Reach M2/M+ together with GoPro

Hello,

was someone able to connect a GoPro to Reach M2/M+ for getting PPK corrected images? I will gladly take any advice as i am asked to find a “low cost mobile mapping solution” for simple mapping applications.

Thank you very much!

Hi Marc,

Welcome to the community forum!

We have been in contact over email, so let me comment on those questions here as well.

Reach M2/M+ supports integration with a camera via the hot shoe cable. It allows the receiver to record the precise time marks when each photo was taken. GoPro doesn’t have a hot shoe connector, so there’s no straightforward way to integrate them. As I’ve checked, GoPro cameras don’t have pins for external connections.

Regarding the camera triggering, we recommend using autopilot for this task as it’s the most straightforward way to do it. If you use a setup that doesn’t have autopilot, there are two options you can follow:

  • you can trigger the camera with Reach at regular intervals using the Trigger pin on the C1 port. Please note that you’ll need to create a custom cable for it

  • you can enable the Timelapse feature if your camera supports it

Some of our users use the following cameras with Reach M2/M+:

  • Sony A6000
  • Nikon D3200
  • Canon EOS 4000D
  • Canon EOS 700D DSLR
  • Ricoh GR III
  • Sony Alpha A7R III
  • Samsung NX1000

They can be integrated with Reach M2/M+ via a hot shoe connection.

Hi Liudmila,

Thank you very much for your detailed answer.
How about using the Reach M2/M+ without direct connection to the camera (of course measuring offsets from camera to GNSS unit)? I know that time synchronization is important due to increasing positional error when driving speed is also increasing. But would there be some kind of way around the direct connection from camera to M2/M+?

To summarize my solutions, basically i have four options:

  • Using a GoPro/Action Camera without HotShoe Connector with only internal GPS (Positional error ~1m in X/Y)
  • Using a GoPro/Action Camera without HotShoe Connector with Reach M2/M+ without direct connection (if time synchronization is at least okay positional error maybe lower than 1m but higher than lets say 20cm)
  • Using a Camera with Hot Shoe Connector and Reach M2/M+ (good Accuracy but i would need a higher grade camera + mounting brackets)
  • Using a GoPro/Action Camera with another RTK unit that enables a direct connection (maybe something like https://www.locosystech.com/en/product/rtk-4P, but at the moment i am not sure that this is working)

Feel free to give comments to the options that i listed. Personally i would like to work with Emlid if it possible.

There is a very simple solution that requires no hardware or paid software. Just put ground control points in the images and measure them. Reconstruct the mosaïc using OpenDroneMap and then georeference the result using the GCPs.

It’s still the best option, IMO.

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You will see way more than 1 meter error from the internal GNSS of the gopro

This could fairly tricky to get right at anything but a hover.

This is the way to go, not only for your precision, but also for the image-quality of your deliverable.

This will have exactly the same limitation as you have previously experienced.

Thank you very much for your comments Christian!

This publication suggests that the X/Y error of a GoPro is around 1m (RMSE): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327913329_MOBILE_MAPPING_SYSTEM_BASED_ON_ACTION_CAMERAS
It does not matter if it is 1m or 2m. It is more about the accuracy range in this case.

I am asked to look for a low-cost mobile mapping solution that does not need high qualifications for operation. Of course we have to pay the price in terms of accuracy/precision but that does not matter in this case (right tool for the right job)

You do not necessarily need to pay that accuracy price. Using a post-processing method for your ground control points, it would be possible to get centimetric accuracy (ignoring the optical quality of the GoPro lenses) for an orthomosaic. The only required hardware would be two M2s (for efficiency), one serving as a reference point, and another used as a rover to capture the GCPs. No real-time connections between any hardware are needed, neither the base/rover nor GNSS and camera. This is probably the best cost VS accuracy solution. In the field, manipulation is extremely simple, it is afterwards, for data processing, that there are a few more involved steps (but nothing backbreaking).

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Static is always available and is also wonderful

Thank you for your suggestion. I will keep that in mind and suggest that to my colleagues and see if that is an option.

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