Do you need the best drone mapping software? Will it have any impact on the mapping result? Yes, it will.
Drone mapping software is evolving faster than you can imagine. So, choosing the best mapping platform will enable you to cover more projects within a short space of time and achieve the desired quality.
The mapping software classified as the best is fast, efficient, and feature-rich. So, you’ll save time and execute more projects within record time. You’ll also be able to transform raw data into digital assets, making it easier for anyone inspecting the project to make an informed decision.
We have identified the best mapping software platforms you can use for drone mapping to get the best results. Continue reading to learn more and make an informed decision.
What Is Drone Mapping Software?
Let’s discuss what drone mapping software is before diving into the best drone mapping software you can find today.
So, what is drone mapping software? This software allows individuals and corporate organizations to map and survey a massive worksite or property using a UAV or drone.
How it works is this: The user allows the drone to fly over the area marked for mapping and surveying. And while flying, the UAV or drone takes pictures, and video records the area. Then the drone software turns the recorded video and captured image into detailed maps and models.
Diverse industries use drone mapping software for various purposes. This includes mapping, inspection, surveying, 3D modeling, point clouds, and other purposes.
Some of the industries that commonly use drone mapping software include:
- Oil and gas industry
- Mining industry
- Agricultural industry
- Land management
- Urban planning
- Emergency management (Necessary during a natural disaster to enable emergency management to respond on time)
An individual may also use drone mapping software. For instance, individuals may use it to inspect their properties, land, etc.
What does drone mapping software do? Note that the mapping software isn’t what surveys the area or marked object being inspected. The drone or UAV does. You use a drone or UAV to capture the photo imagery and recorded videos.
The work of the mapping software, as the name implies, is to map, query, model, and inspect the sizable amount of data located within a single database.
This computer program empowers you to create maps that integrate information from diverse sources. It also allows you to visualize the patterns and create effective solutions.
The Best Drone Mapping Software
We have said before that the quality of software used for drone mapping matters because it has a massive impact on the results.
So, if you want the results to be consistent and accurate, endeavor to go for the best drone processing software.
Here is a list of options to consider:
DroneDeploy is the number one drone mapping software on the lips of industry professionals and corporate organizations. It’s the leading data solution and is trusted by over 5000 firms across the globe.
Since the San Francisco-based company opened its doors for business in 2013, its users have already mapped over 200 million acres of land.
This cloud-based software is user-friendly. Thus, it is suited for advanced users and beginners. It also boasts various flight features you can automate, including the ability to create and view the 2D map of an area during flight.
Another thing that sets this 3D modeling and mapping tool apart is its suitability for single users, including enterprise clients with unlimited users.
DroneDeploy offers various packages, such as Teams and Enterprise (for teams), and individual packages, such as “individual and advanced.” The Enterprise package is more expensive, though it boasts more features than the Teams package. It offers all Teams features plus more advanced ones.
The Enterprise package allows you to send live-stream videos via a shareable link to your team members. Drone and pilot compliance lets you check the drone and pilot, ensuring that they’re up-to-date to avoid any risk that comes with flying a drone.
This drone mapping software has many features that make survey and data analysis jobs easier and faster. It boasts annotations, real-time distance calculations, and the ability to ensure rapid map processing.
This software can measure area and volume. Another thing you need to know is this: if you’re running a drone mapping business, you’ll have a high chance of earning ROI with this tool.
Besides 3D modeling, you’ll have access to your NDVI data, interactive maps, and orthomosaics.
However, one drawback that DroneDeploy has is its price point. This drone mapping software is quite expensive, so most beginners may find it challenging to stump up the cash to get it.
That said, DroneDeploy may have a high price tag but offers a corresponding value. The company has also made the software more accessible by creating diverse pricing options for intended users. So, choose the package that suits your budget. In addition, remember that you can pay your subscription fee monthly or yearly.
