Mapping with Ardupilot

I've been playing with ArduPlane for quite a while and have finally got to the point where I can make it do something useful. I've been inspired by others on this site to use it for aerial photography to make 3D maps and the like.


I have an ST Models Discovery as the airframe (awesome platform for Arduplane by the way) and have made my own camera mount out of plywood for the bottom. It has one servo for roll stabilisation using CHAN 8 on the autopilot to keep the camera pointing down. It's basic but works pretty well (see pics)



Last weekend I flew over a small island on the river near my house. I managed to get 155 photos in around 10 mins and produce quite a reasonable 3d surface using hypr3d. I gotta say that these guys rock with great personal service and it's all free! They did struggle a bit with that many photos, but you can see the result below


3D Rotatable version

I'm not in the same league as some of the other makers of aerial maps on this site, and have no idea of the accuracy of this map, but was pretty happy with the early results and would like to work on this more to get better results.


my setup is

Airframe - ST Models Discovery Trainer with stock motor and 30A ESC

Arduplane 2.24 with Magnetometer, airspeed kit and xbee - a few lines of code added to output roll stabilisation

Home made camera mount with roll stabiliser

Canon IXUS 50 camera 5MP (this is a very light P&S camera) running CHDK

Spektrum DX 7 2.4GHz tx/rx

2200 mAh 3s motor battery + 1000 mAh 2s battery to power all other electronics via a UBEC (the stock BEC is too small)


I used Mark Willis's aerial coverage spreadsheet to calculate the waypoints before launch and it seemed to produce a good result.You can see the waypoint in the following screenshot








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  • Thanks guys.
    Mark - I'm thinking of upgrading, but I got the ixus 50 for $30 on ebay so it will do for now. It is also very light (200g including the mount) which gives longer flight times.

    I've been meaning to ask - is the focal length box in your spreadsheet refering to '35mm' equivalent focal length, or just what the camera reports?
  • James, very well done!  This is what a great many of us are aiming to do.

    If you upgrade to the Canon A590, you'll be able to get about a shot every two seconds.

  • Developer

    nice work james.

    i have been thinking about adding a camera calc box into the planner for these type of calcs. I have started

    but marks spreadsheet looks good.

  • Moderator

    Brilliant, well done

  • I just used the intervalometer script and fired it every 1 second, which gives more like every 4 seconds as the camera slow to write to its card. The extra waypoints on the lines above were an attempt to keep the plane flying as close to a straight line as possible, rather than trigger points for the camera.

  • Developer

    It looks Grate !!! Well done !!! What did you use to trigger your camera ?

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