Pro Tips

Camera Settings

Efficiency Tips

Choose a survey flight path angle that minimizes the number of turns (or in other words, think about maximizing long, straight flight paths). For example, if surveying a complex next to a road that runs at a 30-degree angle, rotating the survey lines to match may reduce the maneuvering Astro has to do and will result in shorter missions and better pictures.

Rotate the survey entry/exit points to start and end at logical places. It is usually more efficient and safe to start at the furthest point from your takeoff location, as your mission will likely end closer to the home point when battery levels are most critical.

Use overlap and sidelap settings suitable for your processing software and output type. AMC's defaults (70%) are reasonable starting places, but reducing these values can allow faster flight and more area coverage. Lower front overlaps will allow Astro to fly faster in a mission, but be sure the value is acceptable for whichever processing software is in use.

Tips for Large Projects

Astro + LR1 can cover areas greater than 1 km^2 (240 acres) in a single flight at 2cm GSD. Some tips for flying these types of missions:

  • Uncheck the "refly at 90°" option at the bottom of the Survey settings while planning a mission. This will cause Astro to only fly over the ground in single-direction passes as opposed to a cross-hatch pattern.

  • If possible, fly from the center of a large survey to reduce the distance between the remote controller and Astro. The maximum telemetry distance is shown in AMC during mission planning if you're at the takeoff location. Being able to have a line of sight to the vehicle at all parts of the survey is important for safety as well as maintaining a solid data link.

  • A "typical" large area survey might have the following parameters: 12m/s speed, 120m altitude, 70% front overlap, 65% side overlap, and the gimbal angle pointing down (90°).

  • Astro defaults to limiting the distance between waypoints to 900m. This is intended as a safety check to ensure that an accidental waypoint doesn't send the drone out of range to an unintended location. However, this may limit the length of a reasonable survey in some edge cases. This value can be increased by changing the parameter MIS_DIST_WPS. Do not set it larger than necessary to maintain the safety benefit.

Tips for Small Projects

Smaller areas can be covered the same as a large project, but usually higher detail is desired. In these cases, a crosshatch pattern can be used with gimbal pitch to get better detail on the sides of vertical objects. This gives better 3D reconstructions.

  • Check the "refly at 90°" option at the bottom of the Survey settings while planning a mission.

  • Set the gimbal angle to around 70 degrees to get better imagery on the sides of objects.

  • Fly lower (60m or less) depending on the situation. Lower altitude will result in higher-density photos; just make sure that safety is the highest priority and that no obstacles intersect with your flight path.

  • Make sure to fly well beyond the boundaries of the object being surveyed when the gimbal is tilted to ensure that it can be seen from all sides.

  • Generally speaking, slower flights will provide more accurate results.

Aircraft Battery Changes

The aircraft can hotswap batteries to allow for the continuation of a mission that requires more than one flight. To hotswap, do the following:

  1. Disconnect one of the discharged flight batteries from Astro.

  2. Replace the removed battery with a fully charged pack.

  3. Press the power button on the battery twice and ensure it turns on and says "hotswap" on the new battery's LCD screen.

  4. Disconnect the second discharged battery.

  5. Replace the second removed battery with a second fully charged pack.

  6. Power on the second battery the same way, and ensure both are powered up.

  7. Continue mission after the post-processing for the previous flight has been completed and there is no longer a progress bar on the remote controller.

AMC on a computer

It's possible to plan missions and monitor flights from AMC on a computer or tablet. Here's the procedure to connect another device to the remote controller.

Camera Calibration Parameters

This is a set of example calibration values for the Sony ILX-LR1 with Sigma 24 mm lens, which can be used for photogrammetry initial conditions. Each lens is slightly different, but these values are good initial values if the software in use can't solve them directly.


Focal Length (mm)


Principle Point X (pixels)


Principle Point Y (pixels)












Last updated