My snow covered landscape
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    eepete's Avatar
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    My snow covered landscape

    Here's a look at my place in the snow. Note the hay bales arranged as smiley faces... You can also see the problem of packed ice on the roads- you can go from clear where there road was in the sun to covered faster than you can react if you drive too fast.

    This is a 1920x1080 video cut down to 1280x720. The 1280x720 is what the drone operator sees on their iPad when flying. This cut also reduced the video size for 750 MB to 170 MB. The full 1920x1080 recorded on board the drone is incredible detail.

    This also shows how a drone could be useful in local area land Search and Rescue during the 5-ish months out of the year when there are no leaves on the trees. And in the snow, it gets even better. You can see tracks in the snow where someone drone a 4-wheeler, and you could see where someone walked. BTW, the integration of the location of responders on the ground as an overlay onto the video is my current software project. I already have the ability to show the drone location and show areas searched on a Google map working. My little tracking project that's gone on for 5 years now...

    Pete

    https://youtu.be/e69lV89i8SE
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    etcallhome's Avatar
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    That is very clear, Thanks for sharing.
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    Gene

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    Thanks Pete, that is one heck of a long driveway you got there.
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    JD-4100's Avatar
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    Really good video, eepete. Can you tell us more about the quadcopter and camera on-board? What would it cost me for a setup like that? What is the radio-control range, and if you lost radio contact, would the copter continue flying off into the sunset, lik emy radio-control model aircraft did? BTW, that only happened once, many years ago, and I found it by taking the J3 Cub up, and did a SAR of my own. Spotted it, and went back later, on foot, to retrieve. It went down in a cornfield.
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    Will

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    Yes what modle drone is it. I have been looking at a Mavic pro but cant justify the 12004. Will probaly go with the Autell
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    Corndog Hater ColonyPark's Avatar
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    Wow Pete, that is just awesome. What a beautiful place you have, and I love the hay bale arrangement. Thanks for posting
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    Jamie

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    eepete's Avatar
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    The drone is a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. I was about 800 feet away at an altitude of 120 feet initially, then I went up to 160. I have flown it out of range before, here's what happens:

    DJI has an app that runs on an iPad (called the DJI GO app). You program into the app what to do when the drone has loss of signal for too long (not sure what that is, but, probably in the 10 second range or so). I have it set to rise to 180 feet, then automatically return to home. The hand held controller with joystick also has a "Return to Home" button. In theory, it will even land it self where it took off. In practice, it gets within 20' or so of where you took of but it does know how to land. It has ultrasonic sensors for sensing ground position that work on most solid surface like cement, pavement or gravel but not so well in grass (but it does land, it must might tip over).
    The one time I lost it, I was at 120 feet. When it went up to 180 I regained control because as it rose up, there was less "stuff" in the way. In theory and specs, the range is 3 miles open air. In practice, it's probably closer to 2 miles open air. In the real world, about 1200 feet with normal trees with leaves on them. And of course, altitude changes how much stuff is in the way.

    This model is not available any more, so the model of choice from DJI is the Phantom 4 (P4). You can check it out at dji.com. I would not bother with the PRO version- it's main feature is a "better" camera but unless you're editing in 4K not worth it IMHO. But you can check out the website for yourself.

    When you are flying, you use the app to take either still pictures or video. You can start and stop whenever you want. The pictures are saved on a micro SD card on the drone in 4K resolution (if you have a 4K monitor on your computer, it is amazing....). Video is saved in a number of user selectable formats. For the regular P4, that can be 4K at 30P, or, full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60P. Note that full HD on a blue ray player is a max bitrate of 40 MBPS. On the P4, the max bitrate to the SD card is only 60 MBPS so some people have observed worse video in 4K than HD due to compression artifacts caused by the constrained bitrate. The P4 PRO records at 100 MBPS so it's better than the regular P4, but keep in mind to keep the same compression artifact issues as HD at Blue Ray bit rates you need 160 MBPS. Note also that flying the drone beats the daylights out of the compression stuff- you are panning and turning so the change from frame to frame is huge. As such, HD at 60 MBPS would look great. My P3 works at "just" 40 MPBS but it's amazing. I did have to by a new graphics card for my PC because the software just couldn't handle the continuous bitrates. I also added a solid state drive because sometimes even the disk access cause some stutter.

    When you fly, you see the video from the drone in real time on the iPad connected to the controller via USB. The video you see is 1280 x 720, even though the drone is recording on board at HD or 4K.

    So that was a bit geeky, but that's part of the fun. Look at the site an you can tell for yourself. You can get all this from Amazon, which I would pick over any of the other various vendors. You may want to consider a "package" deal so you get extra batteries. You'll also want a shoulder harness to hold the controller, a gimbal lock for when you transport the drone, a shield for the iPad and a short USB cable. If you like all that and want to hit the road with it there are cases and mobile chargers. You're probably looking at $1500 by the time you get done. Just like tractors, you can buy more do-dads and attachments than you can imagine.

    The Mavic Pro looks interesting and might be a better deal than the P4. In addition to all the video specs I talked about, it comes down to flight time (derate what they say by 25%) and top speed. I suspect the biggest real difference is the size of the screen. The Mavic has a small screen. Convenient but small. An iPad mini is a good compromise. I like the "regular" iPad Air 2 9.7" screen. It's a bit "floppy" in the holder, and the hood is a bit of a kludge, but I really like being able to see what's going on with the big screen. Note that some of the cases only hold the iPad mini, so if you use a full size iPad you'll need to carry that separately. You do need at least an iPad Air 2.

    The P4 also has "visual following" software that could follow your around on your tractor taking videos. Might add a whole new dimension to the:

    concept....

    Once I get all my software stuff working, I'll have to decide if I want to get the Matrice 100 with dual battery, Zenmuse XT mount, and FLIR VUE thermal imaging camera. That's $8K you don't want to spend until you've got everything working right, and until you can fly well enough you won't put the drone into a tree (been there, done that, have the video).

    So a good setup is big bucks. And whatever you do do not compute your "cost per hour" of flight time any more than you would ever compute your "cost per hour" of seat time.

    Hope that makes sense and either answers your questions or give you a web site to check out. Y'all need another hobby and way to spend $$s, right??

    If you saw my "house in snow" pix, here's the "house not in snow" pix. Enclosed pix also shows drones are great for "selfies" too... Note that the original "selfie" pix was a 4.2 MB 4K photo. But no one wants that kind of resolution on an ugly cuss like me.

    - pete
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails peteSelfieFeb2016.jpg   housePixSmall.jpg  
    Last edited by eepete; 01-10-2017 at 04:30 PM.
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    JD-4100's Avatar
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    Geeze Pete, wow, thanks for all that info. Problem is, I don't need another hobby to spend money on; there is not enough for the present 'hobbies' of boating, fishing, camping, and of course my dear John Deere.

    But I sure would like it if I did.

    Your place is really beautiful, as you no doubt agree. Thanks again for sharing the video, and for the scoop on the copter-cam.
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    Will

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    eepete's Avatar
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    Hay Bale Aret

    I got a little more ambitions with the hay bale art... here are some pix showing summer, fall and winter. And a "close up" of the art with the 4520 at center stage.

    Been off the site for a while, super busy with emergency responder software.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails faceGreenCloseup.jpg   faceGreenAll.jpg   fallViewsmall.JPG   winterViewSmall.JPG  
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    DRobinson's Avatar
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    Great pictures, Pete. I always enjoy seeing pictures of your place - very nice.
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