Note: DroneDeploy offers a 15-day free trial, which you can take advantage of to learn more about the software. Fifteen days is enough time to thoroughly assess this drone mapping program’s capabilities and reach an informed conclusion.
The next drone mapping software on the list is the Pix4D. Though Pix4D is widely used by advanced users and was created with them in mind, beginners can equally use it for their projects.
However, note that this mapping software boasts several advanced features that most beginners may need clarification on, and Pix4D has made that happen. The software offers diverse learning paths suited to the needs of users.
You can turn images taken by a drone into survey-grade, accurate, and geo-referenced orthomosaics, 2D maps, point clouds, and 3D modeling for measurement, inspection, and analysis.
This versatile software’s high-resolution capabilities make it possible to retrieve each pixel’s temperature and elevation values to create super-accurate maps.
Pix4D accepts .tif and .jpeg images from any camera or drone and transforms them into high-resolution maps that you can save and utilize in dozens of formats. The formats range from photo-realistic textured mesh images to .pdf formats.
Pix4D gives you survey-grade accuracy that sets your work apart. The accuracy is down to less than 1cm. It also boasts industry-specific features that let you achieve the best result in your mapping and survey project.
Furthermore, this software boasts features that enable you to map and survey diverse sectors. These range from the mining industry, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, inspection, and even public health.
This versatile mapping software boasts an active community where users can learn about the tool from other advanced users. You’ll also connect with industry professionals on the platform.
Pix4D’s processing algorithm will enable you to obtain the survey-grade results you seek. Pix4D mapping and photogrammetry software boasts a flight app, desktop, and cloud platform.
Another thing you need to know about this drone mapping software i that the platform isn’t cheap though it boasts features that can deliver greater accuracy, like the AutoGCPs. It is among the software that can provide high-quality and versatile maps, including photo-realistic 3D textured mesh images.
Note: Pix4D offers a 15-day free plan. And the good thing about this trial is you don’t need to provide credit card details to start using it.
Just register and enjoy the free plan. You can continue your subscription if you consider the mapping software a good fit for your business and needs.
3: Map Made Easy:
Thanks to Map Made Easy, beginners and mapping business startups can finally dive into the drone mapping industry and get all the help they need. So, if you’re a beginner or a startup business, Map Made Easy will make a wise choice.
All you need to do is put your DJI drone to work and capture images. Map Made Easy will help you process the result. The platform turns photos into maps using its server.
Map Made Easy works with any file format. All Map Made Easy wants you to do is capture your images, while Map Made Easy handles data processing and management.
You can fly anything you want to capture your images. This drone mapping platform works with a wide range of formats.
Another thing that sets Map Made Easy apart is that it offers users unlimited free processing for small jobs. Thus, you’ll keep all the profit from your smaller drone mapping jobs.
Map Made Easy is a web-based platform. It also offers flexible payment options, making it a wise choice for individuals and small businesses on a budget. You can subscribe to either their monthly or yearly plan. Or, you can choose the “Pay-as-you-go” option.
This platform does not have a resolution limit and is twenty times (20X) larger than Google Earth. Another feature of this web-based platform is the ability to measure object volumes using advanced measurement tools.
Cloud processing makes it possible to create 3D models and georeferenced orthophotos, including digital surface models.
SimActive is another unique mapping tool, adored for its versatility. You can use this software on any UAV platform, sensor, or camera.
Note that SimActive is a high-end mapping platform. It is popularly used for large survey and mapping projects. This platform can deliver high-quality results, whether used on a drone, satellite, or aircraft.
SimActive’s exceptional mapping accuracy makes the platform a wise choice for diverse industries where precision matters. It is widely used in construction, surveying, agriculture, mining, emergency, and forestry. SimActive can also cover any terrain.
This mapping platform boasts incredible speed. Thus, you’ll spend less time processing your data. It can take up to 20MP frame size. What’s more, it can process approximately 300 images simultaneously.
