So, by far one of the biggest questions that I receive on what seems like a daily basis is why the newer drones made by DJI don’t have the waypoints function built in. Well, it seems like DJI has finally listened to us. They’ve finally answered our wishes.
So, once you install this update right on the main flight screen where your live feed is, you’ll be able to select the waypoints icon, that sits just on the left side.
This brings up a small menu at the bottom that lets you begin setting waypoints in flight.
So, once you get your drone into a position that you want to set a waypoint at you’ll press the plus icon right on the screen in the waypoints menu or you can press the C1 one button on the back side of the remote controller.
With each waypoint that you set, the drone remembers its position in space, the height of the drone itself, the direction that it’s facing, as well as the pitch of the gimbal, which allows you to create some really awesome repeatable missions.
And at the end of the video we’ll get more into how you can really use the waypoints function to its fullest potential.
Now as you assemble your waypoints, you’ll be able to view your mission on the flight map with direction little arrows in the way that the drone is pointing. As well as an estimated flight path in between waypoints
Without having to fly the mission, you can also place waypoints manually by tapping on the screen.
So rather than having to fly your mission first, you can just plot it out from the map using your fingers and then go from there.
Personally, I would rather just manually fly my drone and set each point while the drone is hovering there, because I feel like it gives me more control.
Like I feel like I can be more precise with how my waypoints mission is going to turn out.
But nonetheless I’m still glad that they added this function to be able to quickly plan up a route just in case you need to bank something out really quick and don’t have the time to fly each point manually.
And you can just quickly set it with your fingers by tapping there on the map.
Now, within the waypoints flight mode you can also set a point of interest that the drone will face when flying at the specific waypoints that you designate.
For example, if I was to fly around the art museum, I could place a Point of Interest right over that area and the drone will change its heading to point to the camera in that direction as the drone flies from point to point.
Now remember, each waypoint remembers the specific location of your drone as you set each point, but after the fact you can edit each of the waypoints.
For example, you can select a waypoint and then set an action to occur at that specific waypoint, like, you can have the camera take a photo start recording or stop recording.
You can also adjust the drone’s altitude at each spot, the speed, so whether it flies at a custom speed at each waypoint or matches the global speed that you set for the entire mission, as well as the aircraft heading or direction that it faces.
So, you can tell the drone to follow its course, face one of your Points of Interest or you can manually set a custom direction.
You can also of course adjust the tilt of the gimbal, the digital zoom of the camera and you can tell the drone to hover for up to 30 seconds at each waypoint.
If you want to quickly adjust all of your waypoints you can apply all the current settings across each waypoint in your mission.
The accuracy of flying waypoints with your DJI drone
Now, just a note on accuracy, I’ve been flying with the waypoints flight feature now for about a week on my Mavic 3 classic and it is about as accurate as GPS is going to allow.
What I mean by this is, that as you set up your different waypoints it is not going to be 100% perfect between each flight.
There’s going to be a slight deviation especially when you’re going and taking photos.
You can’t expect it to take the same exact frame each and every single time. It’s going to be off by just a touch.
So, if you’re expecting to take a true time lapse or a true hyperlapse over multiple flights just know that each frame or each shot that you go to, each waypoint is going to be off by just a touch. But for most use cases is going to be perfectly accurate.
Now to further customize your entire flight plan before you start, you can tap on the three dots in the top right corner to change the speed of the drone from 0.2 miles per hour, all the way to 33 miles per hour.
You can choose what happens when the drone is completed its mission so you can either hover return to home land, or have the drone fly back to the starting waypoint.
Should you lose signal, you can also change the behavior of the drone so you can tell it to return to home, hover, land, or continue on its mission.
So, if you were to lose signal, the drone would just keep flying finish its mission and then come back to you after it’s finished.
The final option that we have in this menu is our starting point, so we can select which waypoint, that we want our drone to start at I’m amongst our mission.
If you’re watching this video and you are a long time DJI flyer you might notice that this flight function the waypoints flight function is so similar to what we got with older drones, like in the DJI Go app on the Mavic 2 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro.
But, I don’t think that that’s necessarily a bad thing, because I think it’s really easy and intuitive to use and it gives you good results.
Now, one of the strongest uses of waypoints is the Task Library which can be accessed by tapping on the note icon in the top left corner of this menu at the bottom.
This brings up previous waypoint missions that you’ve created, so you can repeat your flight plan over and over and over again which again is the beauty of waypoints.
There’s a lot of really great functionality in here to manage your flights and see them all at a quick glance.
