How To: Fly a High Accuracy Mission with Explore1 and Edge1

Follow these steps to fly a high accuracy mission with Explore1 and Edge1: 

  1. Setting up Edge1 Base Station for GPS Data Logging
  2. Pre-Flight Checklist
  3. Taking Off
  4. Fly the Mission
  5. Complete a Mission
  6. Manage Missions in Flight1 App 

1. Setting up Edge1 Base Station for GPS Data Logging

The Edge1 base station can be used to log GPS correction data from your drone during the flight. This data is merged with your images to create high-accuracy geotagged images during data processing. Here are the steps for setting up Edge1 for GPS Data Logging:

  1. Purchase a surveying stand to attach the Edge1 base station to a steady surface. The stand should accommodate a bolt attachment with a ⅝ inch thread. 
  2. To power on Edge1, tap on the power button once, and then immediately press and hold the power button for 4 seconds. After you let go, the white light around the power button should not be flashing.
  3. On the iPad, open settings and navigate to wifi settings. Connect to the Edge1 base station wifi.
  4. Open the Edge1 app on the iPad and select your Edge1 from the list of available Edge1s.
  5. Add an RTK account by tapping on “Settings” and then tapping Add New.
  6. At this time, you can input Alias, Host, Port, Mount, and User information. Then, tap Save Account. Be sure to contact a network RTK provider well in advance of your first mission to get set up.
  7. Click on Base Station to return to the main page. At this point, you can choose to log GPS data through your Network RTK account, or manually input the base stations coordinates for logging.
  8. Toggle the PPK Control section switch to “ON” to begin logging your data with your RTK Network. It is very important to make sure that your Edge1 base station does not move from its position, from this point onwards. As the logging starts initializing, the LED light on the Edge1 will first flash white, and when the white flashing light turns to green, this means the signal is starting to get stronger. The Edge1 app will display the following screen. 
  9. Edge1 provides three indications to let you know when it has good GNSS fix and you can proceed with flying:
    • Edge1’s LED light starts flashing green
    • The PPK Control on the Edge1 app displays Logging
    • The Positioning Status reads Fix

When these are achieved, you may proceed with flying a PPK mission.

2. Pre-Flight Checklist

After creating a mission plan, you’re ready to fly. (You can learn more about creating a mission plan in our support article "How To: Plan an Explore1 Mapping Mission with Flight1".) Follow these steps to launch the mission:

  • Place your drone on a flat surface and stand at least 20-30 feet away from the drone.
  • Tap Ready to Fly. There are a few checks to go through in the pre-flight checklist before executing the take off. Once all preflight checks are completed, the Take Off button will be enabled, in green, and can be tapped. These checks include:  
    • Check that the Explore1 drone is communicating with the Flight1 app. If you connect your mobile interface to the remote controller via the USB cable provided in the travel kit, this should be automatically calibrated. Calibration is indicated by green flashing lights, like in the screenshot below.
    • Check that the Skycatch camera is recognized by the Flight1 app. If you have added a gimbal camera, check that the model is correct.  The Skycatch camera being recognized by the Flight1 app is demonstrated by all green lights on mission drawer screen.
    • Choose the RTK network that you will fly your mission with. Note that you must do this for both the Flight1 app and Edge1 base station app.
    • You can see the strength of the GPS and PPK signal by looking at the top of your mission drawer. While you can still fly your mission if the GPS signal and PPK signal are weak, we recommend trying to find a different starting position where the GPS and PPK signal statuses are displayed as “Very Good”.
    • Check that you have a fully charged battery in your drone. If your mission requires multiple flights and batteries to complete, be sure to have those fully charged and ready to go.
    • The remote controller’s Flight Mode should be set to F, which means you do not need to manually control the sticks during the flight.
    • Try to have a newly formatted microSD card before each mission. If you expect your mission to exceed 1000 photos, or 32GB, have extra microSD cards ready, or a computer that you can easily transfer photos to before resuming your mission.

Once you’ve completed all items on the pre-flight checklist, you should see all green check marks like in the screenshot below. 

3. Taking Off

When all Preflight Checks are complete and the Take Off button is green, ensure the area around and above the drone is clear and tap Take Off when you are ready. At that point, Flight1 will upload the waypoints to the Explore1 and the drone will commence takeoff. Explore1 will climb directly up to the mission altitude, then turn and proceed towards the first waypoint. 

4. Fly the Mission

During the mission, the drone will return to home and automatically land when the battery life reaches 25%. Once you’ve swapped the battery and put in a new fully charged battery, you can tap Resume Mission. The drone will fly back to point in the mission where it left off, and finish flying.

5. Complete a Mission

Once the mission route is complete, the Explore1 drone will automatically return to home. Follow these steps to complete the mission.

  1. Once the Explore1 drone has landed, turn off the drone by tapping once on the battery's power button, and then pressing and holding the power button. All the lights on the battery should turn off. 
  2. Turn off the Edge1 base station's GPS data logging by toggling the PPK Control switch to OFF in the Edge1 app. Make sure the Edge1 base station is not moved from its position until the GPS data logging is stopped. 
    • Note: If you're still using the Edge1 GPS data logging for other flights or drones, make sure you turn off the data logging before processing your data.
  3. The Flight1 app displays the following statistics for the mission. Tap Complete Mission to save and close the mission. The mission can now be exported, deleted, or reflown.

6. Manage Missions in Flight1 App

There are a few ways to manage the missions saved in the Flight1 App:

  1. Begin processing the dataset from your mission in the field with our Edge1 base station. For more information, refer to our support article "How To: Use Edge1 for SfM Processing of Explore1 Photos (In the Field)."
  2. Delete individual missions by tapping the Edit button, and then clicking the red minus icon next to each mission.
  3. Delete all missions at once: ONLY do this if the datasets for each mission have been saved to a computer, or uploaded in our uploader.
  4. Export all missions at once: Tap Export All.

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