DJI M200 with Zenmuse XT2 Flight Guidelines

Flight guidelines for inspecting solar farms with a DJI M200 series drone with FLIR Zenmuse XT2.

 

 

The DJI M200 series drone with a Zenmuse XT2 with 640×512 resolution and 13 mm or 19 mm lens can meet the data requirements quickly and efficiently. When used with DJI Ground Station Pro it is possible to automatically collect 70% front lap and 20% side lap thermal and RGB imagery.

 

Equipment

Drone: DJI M200 series (M200 or M210)
Camera: DJI FLIR Zenmuse XT2
Computer: iOS device (iPad)
Flight Planning Software: DJI Ground Station Pro, DJI XT Pro

 

Camera Settings

Camera Model: Zenmuse XT 13mm
Palette: White Hot
Magnification: 1x
MSX Mode: Strength=Off
Photo Mode: Radiometric JPEG

Flight Mission Planning Settings

Basic:

Shooting Angle: Perpendicular to MainPath
Capture Mode: Capture at Equal Time Interval
Flight Control Mode: Inside Mode
Speed: Set shutter interval to 2.0 SEC
Height: See table below

 

Obliques

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.

 

Type of Inspection

Description
Smallest Visible Features
Ground Sample Distance
Maximum Speed
Altitude with 9mm lens
Altitude with 13mm lens
Altitude with 19mm lens

Raptor Overview

Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages
Module
15.0 ± 5.0 cm/pixel
30 mph
229 ± 76 ft (70.0 ± 23.5 m)
380 ± 126 ft (116 ± 38.5 m)
549 ± 183 ft (167.5 ± 56 m)

Raptor Standard

Ideal for annual preventative maintenance
Module
5.5 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
12 mph
84 ± 8 ft (25.5 ± 2.5 m)
140 ± 12 ft (42.5 ± 3.5 m)
201 ± 18 ft (61.5 ± 5.5 m)

Raptor Comprehensive

IEC TS 62446-3 thermography standards for Absolute Temperature Accuracy
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
3.0 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
7 mph
46 ± 8 ft (14.0 ± 2.5 m)
76 ± 12 ft (23 ± 3.5 m)
110 ± 18 ft (33.5 ± 5.5 m)

Note: Altitude is calculated from panels, not from ground. Check local laws and regulations to determine maximum allowable altitude.

Advanced:
Front Overlap Ratio: 80%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
Course Angle: Parallel with solar row angle
Margin: 0.0 ft (margin should be provided in drawing the flight polygon)

Video

The following video has step-by-step instructions of how to set up a flight plan using GS Pro.

Refer to this document to review the settings Eddie recommends:

Prior to flying, check available irradiance using a meter. This video explains how.

Data Example

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 80% frontlap and 20% sidelap. As you can see about 4-5 solar rows are visible in the imagery. This imagery was collected with a DJI Zenmuse XT2 camera with a 13 mm lens at a flight altitude of approximately 130 feet above ground level.