DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced Flight Guidelines

Flight guidelines for inspecting solar farms with a DJI Mavic Enterprise Advanced.

 

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.

 

Equipment

Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced (M2EA)
Camera: Installed
Computer: Smart Controller
Flight Planning Software: DJI Pilot

 

Camera Settings

Palette: White Hot
Magnification: 1x
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

 

Mapping Mission:
Pros:
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

Cons:
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%.

 

Waypoint Mission:
Pros:
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

Cons:
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.

Type of Inspection

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

Raptor Overview

Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages
Module
15.0 ± 5.0 cm/pixel
30 mph
369 ± 123 ft (112.5 ± 37.5 m)

Raptor Standard

Ideal for annual preventative maintenance
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
5.5 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
12 mph
135 ± 12 ft (41.0 ± 3.5 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
74 ± 12 ft (22.5 ± 3.5 m)

Sensor Heading

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.

This video shows you how to maintain sensor heading throughout flight, using the M2EA:

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

 

Image Capture

Front Overlap Ratio: 70%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
File Format: RJPG

 

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.

 

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 good overlaps.