There’s a new drone on the market for the surveying and mapping vertical of the drone industry—meet the Phantom 4 RTK. DJI announced the drone on Monday, October 15, at the European Drone Summit in Frankfurt, Germany.
Surveyors and mapping professionals are excited about the improved data capture that comes with the Phantom 4 RTK as well as its many other useful features. Let’s take a look at how the Phantom 4 RTK is set to improve the workflow of surveying, mapping, and inspection professionals. We’ll also get into some of the detailed specs below.
Workflow Benefits of the Phantom 4 RTK
In the SkyLogic 2018 Drone Market Sector Report released earlier this year, surveying/mapping/GIS came in second on the list of top 10 business uses for drones. With the new Phantom 4 RTK, DJI hopes to meet the needs of this growing industry vertical.
“The Phantom 4 RTK was engineered to meet the specific needs of its users who have come to rely on DJI drones as powerful tools for surveying, mapping, or inspection operations. We took feedback from the drone mapping and surveying market on board and believe this solution demonstrates our commitment to strengthening our involvement and innovation in different enterprise verticals where we see substantial demand and potential for growth.”
—Sunny Liao, Director of Enterprise, Europe at DJI
Here are a few of the workflow benefits surveying/mapping/GIS professionals can take advantage of with the Phantom 4 RTK:
- Fewer ground points required: A non-RTK drone requires up to 40 ground control points (GCP) per square kilometer, which take several hours to place. The DJI Phantom 4 RTK, on the other hand, has an in-built centimeter-accurate RTK navigation positioning system and a high-performance imaging system. Combined with the RTK positioning module, it potentially reduces the number of GCPs needed to 0, which saves at least 75% in set-up time.
- Flight stability even when signal is weak: Sitting just beneath the RTK receiver is a redundant GNSS module, installed to maintain flight stability in signal-poor regions such as dense cities. Combining both modules, the Phantom 4 RTK is able to optimize flight safety while ensuring the most precise data is captured for complex surveying, mapping, and inspection workflows.
- Integrate into any workflow: The Phantom 4 RTK can be integrated into any workflow, with the ability to connect its positioning system to the D-RTK 2 Mobile Station, NTRIP (Network Transport of RTCM via Internet Protocol) using a 4G dongle or a WiFi hotspot in supported areas. In areas with lack of RTK coverage, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK allows for the use of Post Processed Kinematics (PPK).
DJI Phantom 4 RTK Features and Specs
The Phantom 4 RTK combines centimeter-level navigation and positioning with a high-performance imaging system to improve survey efficiency and accuracy, reducing operational difficulty and cost. Enabling it to do so are its many features and impressive specs including:
- Centimeter-level positioning system – The RTK module can provide positioning accuracy of 1cm+1ppm (horizontal), 1.5cm+1ppm (vertical), and the Phantom 4 RTK can get the 5cm absolute horizontal accuracy of photogrammetric models.
- TimeSync system – The TimeSync system continually aligns the flight controller, camera and RTK module. Additionally, TimeSync ensures that the Phantom 4 RTK records factory-calibrated lense parameters alongside position, altitude and other data onto each photo, matching the positioning data to the center of the camera’s CMOS sensor and thus optimizing the results from photogrammetric methods.
- 1” 20 megapixel CMOS sensor – Every single camera lens goes through a rigorous calibration process where radial and tangential lens distortions are measured. The parameters are saved into each image’s metadata, letting post-processing software adjust uniquely for every user. Due to the high resolution, the Phantom 4 RTK can achieve a Ground Sample Distance (GSD) of 2.74 cm at 100 meters flight altitude.
- 720p video transmission – The Phantom 4 RTK’s OcuSync video transmission system enables a stable connection between the drone and its remote controller. The system features strong interference resistance. It delivers 720p video transmission feeds at a distance of up to 7km, which is ideal for mapping larger sites.
- Flight time up to 30 minutes – The flight time of up to 30 minutes allows pilots to complete long missions without having to land the drone to change batteries. Even if the area is too large to map on a single battery charge, the Operation Resumption function of the GS RTK App automatically resumes the mission after the battery has been replaced.
- Mobile SDK supported – The Phantom 4 RTK is compatible with the DJI Mobile SDK, opening up its functions to automation and customization through a mobile device.
- Flight planning app – A new GS RTK app allows pilots to intelligently control their Phantom 4 RTK with two planning modes – Photogrammetry and Waypoint Flight – alongside a more traditional flight mode.
- Seamless compatibility with D-RTK 2 Mobile Station – The Phantom 4 RTK is compatible with the D-RTK 2 Mobile Station, providing real-time differential data to the drone and forming an accurate surveying solution. The Mobile Station’s rugged design and OcuSync transmission system ensure users can gain centimeter-level accurate data with their Phantom 4 RTK even in challenging conditions.
For a complete and detailed summary of all features and specs, visit the Phantom 4RTK spec sheet.
Order the Phantom 4 RTK from DJI
The retail price of a Phantom 4 RTK is €5,700 ($6,598.10 USD), which includes the drone, remote controller, two intelligent flight batteries, one remote controller intelligent battery, charger hubs for both types of batteries, power adapter and cable, four propeller pairs, and accessories. The retail price of a D-RTK 2 Mobile Station is €3,600 ($4,167.22 USD). The retail price of a bundle, including Phantom 4 RTK and D-RTK 2 Mobile Station is €7,800 ($9,028.98 USD).
The Phantom 4 RTK and D-RTK 2 Mobile Station are available now through authorized DJI Enterprise dealers worldwide. Shipping for Phantom 4 RTK starts from October 2018 and for the D-RTK 2 Mobile Station from November 2018. To order the Phantom 4 RTK, please fill out the form at www.dji.com/phantom-4-rtk.
Phantom 4 RTK in Action
German construction group STRABAG has been utilizing drone technology for several mapping projects since 2010, assessing the benefits of using aerial data for 3D modeling to reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. The latest tool-of-choice for their operations is the DJI Phantom 4 RTK.
Watch how STRABAG leverages this innovative drone solution to streamline construction surveying workflows, increase efficiency and create detailed 3D models in the video below.