Best Apps for Drone Photography
When we aerial photographers fly our drones, we typically refer to online and external resources for additional information. Mainly we look for data from smartphone apps. In an effort to share common information with other DJI pilots, they created a poll and asked members of the Official DJI Owners Facebook Group to give feedback. The members of the group came up with a top six app list.
At the DJI Aerial Photography Academy, Stacy Garlington and I list our own favorites as well. Typically, when the rush to put the camera in the sky is unstoppable, the first app we first check while powering up the drone is Airmap.com. Why? We can check our local airspace and airspace warnings instantly. If there is time we jump on to a second or third app. Personally I open UAV Forecast next. This app appears very basic at first glance, but is loaded with good info if you tap the icons and open the hidden pages. You should probably be using these popular apps also.
Here are the favorite free smartphone apps for drone photographers, in order, as judged members of the Official DJI Owners Group on Facebook:
In addition to the above selected by the Facebook Group, here are a few additional aerial photography apps we use:
You will love the simplicity of this app if you don’t already carry a full time drone insurance policy from AMA, AOPA, or your regular insurer. Just glance through the app and you will be surprised at how easy and fast it is to obtain insurance on the spot.
- Mapping Apps
For mapping and 3D modeling we recommend that you begin with DroneDeploy.com. This company will offer a basic plan for free, so that you can explore how mapping works. If you enjoy this niche you might want to explore Pix4D, and Skycatch. We have met personally with these companies, and like where they are headed as far as enterprise work. When mapping and 3D modeling, you will likely opt to subscribe to cloud computing services. Each of these three has different fee structures.
- Severe Weather apps
We all have our favorite severe weather app and so we won’t recommend any specifically. There is accuweather.com, weatherlive.com, weatherunderground.com, and so on. I have been saved by these apps more than once. Keep an eye out for a pop-up thunderstorm, or a dust storm or ther surprise meteorological events. Believe me, these pop-up events do happen! I was with master drone photographer Colin Smith when in Santa Fe, New Mexico when a wall of dust hit us without any warning and it was very difficult to recover our drones. Weather apps alson make advanced planning much easier. Keep an eye on the weather!
The bottom line is this; when you are flying your DJI Spark, Phantom, Mavic, or Inspire, gather as much additional airspace and weather data as possible, for safety. Look at these apps, and if you find anything else out there that works well, let us know!
Source – Authors Randy Jay Braun & Stacy Garlington are co-founders of the DJI Aerial Photo Academy, providing live city-to-city workshops helping attendees to create better drone photographs for work and for play.