Tower Mapping with Hammer Missions
Updated: Nov 4
Hammer Missions is a drone flight planning and 3D mapping software platform designed for the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and web-based environments through Hammer Hub.
Inspection, maps or 3D models, Hammer Missions can adapt to it.
In this tutorial, we will focus on tower mapping missions — 1 of the several missions currently supported in Hammer.
Tower mapping missions are useful for automating the data capture for 3D models of any structure that have a tower-like profile — cell towers, water towers, etc.
If you're looking to map or inspect Pylons & Transmission Towers, learn more about Pylon Inspection over here.
In this mission, Hammer calculates a flight path around the tower based on the altitudes and distances provided as input by the operator. This is done by keeping the correct picture overlap into account so that the resulting photos can be used for inspection and/or a 3D model.
If you prefer a video instead, here’s how to setup tower mapping in Hammer:
Hammer tutorials #002 — tower mapping
Steps to Create
Tap on the add button (+) in the top right corner.
Choose ‘tower mapping’ from the missions view
Fly the drone to the top-centre of the tower. Tap the back the right button (c2 button) on the remote controller OR tap on the drone icon on the map screen. This will generate a mission with default parameters, centred on the drone’s position / tower’s centre.
Creating a Tower Mission
Steps to Configure
1. Now, to configure the mission, open the mission settings by tapping on the white gear on top of the mission.
2. Use your drone to measure the top altitude / height of the tower by flying to a point at the same level as the tower. Tap the little drone icon next to the top altitude setting to fetch the drone’s current altitude and set it as the mission setting.
3. Now repeat the same process in step 2 for bottom altitude, structure radius and flight radius to accurately configure the mission.
Configure mission using the drone as a measurement tool.
Brief description of the available settings:
Camera Type: The attached camera / sensor to the drone.
Top Altitude: Starting altitude for the flight, relative to the takeoff point. The drone will not go higher than this point in the tower mapping. If you used fly-to-draw feature to create the mission, the top altitude will be set to the altitude of the drone while drawing.
Bottom Altitude: Ending altitude for the flight, with reference to the takeoff point. The drone will not go lower than this point in the mission.
Note: Correct Altitude values can be directly fetched from the drone by flying the drone to the top-most and bottom-most altitude of the building and tapping the drone icon next to the altitude setting.
Object Radius: Radius (in metres) of the tower’s top ring/circular profile, measured from the chosen centre.
Flight Radius: Horizontal Distance (in metres) of the flight path from the tower/structure.
Image Overlap: Percentage (%) overlap between images to the left/right and top/bottom as the drone flies around the tower taking images.
Gimbal Pitch: The required pitch/angle of the gimbal while collecting images.
Steps to Simulate
Once you are finished creating and configuring the mission, simply press play button in the right panel.
If no drone is connected, Hammer will prompt you to add a simulator, press OK and choose a home location for the simulation. Then press OK.
The simulation will begin and you’ll see a simulated drone appear on the screen flying the tower mapping mission.
Steps to Fly
Once you are happy with the created mission, simply connect your drone to Hammer through the USB port on the remote controller.
You’ll see a drone icon appear on the screen at its current location.
Set the GoHome height to be higher than the mission height.
Press Play to start the mission.
Press Pause anytime to pause the mission, and play to resume the mission.
To Take manual control at any point, press Pause > Manual Control
Go Home Height
Since this is a 3D mission, i.e there are altitude shifts in the mission, it very important that you set the GoHome height to be higher than the highest altitude in the mission. This GoHome height is used to resume the mission, as the drone will first climb to this height and then fly towards the mission after a battery change to avoid any obstacles.
To change batteries during a mission: 1. Simply press Pause > GoHome. 2. Once the drone is on the ground, and the battery has been replaced, Press the Play button, then tap Resume. 3. The drone will first climb to the GoHome Height and then fly towards the mission to avoid obstacles.
Once you've collected the data, we recommend using Hammer Hub - our data inspection platform to sift through the images and annotate your findings. If you'd like to learn more about data processing options, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or get started over here.
And…that’s it! Now you know how to create, simulate and fly your own tower mapping mission in Hammer.
If you currently do not have access to Hammer Missions, you can get started over here.
If you’d like to learn more about other missions supported in Hammer, including facade inspection, tower mapping and more, please visit our mission tutorials.
If you're interested to learn more about our enterprise solutions, including mission collaboration, flight analytics and more please contact us at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.
- The Hammer Team