Servers by jDrones

Mission Planner "Makeover"

(Nathan E) #21

What really needs to happen to improve Mission Planner? I’m passionate about it and would help in any way that I can, but I am not a programmer. Does payment help? Anything?

Just like the hardware running ardupilot has changed/improved over the last few years, I really believe that Mission Planner can do the same. I also think that improving the UI of Mission Planner is the easiest way to attract more ardupilot users while keeping advanced users satisfied.

(Jerry Ginn) #22

From the point of view of an unsophisticated user, MP does the job. It lets me make and evaluate changes to the Ardupilot parameters. It lets me fine tune the responses to control input and to create detailed flight plans. I do not use most of the MP capability because I either don’t need them or don’t know that I need them but I don’t mind learning. One of the things really don’t like is constant change. It really sucks to learn something and then learn it again because it changes, particularly if there was little documentation of the original and less documentation of the change.
As a software developer in the very distant past when an 80 column text screen was the common user interface, I know first hand how difficult and boring it is to create really useful documentation but without it, the software doesn’t meet it’s need. I used the Unix ‘vi’ to write documentation which was printed on a line printer. Laser printers came later.

I would recommend that a full evaluation of the documentation be the first step in any makeover of MP. A common user interface is no substitute for good documentation.

Good for $0.02

(James Elkins) #23

Just stumbled across this thread and thought I would show something I have been working on…
I am a programmer full time and part time I fly drones for a military contractor, we use MP and PX to fly all sizes/types of drones and exclusively on Windows based PCs.
Because of the part 107 requirement and the military flight plans are more aviation based… and because I can, I have been working on a new HUD.

I am using the FAA DOF (daily obstacle file) for obstacles and for adsb data. Also created a synthetic type vision to put these on the hud. Added some touch friendly buttons for when we are using touch enabled devices. It also uses the terrain data + obstacle data to provide an elevation guide. You can tell I got a lot of my ideas from the G1000 MFD.

This proves to be very helpful as most of our flights are way beyond LOS.

I haven’t got these changes ready for submission but eventually I plan to try to get them added to the main fork of MP. I wasn’t aware of the FB page and have submit a request to join so I can also get feedback there.

(mike kelly) #24

…Nice work! .

(Nathan E) #25

@jelkins, that is incredible! I recognize that from G1000 manned aircraft cockpits. Does Garmin have any patents or IP protection that this could violate though?

Thank you for the contribution, and I look forward to seeing more.

( .) #26

I know these are drones and not human flown, but being that they “might” fly in commercial airspace do you intend to get this interface DO178C Level A certified as a Primary Flight Display for the operators?

If you do, I understand that MP can’t take advantage of the certification, but without question, the commit you fork back into the master could certainly be tagged “DO178C Level A certifiable”. That’s a GREAT selling point…just a thought.

There are a lot of other questions I have (as a former Airworthiness person) but i’ll restrain myself. I’m really interested whether if you’re using this for real time flight how you can make latency garauntees.

(James Elkins) #27

@Naterater Actually hadn’t thought of that… I wouldn’t think so… but I am no lawyer :slight_smile:
I just liked the hud of the G1000 and decided it would be cool if MP displayed the data in a similar fashion.
And frankly, Easier to use.
When you send an aircraft on a mission sometimes 50+ miles away and MP is the only thing letting you know what the state of the aircraft is… it gets tedious looking over all the raw data and it makes better sense to me to be able to see the important info at a glance.

(ptegler) #28

Very nice James.
I’m assuming you primarily manually op your craft?..and this is your active GC?
Do you use the MP available live video feed behind that HUD?
great objective great effort

(wkf94025) #29

Agree that’s a good looking HUD, and with FPV video feed behind it, great situational awareness for RC pilots. Happy to test when you’re ready.


(James Elkins) #30

For anyone wanting to give it a try.

(bisenberger) #31

I like to see Michael keep adding updates that improve the functionality of Mission Planner rather than giving it a face lift. A face lift is what software companies do to their apps for marketing purposes when they run out of innovative ideas.

(ptegler) #32

love the HUD…just fired it up… update popped up…let it update…sure enough…HUD is gone.

Great idea, but you need a way to install the HUD without normal version updates over writing your HUD revisions.

bummer… next step is a delete (don’t need two MP’s installed) :frowning:

(ptegler) #33

have to disagree. MP has a TON of features most people don’t even realize are there!

Most software development efforts typically end up with UI’s as an aside to the ops of the coding.
successful apps are those that have updated UI’s that follow human logic and process of usage.

‘old adage’… if it take more than 15 minutes to figure it out, it’s too complicated.

Field use is most common. Touch interfaces nealry a must (with busy hands at the controls), drawing a circle for ‘circle mode’ buttons for popup functions/connections …the simpler to use the more people will gravitate towards using it fully.


(David Merchant) #34

As still a relative newbie to MP, I have to say, it is horrendous to use – until you’ve spent years using it. (Also, professional programmer since 1977, with emphases on databases and UI’s.) First thoughts: 1) setup UI pages by FUNCTION, with mouse/finger “hovering” over particular items bringing up notes, definitions, or links to more detail; 2) allow that list of 800 settings to sorted in whichever parameter the user needs at the moment; 3) allow the parameter list default to have the most common things to change at the top of the list, with the other 780 sorted by columns and subcolumns that can be altered by the user (and his preferences saved); 4) color code the parameters by relative danger of changing them, and/or importance; 5) include some pages that DESCRIBE (document) what the MP software does, from a top-down, plain English “executive summary” per major function. In each exec summary, include hot links the parameters applicable to it; 5a) include some executive summaries for the in-flight monitoring to explain to the user just what they are seeing and make NO assumptions. And so on.