Fixed-wing Mapping

I have a fixed-wing UAV and want to make a map of an area. I am at the beginning of the mapping study and planing to buy the “Reach M+ UAV Mapping Kit”. I watch some videos. Everyone in the videos has used drones for mapping.

Fixed-wing UAVs can not follow the path with very high accuracy as well as drones can, especially in a limited area, and I have to take photos while making turns.

Can the photos taken while turning be useful for mapping? Must the mapping path just be like below?

Maybe the question is a silly question for you. But the answer is important for me.
I Hope, you understand what I mean.


That is one of the inherent problems of fixed wing mapping.

Even if you follow the path the aircraft will likely be banked a bit to maintain the course due to wind. Unless you have gimbaled the camera, you just to account for it in additional overlap.
Also, if the planner is not able to automate it, then add some extra waypoint to make sure aircraft is stable on course and not in turn-in when hitting another leg of of the mission.

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Hi Yunus,

Christian is the one you would want to listen to here. Learn from the best :sunglasses:

Personally, I don’t have much experience with fixed-wing UAVs. But I can scramble up a few things to pay attention to, the ones we’ve added to our mapping guides.

The thing here is that you should cover the most space with your flight plan and your photos should overlap. This is necessary because common points in adjacent images are required to create an orthogonal mosaic. We recommend the front overlap to be at least about 60% and the side – about 30%.

Even though I fully support your decision to go with Reach M+, please make sure you can benefit from it. To collect the time marks, Reach needs to have a hot shoe connection with the camera. It’s rather common but still, not all cameras support it. So please check that you have this possibility.

Also, you might want to additionally check if you can place Reach and its antenna appropriately on your UAV. This may be a bit trickier than it seems. But the antenna position is extremely important for good results.


Thank you, Polina and Christian, for your answers and recommendations. I have another question. Can I create a 2D mapping in the free version of Pix4DMapper? If not, what software can I use for the mapping?

Hi Yunus,

Glad to be of help :hugs:

As I know, the orthophoto creation is available in a trial version of Pix4DMapper. I’m not really sure you can find the software with such complex functionality for free at all. Usually, it’s just the trial version that’s available for around 2 weeks. Maybe other users can tell you more about it.

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WebODM has come a long way. Definitly worth a try and its free too


thank you Polina for all your help.

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thanks I’l check it.

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