First APM controlled aerial photography flight

I finally getting the APM installed in my Bixler 2 this week. After a bit of tuning and configuration I ran my first aerial photography mission.

The image below shows the composite image overlaid in satellite imagery in Google Earth.


This image shows the difference in quality between Google Earth's satelite imagery and my render


Here's a 3D render of the area surveyed


And here's me on the ground


Overall I'm very happy with the first flight. There are some improvements to be made, I think most importantly, increasing the shutter speed to clear the photos up a little, maybe trying a lower flight to increase cm/pixels, flying perpendicular to the wind and finding a new flying  site.

My equipment set up is as follows:

HobbyKing Bixler 2

Turnigy 9x

APM 2.5 with GPS and telemetry

DroidPlanner to tell me what's going on in the air :)

Canon IXUS 220 HS running CHDK and a modified FPV_UAV script to allow control from the ground

Agisoft Photoscan for rendering

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  • I'm using autopano to do the stitching.

    Mission planner allows you to generate kmz files as part of the log export.
  • Hi Mark. Good job !/ Which stiching program do you use for the captured images ?

    How do you build the KMZ file, for Google Earth ?


  • nice work mark,

    my apm & chdk canon using normal usb, not using led.

    and trigger camera by distance set by APM. also i have to manually on the camera on start, and problem i have no idea how to close the lens, as my mission control by APM.

  • i read randy link there's a wiki page here

    DO_SET_ROI can be used to point the nose of the vehicle and gimbal at a specific point on the map.  Note: in AC3.1.2, as the vehicle passes a waypoint it will point to the next waypoint, this means that in order to point at a single point throughout the mission, the do-set-roi command must appear over and over again after each waypoint. 

    In AC3.2 this behaviour has been modified so that this is not necessary. Any idea/sample mission to do this?


  • @makeflyeasy. This video details the camera set up I'm using an eflite switch to trigger the camera via USB I removed one of the eflite light outputs and soldered a mini USB cable onto the bare wires.

  • @Ahmed: I uploaded a video of the camera setup here I'm currently using a 2200mah 3S LiPo. Flight time is around 10 - 15 minutes though I haven't pushed this, I could possibly get more. I'd like to add another LiPo in there but I think the plane would struggle to stay aloft with that much extra weight.

    @Michael: There are 96 photos in total.

    @Acorn: You can get my version of the script from at

  • Can you somehow share the CHDK FPV UAV script??
  • Developer

    Very nice result.

    I'm sure most people know but there's a wiki page here which describes (at a high level) how you can do this yourself as well.

  • Developer

    how many photos did you and up with?

  • Ahmed I'll get some photos together for you.
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