This article describes ArduPilot’s camera and gimbal commands, andexplains how these can be used in Mission Planner to define camerasurvey missions. These instructions assume a camera trigger and gimbal have already been connected and configured.
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Planning a camera mission is almost exactly the same as planning any other mission with waypoints and events. Theonly difference is that in a camera mission you specify commands totrigger the camera shutter at waypoints or at regular intervals as thevehicle moves. If the camera is mounted on a gimbal, you can also setthe gimbal orientation, or make it track a particular point of interest.
For simple missions you can manually specify the required waypoints andcamera commands. For more complex paths and grid surveys Mission Plannermakes things easy by providing tools to automatically generating therequired mission for arbitrary regions.
DO_SET_CAM_TRIGG_DIST— Trigger the camera shutter at regularintervals. This is most commonly used for supporting area surveys.
DO_DIGICAM_CONTROL— Trigger the camera shutter once every timethis command is called.
Camera gimbal commands¶
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If a camera gimbal is used, you can set the camera position (yaw, tilt,roll) or aim it at a specific region of interest (ROI):
DO_SET_ROI— Target the camera towards a specified region ofinterest (position, including altitude).
DO_MOUNT_CONTROL— Position the gimbal with the specified roll,pitch and yaw.
Servo and Relay commands¶
Servos and relay outputs can be connected to hardware and activatedduring missions using the
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One possible use for these outputs is to control camera features otherthan the shutter (for example, to set the zoom level or switch capturefrom still to video).
The method used to connect your servo or relay to the camera, andwhat features are accessible, will depend the camera and its supportedremote-control mechanism(s) (see the Camera Control and GeoTagging section of the Cameras and Gimbals wiki page)
Mission Planner supports the following Auto Waypoint options. Toaccess these open the Flight Plan screen, right-click on the map andselect the option from under the Auto WP menu:
- Create WP Circle — Create a circle of waypoints.
- Area — Displays the area of the current polygon (if defined).
- Create Spline Circle — A circle where the altitude of waypointsfollows a rising spline (relevant to flying vehicles).
- Survey (Grid) — Automatically create waypoints and camera controlcommands to survey a specified polygon.
- Survey (Gridv2) — Under construction! This is a simpler gridcontrol for creating a rectangular survey area.
- SimpleGrid — A simple auto-created survey grid. No camera controlis defined, so this must be added separately.
Off Grid Surveillance System
The following sections include community-provided examples of automaticsurvey missions.
Survey (Grid) Example¶
Mission Planner’s Survey (Grid) option automatically defines thewaypoints required to cover an arbitrary polygon, and sets
DO_SET_CAM_TRIGG_DIST on relevant waypoints to ensure that picturesare captured at regular intervals in the vehicle’s path.
Open the Flight Plan tab
Right click on the map, and select Draw Polygon Add PolyGonPoint. Create points surrounding the area to be photographed.
Right click on the map and select Auto WP Survey(Grid):
Mission Planner will then display a configuration screen where youcan define the camera make/model and other parameters including tehoverlap you want between pictures, lens size, etc.
DO_SET_CAM_TRIGG_DISTis automatically calculated based on thisinformation!
After clicking on Accept, Mission Planner will generate a list ofwaypoints covering the specified area, and including take-off andlanding waypoints. The
DO_SET_CAM_TRIGG_DIST command is called toset the distance in meters between two camera triggers during yourmission. At the end of the mission
DO_SET_CAM_TRIGG_DIST is calledagain to set the parameter back to zero (stops capturing images).
The final mission with waypoints and camera triggers looks like this:
The test mission shown above was run. It generated 15 images, which havebeen stitched together. A thumbnail of the composite image is shownbelow (because the full size image is too large at about 107 MBytes).
Camera Grid Iphone
Creating composite images¶
There are a number of good free and paid tools for creating compositeimages:
Camera Grid On Iphone
- Pix4Dmapper - The free “discovery”version supports image merging.