KNOWLEDGE BASE

Flare’s Detailed Live Coverage Maps

October 2016

The Flare ground control system (GCS) is Altavian’s fully-integrated, all-in-one system for flight planning, pre-flight checks, in-flight control, and live coverage maps. Flare works seamlessly with all Fusion payloads and both the Nova and Galaxy drones to generate valuable in-flight and post-flight tools. For example, Flare produces live coverage maps in real-time based on actual image captures. So, the coverage map is representative of current progress based on the actual information the drone’s collecting. Then, there’s a post-flight coverage map that visually reflects the number of photographs overlapping for each pixel of your coverage map. These coverage maps reflect Flare’s integration with the Fusion payload and its sheer processing power to generate valuable information as you work.

The Dynamic and Map Panels

Before we go in-depth about the live coverage maps, we’ll outline Flare’s user interface. Flare’s home screen features two panels you can interact with: the dynamic panel and the map panel. Visually, the dynamic and map panels are side-by-side. This gives you an overhead view of the target area on the map panel to aid in planning your flight.

The dynamic panel features three tabs: project planning, pre-flight, and flight. The first tab allows you to plot your coverage area and make specific flight adjustments for the type of drone you’re flying. Pre-flight takes you step-by-step with instructions for all system checks for your drone. The flight tab features your heads-up-display (HUD) and in flight commands.

Within the map panel, you can map out your target area so Flare can then automatically generate way points for your drone. Flare generates way points for each job you outline within the project. This is so not only can you begin work quickly, but so that you can also make adjustments on the fly during your job. Moving the HUD to the map panel enables you to open other tabs in the dynamic panel. From there, it is easy to create new jobs to add to your project for additional coverage.

Once your drone is in the air and its positional sensors are active, Flare and Fusion can begin to communicate to generate live coverage maps.

Flare and Fusion communicate generate live maps

Live Coverage Maps

Positional sensors are the key to the live coverage map. Flare tracks the area covered in relation to the overall target area. So, as the Fusion collects image data, it sends a message to the Flare GCS containing the drone’s positional information in relation to the overall area. By using the positional information, the physical camera specifications, and terrain altitude, Flare overlays the covered area on your map. When a new photo is reported, if its projection overlaps enough with the overall area, the intersection of the photo and the overall area is added to the covered area. Thus, you can be aware of problem areas in your data before you finish your flight. This greatly aids in producing quality photogrammetric data to process.

producing quality photogrammetric data

Flare also generates a more detailed coverage map after the drone completes the flight. The post-flight coverage map is overlaid on the maps as defined by the job’s boundary. For each pixel in the image, Flare checks its corresponding physical location against the photo projections. The pixel receives a color representation of the number of photos contained in that location. So, if the camera captures a sufficient number of photos, Flare colors the pixel green to indicate good coverage. If the camera captures insufficient data at a location, Flare shades the pixel towards red to indicate poor coverage. The color-based approach allows for far more detail in seeing how the actual images captured overlap to indicate coverage.

These powerful coverage maps are only possible through Flare’s integration with the Fusion payload. Real-time representations of the progress of your job is a powerful resource. An operator can use this information to ensure quality control before the flight is complete. You will save time and money you otherwise may have spent conducting more flights.

Conclusion

Altavian designed Flare ground control system to be intuitive and user-friendly without sacrificing function and versatility. The information your payload is collecting should be readily accessible to your GCS. Flare takes the positional sensor data, image captures, and overall area coverage to give you a real-time progress assessment. These unique, real-time coverage maps offer new insight to create better data for your clients. The all-in-one approach to flight planning, data quality assessment, and in-flight control are the hallmarks to the Flare GCS.

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