40am

So I've signed up for the beta--when can I actually begin trying your API?

Comment by Anders Brownworth on June 25, 2012 at 8:45am

Are you wanting to use QGroundControl or on of the mobile options?

Comment by Anders Brownworth on June 25, 2012 at 8:47am

FYI if you are using QGroundControl, you can forward MAVLink packets to DroneOS in preferences.

Comment by John Wiseman on June 25, 2012 at 9:30am

Do you have an HTTP API?

Comment by Anders Brownworth on June 25, 2012 at 9:38am

Yes, but not yet public. Currently you can send us MAVLink packets via UDP. We'd love to work with you on getting a RESTful interface up if you are interested.

Comment by John Wiseman on June 25, 2012 at 12:01pm

Yes, I'd be interested in experimenting with an HTTP API.

Sending C structs (mavlink messages) over UDP is (in my opinion) going to be a headache compared to HTTP.

  • Poor support from programming languages.
  • Unreliable.
  • More work to do authentication.
  • More work to do encryption.
  • More work to load balance.

It does have the advantage of being small and fast, of course.

HTTP APIs are the glue code of the internet, and the issues of authentication, encryption, load balancing, client language support are going to be much easier.  If payload size is a huge concern, it's not like you have to send verbose JSON (though it should be an option)--an efficient marshalling protocol like Google Protocol Buffers or Apache Thrift might be all you need.


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