The Future of Drone Mapping with the DJI Phantom four RTK

Final week, DJI introduced its latest quadcopter for trade: the Phantom 4 RTK. This product marks a major funding by DJI in the future of aerial mapping, and we couldn’t be more excited concerning the impact it is going to have on our community of drone operators.

While DJI ceaselessly releases new drone models every year, the Phantom 4 RTK isn’t your common drone. It’s an enormous leap forward and can undoubtedly have a significant impact on aerial mapping for years to come. Why? The advent of a quadcopter with constructed-in RTK capabilities means highly accurate drone data is now accessible to anyone. And we’re joyful to announce that Phantom 4 RTK knowledge could be processed with DroneDeploy.

Till now, gathering highly accurate RTK drone data required a big hardware investment on your part. You either had to shell out upwards of $25,000 for a fixed-wing drone with built-in RTK, add an additional PPK kit to an existing drone in your fleet, or create a custom RTK quadcopter.

Now you can buy a drone that comes ready to supply survey-grade maps off the shelf at a 3X low cost to previous RTK systems. And it is suitable with the batteries and other accessories you already own along with your Phantom four or Phantom four Pro.

The Phantom four RTK produces high-resolution drone maps (whats up, 20MP sensor!) and 3D measurements which might be accurate within just a few centimeters — all with out utilizing ground control factors (GCPs). We were able to test the Phantom 4 RTK in advance of its launch, and our preliminary testing produced accurate measurements within 1–3 centimeters in X&Y, and 5 centimeters in Z.

Not only will you collect more precise data, but your map exports from DroneDeploy will align completely to BIM models and other software. And whenever you compare maps over time, or side-by-side, each map will line up for more efficient comparisons. Why? Because each photo location taken with the Phantom 4 RTK is effectively an aerial GCP. That’s a huge win for professionals comparing job site progress, crops, and even measuring mixture stockpile volumes.

Before the Phantom 4 RTK, in the event you needed to make use of an entire RTK mapping system out of the box, it required a fixed-wing aircraft. While these are nice for some industrial makes use of, they’re troublesome to maneuver and fly in urban and residential areas. If you want to inspect a building or take a quick survey of your site, you’d have been hard-pressed to do so safely with fixed-wing craft. With the Phantom 4 RTK you can take off, hover, and land on a busy construction site with ease, or inspect a roof in a residential neighborhood while avoiding trees and structures.