So, if you’re working on a large project and require a mapping platform to process data quicker, SimActive fits the bill.
This aircraft, satellite, and drone mapping software boasts diverse functionalities that will enable you to get the mapping job done without compromising on quality. It has functions like tie point editing, GCP creation, mosaic editing, and DEM editing, including 3D feature extraction.
Other sophisticated functions include volume calculation, script mode and command line, NDVI map creation, and more.
One drawback this tool has is that you can only run it on the Windows operating system. Thus, if you’re a Mac user, you may have to focus on another mapping platform on this list.
SimActive can run seamlessly on Windows 7, 8, and 10, provided the computer boasts the requirements. The computer system needs 8GB RAM, 64-bit, AMD Radeon, FirePro, NVIDIA, GeForce, GRID, Tesla, and Quadro.
Another thing you need to know is that this platform offers an optional data processing service. In other words, professionals in the company can transform your data and projections into usable formats, such as DTM, DSM, survey-qualified reports, textured mesh-3D models, and even orthomosaic maps.
Note: SimActive offers a two-week free trial. So, you can subscribe to the app for two weeks without paying a dime.
5: Airteam Fusion Platform:
This AI-powered mapping platform, known as Airstream Fusion, has taken drone mapping and data processing to another level.
Airteam was founded in Berlin in 2018. The platform focuses on drone flight automation, including data analysis using artificial intelligence and computer vision.
This platform can handle everything from image-capturing to processing and delivers comprehensive customer reports.
Another thing that separates the Airteam is how the platform lets users digitally measure and inspect their properties or sites. This platform is also super fast. You can measure or inspect a large expanse of land or property within 15 minutes.
The ability to capture high-resolution videos and photos sets this platform apart. The quality images and videos will make your property even more attractive to prospects.
Over the years, this platform has built a solid reputation, delivering accurate survey reports and detailed area, length, pitch, roof measurements, and others.
Whether you’re new to drone data acquisition, it doesn’t matter. Airteam will meet your needs. The platform will take care of everything from drone permission to drone flight, data processing, and reports.
The advanced technology the platform deploys gives users a competitive edge. You can also contact customer service professionals via various channels, such as email, phone, or live chat.
Airteam’s vision is to empower construction workers by enabling them to make informed decisions using cutting-edge software, AI, and drones.
Airteam offers other mouthwatering benefits that make them appealing. Users have access to unlimited data upload and free project requests. You’ll also get quality training videos from experts in the field.
Furthermore, all construction projects and data are kept in a secured platform. So, you can rest assured your projects and data are safe.
Note: Airteam Fusion Platform offers a free trial, just like other software on this list. But you have to make commitments to enjoy its full features.
When you subscribe, you’ll have access to a platform that makes drone mapping for construction work a breeze. You’ll get permission, a 3D model, digital access to your data, a comprehensive measurement report, and training, including approach and drone flight.
Are you seeking drone mapping software that can plan, fly, and process data? If yes, Skyward will make a wise choice.
One fascinating thing about this platform is its price point. Skyward is one of the most budget-friendly software on this list.
Skyward helps organizations and private businesses manage the entire drone workflow to increase efficiency and ensure accurate results are achieved.
On managing the entire workflow,” here is what Skyward does. The platform manages the training of crew members, plans missions, accesses controlled airspaces, and creates maps, models, and more.
Skyward uses human-crewed aircraft and a large fleet of UAVs to ensure nothing is left out. The platform also offers a wide array of aerial services, including surveying, mapping, 3D terrain modeling, inspection, and GIS analysis.
Another thing that sets Skyward apart is that they use custom software to ensure accurate and detailed results. The Skyward drone management platform has also been integrated with Pix4D, making it possible for users to transform drone-gathered data into 2D maps and 3D models.
This mapping platform also uses MTS to update facility maps, displaying the areas around an airport and dividing them into smaller grids. Each grid signifies the specific altitude pilots can fly to when they seek authorization from the FAA.
