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Do I need gimbal for fixed wing mapping?

I like to learn more about fixed wing mapping. Please see three questions below.

  1. do I need a 1 or 2 axis gimbal for mapping?
  2. what type of mapping requires a gimbal?
  3. How affective servo based gimbals are compare to brushless in mapping. Brushless gimbal response is much much faster, but does it matter for mapping?
  1. No gimbal necessary with traditional SfM planning at high overlap.
  2. Oblique mapping requires a gimbal if you want to capture a lot of vertical surfaces in the same flight as a nadir capture
  3. Servo-based gimbals are entirely adequate; shutter speeds in cameras should be fast enough to prevent motion blur, so a little turbulence should not increase blur significantly. Your goal isn’t smooth motion; your goal is to be pointed in the correct direction.

The only reason gimbals are required for mapping is if you want to fly at sub-30% overlap, and then you need different processing techniques and really a 3-axis gimbal to make that work. The yaw direction is really the most important because planes fly effectively fly straight on lines with near zero roll and pitch.

@Nathan, thanks for these helpful tips. Do you know which technique (Oblique or Nadir mapping) is mostly used? Basically market size and which industry uses these techniques? Who are the users of this data?

In regards to Yaw comment, do I understand you correctly that in oblique mapping, the plane has to fly in loiter mode around the region-of-interest (ROI) with the camera pointing towards ROI? I am thinking of a conical-helical loiter type mission.

The market is changing immensely; to weigh in on it today would be difficult, and anybody with accurate information on it is probably making a lot of money. If you’re coming up with a solution looking for a problem, that’s not exactly the normal method of business in my market.

Oblique mapping just means that you need information that is generally not best obtained looking down. For example, insulators on a powerline are very difficult to see from directly above. Those type of corridors and structures don’t necessarily require orbiting flight with a ROI, but they do require “oblique” collection.

Servers by jDrones