The DJI Mavic 3 Thermal (M3T) utilizes a 640×512 radiometric camera with a 9.1mm lens, plus a wide and zoom RGB camera which can meet the data requirements quickly and efficiently. It is possible to collect 70% front lap and 20% side lap thermal and RGB imagery.
As an added bonus, the M3T is equipped with a 0.7 second camera interval compared to the standard of 2.0 seconds for previous DJI thermal equipped models. This enables solar inspections to be completed 2 to 3 times faster than other drones including the M2EA, M300, and M30T.
DJI has collaborated with Raptor Maps to create a solar inspection specific setting called “Custom Camera Angle” for Mapping Mode. More information below!
Drone: DJI Mavic 3 Thermal (M3T)
Computer: DJI RC Pro Enterprise
Flight Planning Software: DJI Pilot 2
The M3T has a new addition that allows for a consistent aircraft heading and a custom camera tilt throughout the entire inspection.
To use this new feature, open DJI Pilot 2, create a Mapping Mission, and enter the usual settings for the inspection such as altitude, flight speed, and overlap on the first settings page. Then enter the Advanced settings page and scroll to the very bottom to find the new Custom Camera Angle button:
After enabling this feature, two additional options will appear – Aircraft Rotate and Gimbal Pitch Rotation.
This option is used to select a consistent aircraft heading throughout the mission. There are two settings:
“Along the Route” is the default option and forces the aircraft to turn toward the next waypoint repeatedly, resulting in an incorrect flight pattern for Raptor Maps inspections.
“Defined” is an alternative option that allows you to choose the direction the aircraft faces for the entire mission. Dragging and holding the slider will make a small green plane icon appear in the mission area facing the selected direction with North being 0, East being 90, South being 180, and West being 270. This is the preferred option.
Ensure that the defined aircraft heading allows the camera to look into the face of the panels and not the edges. Sites with solar panels on trackers will require an aircraft heading change of 180* at solar noon.
Gimbal Pitch Rotation
This option is used to select a consistent camera tilt angle throughout the flight. -90 is straight down and 0 is straight forward.
“Manual” is the default option and will allow for manual camera tilt control via the controller. The flight planning software will act as normal and will not move the flight plan to accommodate the change in camera tilt.
“Defined” is an alternative option which will set the camera tilt at a selected angle. DJI Pilot 2 will automatically move the flight lines of the mission to ensure that the camera captures everything inside the blue area drawn. This is the preferred option.
0.7 Second Camera Interval
The M3T’s integrated camera is capable of taking both RGB and IR images every 0.7s. To ensure that the aircraft is utilizing this feature, ensure that the Photo Mode is set to “Timed Interval Shot” and not “Distance Interval Shot”.
Wide and Zoom Cameras
Unlike previous models with multiple cameras, the Mavic 3 Thermal can only capture one RGB image type at a time. If the Wide camera is currently on the screen, the camera will capture Wide imagery. If the Zoom camera is currently on the screen, the camera will capture Zoom imagery.
For Raptor Maps inspections, ensure that the IR and Wide imagery is captured.
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.
Front Overlap Ratio: 70%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
File Format: JPEG
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.