RC, photos & tech


Aerial Mapping with a GoPro, APM 2.5 & FX-61

The Problem:

Google Map resolution isn't good enough.

The Solution:

Fit a downward facing GoPro camera to Phantom Fx-61 Flying wing, fly circuits with the GoPro taking still images photos every two seconds or so, post process in AgiSoft PhotoScan.

The advantage of creating a map stitched together from still photos as a 3D model means it can be rotated and viewed from any angle. The example below was created from a very quick flight and not even with a pre-programmed flight path. I mostly just flew manual circuits so credit due to the powerful software processing.



Aerial Map


Aerial Map from an angle


This image shows a zoomed in section of this map using Google Earth viewer. The low resolution makes it difficult to make out the details.

Google Earth sample



The same section but from the custom made map shows a lot more detail.

Custom Aerial Map zoomed in


The Equipment:

FX-61 Wing FX-61 Wing Internals

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Stitching Aerial Photos

My aim is to photograph a couple of acres of a farm and stitch all the photos together to make one large panoramic. The tutorial here goes a long way in getting started . I've seen a number of software packages online that will apparently do the job, some are free while some cost many thousands of dollars.

The first software package I'll try is the Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) freely available here;

The appealing aspect of this software is it's integration with PhotoSynth and ability to publish to the web.

Here's a quick sample made with photos from an iPhone.


New GoPro Mount for the DJI F450 Quad

I used the DJI F450 Quad and GoPro v1 to take some photos of a house under construction but found with the GoPro mounted flat on the front tab of the frame, most of the photos were angled too high and showed plenty of the roof of the house but not much more. Also the props were quite prominent in the photos and video. i needed something to angle the GoPro towards the ground but I didn't want to mount the GoPro hanging beneath the frame.

Easy solution, buy one of these . But I prefer to make things where I can so I bought some 3mm perspex from bunnings, cut a 7 x 4 cm square, heated it with a mini blowtorch for the bend and Bob's your uncle, a new GoPro mount.

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How to mount a GoPro to a DJI Naza F450

I'm not saying it's the best way, it's just how I do it and it seems to work well. Velcro on the bottom of the GoPro, velcro on the part of the F450 frame that sticks out the front then wrap a length of velcro around the entire camera. The "shutter" button can still be easily operated through the velcro. 

Simple, light and works. I used to use the protective case but what's the worst that could happen. If I write it off, I'd have to replace it with a new version 2 GoPro. Damn. 🙂


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GoPro Time Lapse Setup

The problem: I want to record still images for a few hours with my GoPro camera using the suction cup mount and waterproof case but the battery is flat and I have to start recording in the next five minutes.

The solution: Drill out the side of the waterproof case where the USB cable would normally plug in. Now with the camera mounted in the non-waterproof case, on the suction cup, I can plug in the external power source usin a nano-tech 2650mAh battery. I know you can the skeleton housing with the sides cut out but a) I need a solution now, b) the skeleton housing costs just as much as the waterproof housing and c) Most of the stuff I do doesn't need a waterproof housing anyway. 



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