Pushing the limits while optimizing Speed/Altitude

Hey everyone,

I would like to open up a R3 PRO conversation and share results on making our flights as efficient as possible. Each use case will be different depending on the expected outcome of results. With that being said my next flight will include the following as a test.

  1. Application - General Topography
  2. Scan Height - 375 AGL
  3. Overlap - 35%
  4. Speed - 22mph
  5. Drone Model - M300
  6. Total Acreage - 567
  7. Estimated flight time - 37m 21s
  8. Type of vegetation - Raw / cleared land in SE TX

I have about 20,000 acres ahead of me to capture this year. My goal is to make these flights as clean as possible. They range anywhere from 50 acres to a couple thousand at a time.

To me these flights tie into every other item on the workflow that takes up most of our time. Everything from strategizing your GCP’s to pre and post processing. Additionally not only is time being saved but every battery hot swap avoided is me avoiding the risk of losing data.

Thankfully the Rock team has streamlined most of the process for us and continues to do so further. This part of flight efficiency I think the community can really work together on.

Thank you Alex for suggesting reaching out to the community!

I’ll comment an update and share my results along with any hurdles and how I overcame them in the next few days.

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This is awesome @jonathan.neal! I am very interested to hear everyone’s experience with different flight parameters! If we get traction on posts like this I’ll create a new section of the community to post these kind of trials!

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Small update, as a smaller sample test I captured a 56 acre plot of land at 375ft and 22 mph and then again at 33.5 mph. The biggest quality differences I found between these captures and my typical 180ft at 15mph or less was the surface smoothness and minimal side profiles of anything vertical. Overall the captures are still usable by my team for capturing the surface. If I wanted to show utility and other infrastructure better I would have to come down in altitude being that the height itself had more impact than speed from my tests.

My next capture will be 1047 acres again at 375ft for the sole purpose of capturing the surface. Keep in mind this is a freshly developed/cleared area with minimal trees and vegetation.

Something else that surprised me was RGB photos still turned out rather decent. We won’t personally be using RGB for visualization for this effort but if I was going to I would also want to fly lower for higher point density for the image overlay.

Very impressed overall.


The 1047 acre capture ended up being 1203 acres. 35% overlap 375ft and 33.5mph.

Overall it was a great success. We were able to capture the surface and slopes incredibly well even with those flight parameters. To sum it up our engineer confirmed the "existing elevation hard surface checks are within 0.1’ " and “I couldn’t have hoped for a better end result.” With that being said we were still able to maintain great accuracy for our use case. It helps when your engineers are familiar with point clouds.

Next week we will be capturing a couple thousand more acres with the same flight parameters. I will also be testing some new custom ground targets. My hopes are I can get even better visualizations of the ground targets with the right material.