Furthermore, Skyward works with small businesses, mid-size businesses, freelancers, non-profit organizations, and the government.
The latest Pix4D-powered Skyward mapping and modeling functionalities will enable you to create, view, and measure 2D orthomosaic maps, including 3D photogrammetry models from Skyward’s web application.
This integration is why Skyward can offer users business-ready data sets via a seamless process that bothers on the plan, fly, and data processing workflow.
Note: Skyward is less popular than DroneDeploy, but one thing that sets it apart is its price point. Furthermore, the platform has a free trial like other mapping software discussed here. So, you can give it a try and see if it meets your needs.
7: Agisoft Metashape:
Agisoft is a feature-rich tool that makes mapping an enjoyable activity. Its seamless and accurate surveying capability sets it apart.
This drone mapping platform has been around for some decades now. So, you’ll benefit from its advanced features, acquired from its constant upgrades over the years.
This mapping platform was established in 2006 and focused primarily on computer vision technology. Years of research and development have seen Agisoft’s image-processing algorithm expertise develop massively.
Agisoft boasts two packages, which are the Professional and Standard packages. The Standard package is more affordable and boasts almost all the tools many mappers require to complete their projects.
Agisoft Cloud is a unique online platform designed for site inspection, annotation, including documentation. This platform is also integrated with cloud processing services to meet the needs of Metashape professional users.
This platform encourages seamless collaborations. You can get colleagues and clients involved by sharing project links or securely inviting other individuals to participate.
Agisoft’s smooth integration into the workflow is another feature that sets it apart. And what’s more, the platform is scalable. You can process as many projects as you want.
This platform boasts some drawbacks that potential users need to know. One of them is that the free trial is available to everyone, but the cloud processing feature is excluded. Metashape professional application has to be installed and activated for a user to access cloud processing.
Agisoft boasts flexible subscription plans. Their scalable professional plans are a wise choice for mapping professionals too.
The commercial plan gives you access to 10GB of storage and a processing time of 1 hour. However, the non-commercial plan offers 50GB of storage and approximately 20 hours per month of processing time.
Note: Agisoft is a free standalone software that enables users to visualize 3D. You can measure volumes, distances, and areas and calculate profiles.
This software is accessible free of charge. And you can access the free version in two ways. As a new user, you can use the demo mode. However, note that you can’t have access to save and export in the demo mode.
Agisoft also offers a 30-day free trial with full functionality. You can activate it straight from the Metashape activation dialog.
This propeller 3D software is an end-to-end solution that enables quick tracking, mapping, and measurement of worksites. And what’s more, it delivers quality results.
Propeller is a cloud-based platform enabling you to visualize and analyze your survey site data captured using a drone.
This end-to-end drone mapping software platform allows you to share work progress with team members and clients. It helps centralize project documentation to boost sales.
Propeller is a breeze to use and is designed to make mapping as simple as possible. Just drag and drop your captured drone images and leave the rest to Propeller.
The platform will turn your data into a finished and valuable asset. It will process your drone images into a 3D map of your worksite, and it doesn’t end here. You’ll be able to see stockpiles, cut/fill, view survey 3D data reports, and even share progress with other parties via the cloud-based 3D modeling platform.
Propeller claims it has processed over 20,250+ worksites, and 110,400 surveys have been processed too. This drone mapping platform has offices located in over 123 countries.
This platform is designed for aggregate producers, the construction industry, the mining industry, and waste management. It is also scalable and will meet your needs as you grow your business.
Propeller also boasts guides and eBooks to help you understand how to use the platform. They also organize webinars and have case studies you can learn from.
You will have access to GIS (geographic information systems) experts, 24 hours and 7 days a week. Propeller also boasts a wide range of tools to help you execute your project satisfactorily. The platform boasts a GSD calculator and coordinates converter, including recommended drones.
