Uploading Drone Data to Skycatch for Processing

After you’ve completed your drone data capture missions, it’s time to upload for processing. Once you submit your upload, the proprietary Skycatch data engine will automatically process your data into high-resolution 2D and 3D outputs.  

Before you start the uploading process, we recommend reviewing this pre-upload checklist to ensure optimal results:

Pre-Upload Checklist

  • Verify that your images are geotagged.
    Non-geotagged photos are not supported for processing since photos cannot be accurately processed without geotags.
  • Use the latest version of the Google Chrome browser.
    While the web uploader is compatible with any web browser (Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.), we recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome. You can check if you have the latest version
  • Use a stable internet or WiFi connection.
    A poor connection can interfere with or stop the upload process.
  • Disable the sleep mode or power save mode on your computer.
    Entering a power-saving or sleep mode will disrupt your internet connection and, consequently, your upload.

Once you’ve completed the quick pre-upload checklist listed above, you’ll be able to upload your data for processing by following these simple steps:

  1. Upload Mission Folder
  2. Select Site
  3. Add Precision Files & Run Validation (if applicable)
  4. Set Output Quality
  5. Add Control points
  6. Upload for Processing

Log into your Skycatch DataHub account and click the ADD DATASET button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to go to the new uploading features. If ADD DATASET is not available, we recommend you log out of your account, perform a hard refresh of your browser to clear the cache and log back in.

For a tutorial on uploading Phantom 4 RTK datasets to Data Hub, go here

Step 1. Upload Mission Folder

Drag and drop the entire mission folder containing the images and observation logs to the box.


Images will be validated while they are added to your upload.


Any unsupported files will automatically be deleted and will not be included in the data upload.

Note: If validation fails, please double-check that your images meet the following conditions:

  1. All images should be in a JPG format
  2. All images should be geotagged
  3. All images should be at least 50 KB in size

The images will be displayed in a preview layout where you can view each photo position overlayed on a satellite map for reference:


Click on Photos added in the left corner of the display to view more details such as image resolution, drone altitude, and number of acres covered.


Each white dot on the satellite map represents one photo. You can click on a white dot to preview the actual photo, file name, and coordinates on the screen.


To delete a photo from the dataset, click on the trash can icon in the bottom right corner of the coordinates of the image. 

Step 2. Set your Site

To use an existing site: If you have existing sites on your account, you can select a site from a dropdown list by clicking on the downward facing arrow. 


You can select a site by scrolling through the list or by typing it in the search bar.


To create a new site: Click Create new site under the Location section to enter new site information for your upload.


Click Edit site info to edit site name and coordinate system.


Step 3. Add Precision Data

If the high accuracy mode toggle is blue, your PPK files have been successfully uploaded and you can proceed to upload your base observations.


If your PPK files were not included or not the correct file type in the mission folder in step 1 of the upload process, the high accuracy mode will be grey and the accuracy preview will be low.

You can manually upload your PPK files by clicking the high accuracy mode toggle.


You can learn more about RTK files here. Your RTK files must also be accompanied by base observations, either by using a network RTK provider set up in the Skycatch NTRIP logger or by using a local base station. 

To upload drone log files: click Edit next to Drone log.


Drag and drop the RTK file and wait until it has uploaded. Once you see the blue check mark next to the file, click the green DONE button.


Base Observations

To input your base log: click the Select source of base log dropdown arrow and select Local base station or NTRIP.


Uploading data with observations from a local base station

You can upload observations collected from a local base station to generate high accuracy outputs. You will need the RINEX file and the base station antenna position from the local base station at the time the observations were collected.

  1. Click Select files under Base Station Log to add your local base (RINEX) file. Supported file extensions are currently .obs, .18o or .19o.
    You can learn more about RINEX files here.
  2. Drag and drop the base station logs then click DONE.
    Please note that you can only upload one RINEX file per upload and the observations from your RINEX file must span the entirety of all flights in your upload. image18.png
  3. Enter the location of the base station phase center. Click Add position and enter the details of your base station antenna position.
    More information on how to get your base station location can be found here.
    1. Base station - choose the model base station you are using. This will automatically add the phase center height and add it to the pole height. If you do not see your model, please select “Custom base station” from the drop-down and manually enter in the phase center height.
    2. Pole height - the height of the pole that the base station is mounted on
    3. Units - the unit of measurement your dataset is in
    4. Coordinate system - the coordinate system used to measure the location of the base station antenna height. You can select from either:
      1. WGS 84 / UTM Zone 10N - submitted in Easting, Northing, Height
      2. WGS84 - submitted in Latitude, Longitude, Height above the ellipsoid in meters image2__2_.png
  4. Once all information has been entered, click DONE (button will turn green when ready).

