The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced (M2EA) series drone with its 640×512 resolution thermal camera and 9 mm lens can meet the data requirements quickly and efficiently. It is possible to collect 70% front lap and 20% side lap thermal and RGB imagery.
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced (M2EA)
Computer: Smart Controller
Flight Planning Software: DJI Pilot
Palette: White Hot
Photo Mode: DJI Radiometric JPEG
Flight Mission Planning Settings
There are two recommended flight planning workflows that can achieve successful solar data capture using the M2EA and DJI Pilot application. The mapping mission involves more work during the flight itself, whereas the waypoint mission involves more work during the flight planning process. The drone pilot should choose whichever workflow they feel more comfortable with
Flight passes (green lines) are created automatically with overlap and altitude inputs
Camera will automatically start taking pictures, the pilot does not have to start the intervalometer
Gimbal pitch does not lock so pilot will have to manually hold the gimbal in position throughout the flight
The drone changes its heading to face each upcoming waypoint so the pilot will have to manually pause the flight and correctly reorient the drone at the end of each solar row
The following video has step-by-step instructions for how to set up a **Mapping Mission** flight plan using with the DJI M2EA with DJI Pilot. Please note there is an error with overlap settings in the video. The correct settings are side overlap: 20% and frontal overlap: 70%.
Gimbal pitch and heading will stay constant throughout the flight so the pilot will only have to set this once, after the drone has reached its first waypoint
Pilot will have to manually tap on the screen to create each waypoint during flight creation
Overlap is not automatically calculated so the pilot will have to ensure they are hitting the 70% front and 20% side overlap manually
The pilot will have to manually start the photo collection process, it will not happen automatically
The pilot will also need to manually stop the photo collection process after the inspection is complete
The following video has step-by-step instructions of how to set up a Waypoint Mission flight plan using the DJI M2EA with DJI Pilot:
Note: Altitude is calculated from panels, not from the ground. Check local laws and regulations to determine the maximum allowable altitude.
For both IR and RGB inspection-level imagery sets, sensor heading must remain fixed throughout the flight. For example, if flying a fixed-tilt, ground mount site with panels facing south, the sensor should face North throughout the flight. Datasets where sensor heading alternates with each flight pass (sensor faces North one flight pass and South on the next flight pass) will warrant a reflight.
Prior to flying, check available irradiance using a meter. This video explains how.
Front Overlap Ratio: 70%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
File Format: RJPG
Note: Obliques / High flys are required as part of the flight. For information about how to correctly fly and take oblique images, please see Capturing Oblique Images.
The long edge of the solar row aligns with the long edge of the image.
The following animation is a great example of Standard-level imagery collected with a ground sampling distance (GSD) of 5.5 cm/pixel with good overlaps.