Note: Propeller offers a demo, a free version of the platform. The demo is for new users and boasts several benefits. In addition to having firsthand experience using Propeller, things you’ll enjoy in the demo version include 30 – 60 minutes of live video chat with an expert, and the opportunity to discuss your challenges and view real-world examples and case studies to understand the platform better.
How To Identify Drone Mapping Software That Best Suits You
Finding the right mapping software for photogrammetry can be confusing to first-time users. Why? The simple reason is that there is a wide range of drone processing software to consider.
Choosing the best software for your drone mapping project is essential because the product you choose will significantly impact the whole production chain.
So, here are factors to consider when choosing drone processing software. Follow them to find the right software for you.
1: Consider the quality of the output:
Can the drone processing software offer the high-quality results you seek? Here is a question to consider when choosing mapping software.
The geospatial data quality from the mapping software is what the end-user will consider. The visual appeal of the result won’t matter much.
Furthermore, some mapping results may appear visually appealing but lack precision. Mapping software that cannot deliver accurate results isn’t worth it. End-users may not value the result either.
The metrics for mapping software include consistency, vertical/horizontal accuracy, and spatial resolution.
So, endeavor to estimate the quality of the result the mapping software can deliver before splashing the cash.
You may have to use the software in free-trial mode to understand the quality it can deliver. Additionally, you can read reviews of each mapping tool to find the one that meets your goal.
2: How fast is the software’s processing speed?
Speed is an essential factor to consider when choosing drone mapping software. You need a product that can generate outputs faster and equally deliver them quickly.
By the way, clients want their projects delivered on time. And if you can deliver quickly, you may enjoy repeat patronage from the said client.
So, consider speed when choosing your drone mapping software. In plain terms, select software that can generate outputs and deliver them faster.
3: Consider the software’s scalability:
The fact that you’re only working on smaller projects doesn’t mean things will remain that way. Your business will grow, and you may have to start working on more significant projects.
So, don’t choose mapping software that can handle fewer images because of the size of projects you’re currently getting. Note that changing software in the future will cost you a lot of money.
The best thing to do is choose a scalable drone mapping software that will remain useful even as your business grows. You’ll be glad you did when you start receiving more bigger projects in the future.
4: Consider the software’s editing capacity:
Does the drone software you plan to choose support manual editing of map data? Does it have a manual editing function?
When choosing mapping software, you must understand that end-users have specific requirements that you must meet. In other words, the map data needs of one end-user may differ. So, you have to choose software that boasts tools that let you adapt the outputs to suit specific requirements.
One of the functionalities to consider before buying a photogrammetry product is the ability to edit the results manually. It is a valuable feature the best drone mapping software should have.
5: Automation capability:
Can your mapping software automatically process several subparts of a massive or multiple projects? Can you automate the processes and have control, including the ability to customize each step?
While most people may not pay much attention to automation, it’s still a vital feature to have in mapping software.
Mapping software that simplifies projects, making them less tiring, is valuable. You can even complete tons of projects without feeling worked up.
We have discussed the factors to consider before choosing drone processing software. Now, let’s discuss the best software you can find for this process.
So what is the best drone mapping software for you? We have discussed several mapping platforms, as you can see. These include DroneDeploy, Pix4D, SimActive, Maps Made Easy, and others.
The bottom line is to choose software that will enable you to achieve your goal. The software should make it possible to execute your project satisfactorily.
DroneDeploy, as you can see, is feature-rich, mobile, and portable. But SimActive is a wise choice to tackle larger projects. On the other hand, Pix4D has a reputation for being precise. So, if precision is essential, Pix4D will make a wise choice.
Maps Made Easy is an excellent entry-level drone mapping platform. It will help you kick-start your journey in the right direction. Airteam is a wise choice if you’re seeking an AI-powered platform.
The list goes on and on. The easy way to identify the best mapping platform for you is to go through each product or, if possible, take advantage of their free trial to see which is best for you.