In addition to being able to operate a drone successfully, drone mapping requires a variety of talents. You will require strong organizational abilities, surveying experience, and a working knowledge of photogrammetry's foundations. Additionally, you will be working with a lot of data and must complete the entire data presentation process.
The best free drone mapping software are WebODM software platform, DJI GS Pro Mapping Software, Pix4Dcapture, QGIS Drone Mapping, DroneDeploy Mapping Software, SimActive Drone Mapping Software, Propeller Drone Mapping Software, and Maps Made Easy Drone Mapping Software.
Good software is important for drone mapping, especially with data preparation and analysis in mind. There are some solutions that are free to use, even if the majority of these software programs demand an expensive membership.
Best Free Drone Mapping Software
Drone technology and aerial mapping go together like peanut butter and jelly. Massive mapping projects that would previously take weeks to finish can now be finished in a short amount of time, thanks to the usage of drones. Since manned aircraft were no longer required for the task, mapping became much more affordable.
Drone mapping can be very helpful, but after the photographs are collected, you need good mapping software to put them together to create a 3D map. Below is some free drone mapping software.
WebODM Software Platform
WebODM is the most widely used drone mapping software platform available for free download and use. This open-source software has existed for a while and has seen significant improvements because of its vibrant user base. If you are tech-savvy, you could change the program's code to fit your requirements.
WebODM can be frightening for newcomers, as it is with most open-source software. Installing it isn't easy because you have to use GitHub to obtain, install, and execute it on the Docker platform. A few internet instructions are available that show you how to achieve this.
A data processing tool called WebODM enables you to analyze spatial data and produce several maps. It can be used to create 3D models from point clouds and orthomosaics, plant health maps, digital elevation maps, and more. You will need a reasonably powerful computer because the entire operation is local.
There is no flight planning functionality in WebODM. It has nothing to do with drones and only deals with data. You must hunt for a different software option to create autonomous flight missions. An oddity with WebODM is that you could skip the laborious setup process and get an installer in its place.
DJI GS Pro Mapping Software
You have a decent software alternative that you may utilize for free if you are operating a DJI drone for any mapping activities. A mobile application specifically for managing and arranging drone flights is called DJI GroundStation Pro. Any DJI drone operator should have no trouble using it because of how simple the interface is.
You may quickly specify the size of your targeted survey area with DJI GS Pro, and the application will automatically suggest flight patterns for the drone to take. To make repeat missions simple, you can store and recover the data of the flight tasks. Additionally, DJI GS Pro offers cloud capabilities for managing and storing flight data.
Cloud backup is highly helpful for business projects because it offers a forum for teamwork. The fact that GS Pro is a platform designed exclusively for flight preparation and managing data is a significant drawback. It is incapable of processing data. You will need to find another tool if you need to create maps using your data.
A new wireless drone flight planning application called Pix4Dcapture. It is the only Pix4D program available for free and is merely one component of a vast Pix4D ecosystem. Like DJI GS Pro, Pix4Dcapture is an application that enables you to schedule and manage drone flying using a mobile device.
It is really simple to operate and even offers a means to assess the image quality while you remain on location. All photographs taken with Pix4Dcapture can be posted to the PIX4D cloud and modified using the program of your choice for later retrieval.
Pix4Dcapture's main benefit is that it works with drones other than DJI models. The list of drones that work with this software is fairly long and includes certain models from Parrot and Yuneec. However, when using a relatively new drone model, you can experience compatibility issues.
Additionally, you can take advantage of the chance to try out the different Pix4D applications for free. Pix4D provides a complete and functional software ecosystem for all things mapping-related. Each program's subscription can be purchased separately or as a package.
QGIS Drone Mapping
Though not specifically designed for drone mapping, QGIS is one of the most well-known GIS platforms. It has successfully grown a sizable user base and is frequently employed as a free option to ArcGIS. An open-source GIS system is QGIS. It has the ability to modify geographical data and produce a variety of maps.
It is highly helpful for data visualization, particularly if you have a lot of spatial data to work with. It is adaptable and comparatively simple to use because it has a vibrant user community willing to help you out. The inability of QGIS to analyze the data acquired by the drone is an obvious disadvantage of utilizing it for drone mapping.
For those on a tight budget, including individuals and companies, QGIS is a great GIS platform. Although it is free to use, it is regarded as one of the greatest and most popular GIS platforms available today. Although it will not work as a stand-alone drone mapping solution, it fully supports any existing drone mapping applications.
Drone 3D Mapping Software Free
There are many options available for 3D photogrammetry software for drones. Many 3D mapping software providers provide a free trial or testing period, letting you use the program before making a purchase. Below are some free drone 3D mapping software you can use.
Although complicated for novice users, this PrecisionHawk software is excellent for situations that require meticulous monitoring. This program will be extremely helpful to the construction, agricultural, and energy sectors. It has a large archive of algorithms that you can use for nearly anything, in addition to supporting data from almost every drone.
PrecisionMapper is fantastic if you want to analyze a lot of data using a variety of various techniques for your tasks or for your customers that need a variety of maps and scenarios for their own needs. This program is a reliable mapping tool that may be used to incorporate GPS data and process aerial photos. It is free for users with up to 60 surveys each; it may be used to stitch a 2D or 3D map together.
Maps Made Easy
Maps Made Easy, one of the top drone mapping tools, is a robust mapping program that is feature-rich and convenient to use. Although their website might not be as well-kept as some of their rivals, their mapping system is on par with the finest. Any drone can process image data with the program; however, DJI drones are granted more consideration.
Most maps, including NDVI maps, 3D point clouds, 2D orthophotos, and 3D models, can be produced from drone photographs via Maps Made Easy. Users may also compute stockpile sizes and generate customized reports that can be distributed to clients via the app.
In the past few years, there has been a noticeably lower variety of free software available for drone mapping. In any scenario, investing much in drone mapping may be necessary. This does not imply that there are no longer any free possibilities. You can complete a drone mapping task without investing any money in software, but you might need to be more inventive or make some concessions.
Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.