FAQs: Propeller PPK

Learn more about Propeller’s PPK Solution—the next evolution in drone surveying

How accurate is the Propeller PPK solution?

DJI has been working with GPS experts at Propeller to integrate a L1/L2 GNSS receiver into this drone model, and along-side supporting technology developed by Propeller, to bring easy, affordable, and highly accurate maps to the wider commercial drone industry.

Propeller and DJI—and validated by experts at Trimble—claim centimeter-grade accuracies are now possible with just one ground control point and DJI’s new Phantom 4 Pro RTK. This is the first totally integrated PPK solution on the market.

For more detailed information on how we achieved 1/10ft (3cm) survey-grade accuracy please read our whitepaper— it covers our testing methods and how our results support this level of drone mapping accuracy.

What does the Propeller PPK surveying workflow involve?

In terms of operational workflows it couldn’t get any simpler.

  1. Plan out your drone’s flight on the flight planning app
  2. Find a safe, open area on your site to launch the drone from
  3. Set up an AeroPoint on the ground nearby you and turn it on
  4. Hit Go on your drone flight

Once the drone finishes its flight and automatically returns to your location, upload your data to Propeller and let us do the processing for you.

There’s no need to download any software. No need to tweak or preprocess imagery or site data. In 24 hours, your 3D site survey is rendered with survey-grade accuracy and you can start measuring and managing your site and your assets immediately.

Does Propeller recommend the PPK or RTK solution?

Propeller recommends PPK over RTK solutions. Because the RTK drone needs to maintain a connection to the base station the whole time it is taking data, any signal loss can have big repercussions in your dataset. Simple maneuvers like flying behind a building can disrupt the signal. Due to this possibility of inconstancy, we recommend PPK workflows over their RTK counterparts.

Do I still need to use 10 AeroPoints with Propeller PPK?

One of the most common questions we get, especially from our customers who own a 10 pack of AeroPoints already, is if you need to use one or multiple AeroPoints for validation of survey data?

The answer is you should use more than one AeroPoint for any of the follow four reasons:

  1. You want to improve accuracy on local grids. You get more accurate data with three GCPs, as this setup corrects for rotation and scale.
  2. Your survey job is over 150 acres or your flying a corridor job
  3. You want redundancy against a faulty AeroPoint.
  4. You want checkpoint validation for your survey.

How do I get my Propeller PPK set up?

To get started please visit DJI Assistant and download the latest firmware.

I already have a Phantom 4 Pro RTK drone, can I use Propeller’s PPK solution?

Yes!  PPK is the method we use to process your drone data, not the hardware component, which means you can use your Phantom 4 RTK in a PPK workflow. Contact us to discuss how you can easily upgrade your current Phantom 4 RTK to PPK with Propeller.

Where can I learn more about the Propeller PPK solution?

For more information on the Propeller PPK solution you can download an in-depth guide here. It covers how a Propeller PPK solution can improve:

  • Surveying on a site without any drone technology
  • Measurement and management on a site using a drone and traditional ground control
  • Drone surveying workflows on sites using AeroPoints

Are there any ongoing costs for the Propeller PPK solution?

Starting January 1st 2021, there will no longer be a PPK subscription charge for software customers. However, the subscription fee will still apply for hardware-only customers.

What does the annual subscription cover for Propeller AeroPoints and/or PPK?

Without an active subscription, AeroPoints become unusable. The benefits you receive from an annual subscription are as follows:

  • The Propeller PPK algorithm and simple user workflow, including hotspot uploading. This is at the core of why we developed both AeroPoints and the PPK workflow, i.e. making capturing accurate ground data simple.
  • The workflow enabling high-precision capturing (3cm) of aerial imagery with the DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone and a single AeroPoint used as a base station and ground control.
  • The web-based software service that enables PPK tagging of images.
  • The AeroPoints/PPK portal, which provides multiple outputs—including processing reports and battery health.
  • The ability to process coordinate data in multiple workflows, like known point, CORS, survey benchmark, your own RINEX, and PPP.
  • The advantages of simple processing in arbitrary or local grids (with our Trimble and Topcon local site calibration workflows).
  • The hosting, permission-based sharing, and organization of data over time.
  • And, most importantly, the ongoing support that we provide.

Where can I buy Propeller PPK?

You can request to buy Propeller PPK directly from Propeller Aero, or one of our partners. Buy online here, or get in contact us to find a partner near you.

Got more questions? Please get in touch with the team here.