Uploading data with observations collected via the NTRIP logger

Network RTK observations must be previously collected using the Skycatch NTRIP logger following the instructions here. Only the photos and drone logs from the Explore1 are required in your upload, the observations collected via the NTRIP logger will already be available in the cloud.


Validation Check

Run the validation check by clicking on Check validity of precision files” to validate your files. If this button is gray, please review your precision files and verify they have all been added and are the correct format. The PPK validation process may take about 1 to 5 minutes depending on the data.


If you receive an error message in the validation check, please review this support center article to ensure all the criteria are met and retry the upload.

Step 4. Set Orthophoto Resolution (GSD)

During the early access period your orthophoto resolution (GSD) will be automatically set to medium which is a 5 cm/px resolution (low and high GSD options are coming soon).

You can see your estimated time to data at the bottom of the screen.




Follow these instructions to collect your RTK files with an NTRIP logger:

Follow these instructions here. Note that with the NTRIP logger you only need to upload the RTK files (no observation logs are required). Once you’ve downloaded the rtk.ubx or .sbp files from your drone, you can drag and drop them into the section below. Be sure to add one rtk.ubx file for each flight.

Follow these instructions to add precision files from a local base station

  a. Add a RINEX file formatted in any of the following file extensions: .obs, .17o, or .18o. You can learn more about RINEX files here. Please note that you can only upload one RINEX file per upload, so the observations from one file must span the entirety of all flights in the dataset.

  b. Enter the location of the base station phase center. You can learn more about how to find the location of the base station phase center here.

Note: You can enter the position of the base station with either the coordinate system you chose in “Step 2. Select Site”, or you can enter the location using a GPS position (lat/lng).

Note: The elevation value of the base station should take into account the elevation of the ground in the surveyed point + the height from ground to antenna phase center. For example, if the elevation was 22.387m in site coordinate system and the height to antenna phase center is 2.618m, you should enter 25.005m as the height.

3. Once you have entered in your precision files and clicked “Next”, our system will validate the images and log files. This process should take about 1-3 minutes. Please do not close this window, or you will need to start over.


Once the validation is completed and is successful, click the green CONTINUE TO NEXT STEP button to continue to step 5 - reviewing your photos.


If you receive the following error during the upload process, please review this support center article to ensure all the criteria are met and retry upload.

Step 5. Mark GCPs + Checkpoints (if applicable)

Note: If you are not adding any control points, please skip this step and proceed to step 6 to start processing.

There are two types of control points: GCPs and checkpoints. Checkpoints are currently only used for verification purposes if the user reports an issue with the accuracy of their dataset. You will not automatically receive an accuracy report if you choose to upload checkpoints with a dataset.

To Add Control Points, please follow the steps in these articles and in order from 1-3:

  1. Control Points File Format for Data Processing
  2. How to Upload Control Points
  3. How to Manually Mark Control Points


Step 6. Upload for Processing

Once you’ve reviewed your upload and ready to start processing your data, click the blue Start process button to initiate the upload and submit your data for processing. You will see a status bar in the top right-hand corner of your screen indicating the progress of your upload.


NOTE: Please keep your browser window open, disable any power saving or sleep modes on your computer, and ensure that it has a constant internet connection. If the network connection is interrupted for any reason, your upload will stop and will not be completed until a network connection is re-established.

The white dots on the satellite map will start to turn green as each photo is uploaded.


Check the status of your upload by hovering your mouse on the UPLOAD IN PROGRESS message to see the percentage of upload in progress.

If you would like to pause your upload for any reason while it is in progress, click Pause in the bottom right corner of the status bar. This will pause your upload and you can resume it at any time within the next 18 hours by clicking Resume.

It is recommended to pause the upload process if you encounter any of the following:

  1. Poor internet connection
  2. Low computer battery


Once the upload has been completed, the status will change from UPLOAD IN PROGRESS to PROCESSING IN PROGRESS. The site name and date and time the upload was started will be displayed, as well as the processing stage your data is in.


To upload another dataset while your processing job is in progress, click Add Another DatasetYou will be able to check the status of all of the processing jobs in your queue in the same progress bar.

You will receive two emails as your dataset completes the two stages of processing. One notification will be sent when the processed 2D orthomap is available in the viewer and another will be sent when your data products have been uploaded to your account and available for download.

For any questions or assistance in uploading, please contact Skycatch Support by clicking Help in the upper right hand corner of your screen and choosing from the three available support options.

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