Check geo-fence

Hi all,

I guess this is new in 3.5 or I missed it in earlier versions. Tower keeps telling me “check geo fence” for a while after booting. Seems this is related to EKF waiting for the GPS config or something. It is a little confusing since all fence settings are ok.

Best regards,

Hi Thorsten,

I can’t find that message in our codebase. Do you mean “check fence”? That’s not new, it’s waiting for you to have stable position information.

Elaborating a bit, because this caught me last week too. If you have the geofence enabled, it will fail prearm without a GPS lock. Without a GPS lock, it can’t tell if you’re in or out of the fence, and will not allow you to arm. Much like it wouldn’t let you arm in Loiter or Position Hold without​a GPS lock.

Hi Francisco,
thanks for taking your time on this!
It is not dramatic - just confusing. “Waiting for stable position information” would be much better than “Check geo fence”.
“Check geo fence” sounds like something is wrong in the parameters.
It would also be really nice and user friendly to have a “Ready to arm” message.
Since this is about messages I would also vote for an “Autotune completed” message.
Btw it is definitely “Check geo fence”.
Thanks again!

I understand that, but the issue is that some people activate the fence, forget about it and then in a mode that doesn’t need GPS, they can’t arm. If we send a message saying “waiting for position information” users won’t know what’s happening.

I can’t find that sentence, but if you are seeing it then it has to be somewhere. Are you using MP?

We already have that. The message says: “AutoTune: Success”.

Makes sense. However, I would argue that when you are in Stabilize (I always arm and take off in Stabilize) I definitely want stable position information. That is much more important than a fence setting imho. If they can’t arm it is good, becuase they intentionally set the fence. But for sure any feedback is good. So what about: “Fence set. Waiting for stable position information”?

I am using Tower. It is also displaying the message.

I ran AutoTune 5 times yesterday and there was no message Tower after AutoTune finished. I only heard the buzzer.

There seem to be other problems with Tower like setting flight modes. PosHold is still named Hybrid but that seems ok. But it looks AutoTune cannot be set (“Unknown”). I switched to Mission Planner then so no intensive tests so far for a detailed report.

How old is your version of Tower?? Mine hasn’t said hybrid for years. It says Position Hold.

I agree the fence message would be more effective if it was more than just “check fence”. Is there a length limit to these messages?

I am using Tower 4.0.0. You are right, it says PosHold but the drop down menu in the parameter settings lists Hybrid.

Ah ok. I’ve never set the flight mode parameters through tower, never noticed that one was never updated. It probably never will be since 3DR isn’t in that business anymore to update the app.

Some people do. This has been talked before but no consensus on how to do it has been achieved yet.

Although that’s within MAVLink limits, I think it’s too big for most GCS to show - but I can be proven otherwise.

Make sure you are seeing all messages - it is sent as an information message and not all GCS will display it as a warning/error. Also, I don’t use Tower at all, unfortunately it fell behind. I would recommend a beta version of QGC - although I’m not sure if the feature set is already matched or not.

50 characters is the limit.

Tower isn’t maintained by 3DR anymore, it now has volunteers - issue being those volunteers don’t have much time for it.

I’m glad it wasn’t locked down proprietary when 3DR stopped maintaining it! I think it is in a pretty good state right now, so given the lack of time people have, probably rightfully low on the list of things to tinker with.

Suggestion: “Fence set. Waiting for GPS.”
“Check fence.” sounds like a request to change or check some parameter settings, which is not required in all/most cases. “Fence set. Waiting for GPS.” describes the problem and the solution. It does not request anything and provides more information. It is a usability issue. For sure “Check fence.” is not dramatic at all if you know the meaning. But the meaning is not obvious in this case.

Following your suggestion I had a closer look at QGC for Android again. I am not sure if “fell behind” is the right term. They are different. There are two main conceptual differences imho between Tower and QGC, which can be best described by:

  • Tower is designed for mobile devices from scratch
  • QGC is a fully featured GCS

Setting up a mission for surveys for example is much much easier with Tower. It automatically adds Take OFF and RTL WPs if you like as well as others that for example fix Heading/Yaw. It makes use of sliders and allows to set up missions within a minute, which is very important in the field. If it takes 15 min or more to come up with something similar it is not user friendly and not as resistant to user input errors.

For everything else QGC can be used, which is for sure nice to have if you need to change settings or recalibrate things. Personally, I use Mission Planner or QGC to set up the copters. But for mission planning Tower is (still?) the perfect tool and the perfect compagnion for Ardupilot in the field. I really hope someone will take over the further development after Arthur and then Fredia left.

Additionally, both are not yet supporting AC 3.5 which is natural. But Tower seems to be more resistant. I had a lot of crashes of QGC during my tests. Hence, I would not recommend it to inexperienced users. I’ll open some issues/bug reports for both QGC and Tower over the next weeks.

Just my 2 cents…