So waypoints overall is a feature that people have been asking for years to be added to DJI’s newer drones I think the last drone to be released with waypoints was the Mavic 2 Pro.
I mean that was the last drone to use the DJI Go app and then as they transitioned to DJI fly they didn’t bring over a lot of those intelligent flight features like waypoints.
So now that it’s here in the Mavic 3 series, the Classic, the Standard, and the Cine, people are going to find a lot of really awesome ways to make use of it.
For example, if you’re working on a construction job you can now set waypoints to have the drone fly to the same spots to capture the same photos or the same video clips in between waypoints.
You can continue to visit this site for months on end and have the drone fly to the same spots as long as you save that mission in your Task Library.
You can also set up repeatable missions to alleviate the annoying task of completing daily routine operations.
So, like outside of construction if I was tasked to monitor the flow of traffic along I-76, I could set up a waypoint mission that flies the length of the highway and captures a long video that I can use to report these results.
This means that I no longer have to fly to the starting point stay steady on the sticks and then fly back to my home location.
I can literally press go while my drone is sitting on the ground and it will do everything from takeoff to land.
You can also use waypoints to help you capture some creative and complex video shots.
For example, if I wanted to do a reveal up and over the art museum, I could add a waypoint at my beginning spot and then my ending spot and let the drone do all the hard work by increasing my altitude flying forwards and pitching the camera down.
This takes the need for me to be smooth on the sticks out of the equation, and can even help boost creativity by allowing you to capture shots that you just couldn’t before.
I’m super impressed at how smooth this shot came out I mean all I did was tell the drone to start at one spot and at another and record the entire flight.
The gimbal movement is just as smooth, if not smoother than if I was able to manually capture this same shot.
So overall, I am really happy that they brought waypoints back here to the Mavic 3.
And hopefully, it’s just a standard feature on all new drones to come from DJI, so that I don’t need to hear people complaining about why they didn’t add waypoints.
I mean look it is a really cool flight feature, but it’s also something that I wouldn’t use on the daily like again maybe for my construction jobs.
Maybe for jobs where I’m going to be going back to the same spot over and over again. Yes, it’ll be super, super helpful. But on the daily, not sure that I would be using waypoints all of the time.
DJI increases max altitude to 3,280 feet
Now, there’s one more final thing that I want to sneak in here that DJI added with this update.
They actually increased the maximum height that you could fly to within your drone. Like DJI increased the maximum height ceiling, which I’m a little bit iffy about.
So, the maximum height ceiling with your drone, with the DJI drone, was 1,640 feet and that equates to about 400 meters.
So that means that no matter what your height ceiling was, 1,640 feet you could not fly above that.
And that actually came in handy, because if you’re at the bottom of a mountain and you’re scaling the mountain with your drone you’re still technically 400 feet above ground and once you get to 1640 you’re cut off and you’re limited.
But now the maximum limit is 3,280 feet. Yes, you heard that right.
When you go into the DJI Fly App you can now change your settings to go to a maximum height of 3280 feet. That equates to a thousand meters.
This feature would have personally come in handy the last time that I was out in Las Vegas.
I took my Mavic 3 Cine out to the Red Rock Canyon. and man let me tell you some of those mountains are very, very tall.
Like to the point where when I’m standing at the bottom of the mountain and I’m trying to fly up the side of the mountain, I reached my height limit of 1 640 feet and I couldn’t make it to the top of the mountain.
So, being able to have that extra height is definitely nice in those scenarios, but now that everybody has access to fly their drone with a Mavic 3 like over a half a mile high, that could lead to a lot of accidents. That could lead to a lot of like foul play and misuse.
So, look I am all for DJI giving us more freedom and more opportunities with our drone, but with those freedoms and with those opportunities comes responsibility. Right?
So, even though you’re able to do it, you shouldn’t be doing it on a daily basis because again the height limit here in the United States is 400 feet.
And we always want to make sure that we’re obeying the rules if you’re flying as a hobbyist or as a Part 107 pilot. So, those are just my two cents.
Anyway, two big things coming to the drones, to the DJI Mavic 3s.
They really do change fundamentally, how they operate with waypoints and with a new height limit. And I can’t wait to see how people use them in the future. Hopefully, responsibly with that height limit.
Anyway, thank you again so much for watching. Let me know your thoughts on the waypoints flight mode down in the comment section below.
And as always, I’ll talk to you later. Peace
Photos and screen grabs, courtesy of Billy Kyle.
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