The right drone mapping software turns your aircraft into an effective rapid-mapping solution. Let’s take a look at two popular mapping platforms—DroneDeploy and Pix4D.
Pix4D has a wide range of mapping applications. These include cloud services and a mapping app for mobile devices. For the sake of comparison, we are going over their drone application, Pix4Dcapture.
Pix4Dcapture is the drone mapping app that allows pilots to plan missions on supported Apple and Android devices. Users can select from five different mission profiles, four of which are autonomous. Each mission is fully customizable. Parameters including overlap percentage, payload angle, and drone speed can be set for the best results. Another important variable parameter is GSD or Ground Sample Distance. This metric will determine the amount of data captured and subsequent measurement accuracy.
After configuring the mission, the operator starts the mission and the aircraft begins to capture data autonomously. Flying a pattern determined by the mission profile, operators monitor the process live. After the mission, images are reviewed directly in the app before uploading them to Pix4Dcloud for processing. In Pix4Dcloud, users create 2D or 3D maps of construction progress, land plots, and disaster sites faster than traditional methods.
Pix4D Supported Drones
- Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro V2
- Phantom 3 Standard, Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 Pro
- Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro
- Inspire 1, Inspire 2
- Matrice 100, Matrice 200, Matrice 210, Matrice 210 RTK, Matrice 600
- Bebop 2
- ANAFI Thermal
- Disco Pro AG
While Pix4Dcapture is a free app, its software companion, Pix4Dmapper, is not. This photogrammetry software turns image data into usable 2D and 3D maps. In Pix4Dmapper, users are able to measure surface area, distance, and volume.
A subscription plan to Pix4Dmapper costs 350 USD a month. If you choose to be billed yearly, the cost drops down to 291.67 USD a month. This plan includes a license for two devices, unlimited processing, updates, and personal support.
The option also exists to make a one-time purchase of the software for 4990 USD. However, the license is limited to one device and updates for the first year.
DroneDeploy is a drone mapping software alternative to Pix4D. Like Pix4D, DroneDeploy utilizes drone sensors to autonomously create 3D maps. Mapping parameters are fully customizable and data uploads are automatic.
One unique element of their platform is Live Map. This is a real-time mapping feature built into the flight interface that doesn’t use pictures or require internet access. The Live Map feature also works with thermal data to create a large-scale thermal map.
Particularly useful for rapid assessments, Live Map drastically reduces the time needed for decision-making. No back-end processing means the information is available on the controller so users can better coordinate disaster relief efforts.
In addition to Live Map, DroneDeploy also provides cloud-based photogrammetry for specialized map creation. Capable of handling up to 10,000 photographs in a single mission, the platform promises powerful processing and fast turn-around times.
Collaboration is integral to DroneDeploy. You can view maps on any type of device for ultimate flexibility. Collaborators add comments, annotations, and measurements so everyone is aware of mission progression.
DroneDeploy Supported Drones
- Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Enterprise, Mavic 2 Enterprise Zoom, Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual
- Phantom 4 Pro V1, Phantom 4 Pro V2/
- Phantom Pro
- Matrice 100, Matrice 200, Matrice 210, Matrice 210 RTK, Matrice 300 RTK, Matrice 600
- One X
- One X2
Whereas Pix4D prices their applications individually, DroneDeploy prices according to mission scale. Here is a DroneDeploy package breakdown:
Lite: 149 USD per month / 99 USD per month, if billed annually
- 1,000 image upload limit per map
- 1 admin user
- Email support
- Live Map – RGB only
- Measurements – 2D Maps only
- Elevation Maps – Digital Surface Model only
- Progress Report – Maps and photos in a mission report
- Share & Export Maps
Individual: 499 USD per month / 299 USD per month, if billed annually
- All Lite features plus:
- 1 full user access
- 3,000 image upload per map
- Unlimited mapping, videos, panoramas
- Live Map – RGB and Plant Health view
- Ground Control Points
- Measurements – 2D & 3D Maps
- Overlays – 2D Overlays on current maps
- Side-by Side comparison
Teams: Request Quote
- All Individual features plus:
- 10,000 image upload per map
- Live Map – RGB, Plant Health, Thermal
- Vertical Flight – Conduct vertical inspections
- Radiometric Thermal Processing
Enterprise: Request Quote
- All Teams features plus:
- Drone Live Stream – live stream video via link
- Pilot certification management
- Equipment management
- API & SDK access for custom integrations
As you can tell, both DroneDeploy and Pix4D provide similar capabilities. Choosing one over the other will come down to the scale of your operation and budget. While the entry-level is lower with DroneDeploy, it is limited in options. Pix4D, on the other hand, offers the whole package at a lower price. However, there is no Live Map equivalent, which you may need.
Taking time to consider needs and budget is important for making the right choice. One platform will cater to your operations better than the other. Either way, Pix4D, and DroneDeploy will elevate your mission capabilities with their turn-key mapping solutions.
FLYMOTION does work more with Pix4D than DroneDeploy and our mapping specialists can guide you in the proper direction regarding your agency’s needs. We can also consult on 2D fast-mapping software from Pix4D known as Pix4Dreact. Contact us to inquire for more information!