Mission Planner

The Mission Planner, created by Michael Oborne, does a lot more than its name. Here are some of the features (re-post from here):

  • Point-and-click waypoint entry, using Google Maps.
  • Select mission commands from drop-down menus
  • Download mission log files and analyze them
  • Configure APM settings for your airframe
  • Interface with a PC flight simulator to create a full hardware-in-the-loop UAV simulator.
  • See the output from APM’s serial terminal

Pre-programmed mission

Using the Mission Planner, a user can pre-program the flight path of a conservation drone simply by clicking and defining waypoints on a Google map or other available map layers (Bing, Yahoo, OpenStreetMap, Ovimap, etc). The drone can also be programmed to take off and land autonomously, and circle over any waypoint for a specified number of turns or duration, while acquiring aerial photographs or video. The user can also program other flight parameters such as ground/air speed and altitude of the drone over each waypoint. A pre-programmed mission can be uploaded to the drone before launch. But even when the drone is already in the air, a new mission can still be programmed and uploaded via data telemetry to give new instructions to the drone.

Real-time flying (guided mode)

An alternative way to fly a drone mission is to give real-time instructions to it via data telemetry by clicking the next waypoint to fly to on the map in the Mission Planner. In combination with a ‘live’ video feed, this feature is useful for surveying areas or events of interest as they happen.

Droidplanner and Andropilot

If you have an Android tablet, you can use it as a ground control station in place of a laptop.  Here is a list of compatible android devices. In addition to your tablet, you would need a USB OTG cable that connects the 3DR modem to your tablet. You also have to ‘root’ your tablet before installing Droidplanner and/or Andropilot. These are two apps allow you to do most things a laptop-based mission planner can do, including plan missions, change parameters, fly in guided mode, receive ‘real-time’ flight data.