DJI Ground Station Pro For iPad
Using the remote is admittedly the most fun way to use your drone. But, if you are doing precision work, you probably need to use waypoints. If you are using a DJI drone and an iPad, you should consider the new Ground Station Pro app.
It works with most modern aircraft, Phantom 3 and 4, Inspire 1 and 2, Mavic, M600 and other A3 and N3 drones. You can watch our in-depth video review here:
According to DJI, the application is designed for commercial and industrial use. It brings 3 main functionalities:
Select the area where the drone is allowed to fly. GS Pro will alert you if the drone comes close to the borders and will stop it from leaving this area.
Flying in this mode also puts the drone in “Joystick” flight mode, which aggressively minimizes the drift that happens when you let go of the sticks and the aircraft still has some momentum. This makes the flight more precise since the aircraft only moves when the user requests it via stick movement when you let go of the sticks, the drone stops as quickly as possible.
One question that remains unclear to us is how you can use this while taking images or video since there are no controls and the video feed display is quite small.
Waypoint flight lets the user specify several coordinates, and create a path for the drone to follow. It’s possible to specify settings for each waypoint (altitude, gimbal pitch, drone orientation, etc.) and also to specify actions to perform at each waypoint (start recording, stop recording take a picture, hover, etc.)
When the flight is finished, you can decide what the drone does: hover, return to home or land. Since the takeoff and landing points can be different, you could use this waypoint mode to transport objects with your aircraft.
Also, since it’s possible to record video and to orient both gimbal and drone, it can be useful for these difficult shots that you just can’t take manually.
3D Scan Area
Another important use of waypoint flying is photogrammetry. When flying surveying missions, knowing which area is covered and maintaining a proper overlap is important. That’s why GPS based flights are so useful for this task.
Ground Station Pro offers a 3D Scan mode, that lets you specify an area to map as well as several parameters such as height, speed, and overlap.
Unlike other apps, the area doesn’t need to be a rectangle. You can specify a complex polygon and GS Pro will create the flight path for you and take the pictures at the appropriate distances. If you are an advanced user, you can also customize front and side overlap, gimbal pitch and other parameters.
Look And Feel
During the Ground Station Pro review I’ve noticed that even though this is the first version, the app looks polished and responsive. The user is always informed of the drones’ status and can take action quickly, either using the pause button or switching flight modes on the remote controller.
We tested the app on a Phantom 4 Pro, which is listed as “Coming soon” in the compatibility list for the app. The flying worked, but the pictures and videos were out of focus.
After this Ground Station Pro review, we think that it is a welcome addition to the DJI apps ecosystem. Where other apps focus on getting a particular task done (Recording videos, Taking 360 Photos, Flying a scan pattern, etc.) GS Pro focuses on extracting the most functionality from DJI drones and does the job well.
Advanced users might be missing some features, especially on high-end drones like the M600, but for the mainstream and prosumer level user, the app is worth experimenting with.
Thanks for reading!