From the beginning, Pix4D has led the way in innovation and technology development in the drone mapping field. They offer a number of industry-specific software package options, aimed at meeting the unique needs of industries such as agriculture, surveying and construction, emergency response, and more. Two such packages are Pix4Dreact and Pix4Dmapper.
This is the mapping package developed specifically with the needs and unique challenges of first responders in mind. It offers the unparalleled advantage of quick turn-around times, with the ability to turn aerial images into 2D orthomosaic maps in a matter of minutes. And the lightweight software can do all of the image processing on a mid-range computer, without the need for an Internet connection for cloud processing.
Emergency responders and public safety organizations are often faced with the challenge of being in quickly evolving situations where rapid decision-making and accurate information are essential. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and fires create a rapidly changing, and often unrecognizable landscape where existing maps of the area may be less than useful. In such cases where up-to-date data can mean the difference between life and death to many individuals, and a timely response is crucial, a map that can be produced, from start to finish, in less than half an hour is a huge asset allowing emergency responders to make informed decisions.
In situations where the terrain may not be impacted, but where rapid response and up-to-date, accurate information is crucial, the fast mapping made possible by Pix4Dreact can also save lives and greatly aid the work of emergency responders. These situations might include search and rescue missions, incidents of human displacement, and tactical planning efforts. Pix4D offers the ability to do all image processing right on a computer, without needing internet access for cloud processing. This means that getting from images to maps can happen faster, and operators can have a finished product in hand without ever needing to leave the field, allowing them to stay connected with developments on the ground.
Pix4Dreact Turnaround Time
One of the biggest advantages of Pix4Dreact is the fast turnaround time. The entire process, from the time of launching a drone, to having a finished map in hand can be accomplished in less than half an hour. Simply set a pre-programmed flight plan through the Pix4Dcapture app and launch the drone flight. Once landed, download images to the desktop, and see the finished map in minutes. The precise time will depend on the image size and number, but take for example a map made from 518 images, that took a mere 16 minutes to process. Finished maps are pdf files small enough to easily share via email with other emergency response personnel on the rescue team.
Pix4Dreact Compatible Aircraft and Sensors
Pix4Dreact software is compatible with a wide range of image sources and UAS aircraft, being limited, however, to primarily RGB imagery.
A few aircrafts that are well suited to providing images for Pix4Dreact processing are: Phantom 4 RTK and Phantom 4 Pro, the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual (RGB only) and Mavic 2 Advanced, the Matrice 300 series drones, and the Matrice 600. It should be noted that with the Matrice models, the compatibility of the images is dependent on an RGB sensor.
The following sensors from DJI are compatible with Pix4Dreact software: Zenmuse X3, Zenmuse X4S, and Zenmuse X5S. Multispectral and thermal sensors such as the Zenmuse XT are not compatible.
Pix4Dreact software is also a good fit for images from the eBee, again, dependent on the sensor in use. The AeriaX, S.O.D.A., S.O.D.A. Corridor, and S.O.D.A. 3D sensors are all compatible, as are RGB images from the senseFly Duet T. Parrot ANAFI images are also compatible with Pix4Dreact.
Pix4Dreact Price Point
There are several pricing options for access to Pix4Dreact software. Monthly subscriptions start at about $39 per month, or you can purchase a yearly subscription for around $390 per year. A perpetual license is also available, starting at $990.
Pix4Dreact is a pared down version of Pix4Dmapper, and as such, it does have certain limitations. Intended to create maps as quickly as possible, the finished maps are not the same quality as those produced by more advanced mapping software programs. Maps are 2D only, not intended to provide the survey-grade, volume-measuring capabilities of a 3D map. They offer accurate, reliable, and measurable information on landscapes and terrain, but lack the finesse and ultra-sharp high definition image quality that you would get from a map produced through Pix4Dmapper.
Mapper vs. React
Pix4Dmapper is a much more sophisticated mapping software program than Pix4Dreact. It is capable of producing higher quality, and more versatile maps. For example, Pix4Dmapper has the ability to produce maps from almost any type of sensor, including RGB, thermal or multispectral, whereas Pix4Dreact is optimized for use with RGB cameras.
Pix4Dmapper can generate 3D maps, and is not limited to the 2D maps created through Pix4Dreact. These 3D maps provide the ability to measure not only distances and areas, but also volume, and extract elevation profile data and conduct virtual inspections. Pix4Dmapper offers unparalleled, sub-centimeter accuracy, making it suitable for surveying and construction applications where absolute precision is required.
Pix4Dmapper Price Point
With more advanced capabilities comes a higher price tag, with a monthly subscription to Pix4Dmapper starting at around $292/month (when billed annually). A perpetual license is available for $4,990. It should be noted that the monthly subscription includes the option for cloud processing, visualization and sharing, whereas the perpetual license only offers desktop processing and data access.
Pix4Dmapper Compatible Aircraft and Sensors
Pix4Dmapper offers the added advantage of having an even broader range of compatibility than that of Pix4Dreact. All of the aircraft and sensors that are compatible with Pix4Dreact (listed above) are also compatible with Pix4Dmapper (with the single caveat that images from the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, while compatible, are not recommended). Expanding on that list however, thermal and multispectral images can be processed with Pix4Dmapper. For example, images from the Zenmuse XT, MicaSense RedEdge-MX and MicaSense RedEdge-MX Dual, and MicaSense Altum are compatible, in addition to the senseFly S.O.D.A. 3D sensor.
Fixed Wing Drone Mapping
For mapping needs that include coverage of large land areas, one unbeatable option is a fixed-wing drone such as the senseFly eBee X . Unlike with the quadcopter and other multirotor drone designs, the eBee X can cover extensive areas of land, up to 500 ha (1,235 ac), due to its extended flight time capacity of up to 90 minutes.
With flight planning tools for high-precision results, and a compatible sensor for any application, the eBee X is a great fit for a range of industrial uses. Image and map accuracy is ensured through the High-Precision on Demand feature that enables you to achieve absolute accuracy of down to 3 cm (1.2 in), even without ground control points. Image compatibility with Pix4Dmapper and DroneDeploy makes it easy to turn images collected with the eBee X into valuable maps and models.
- Solar inspection
One ideal application for a fixed-wing drone such as the eBee X is inspection of solar arrays, which can often cover large amounts of land. The eBee X can easily cover the entire solar array in a single flight, in a fraction of the time it would take a multirotor to cover the same area. A sensor such as the senseFly Duet T, which includes a dual thermal/visual sensor can easily identify hotspots or areas of concern.
For industrial applications that involve significant earth-moving works such as mining, quarries, and construction sites, a record of the changing landscape over time is essential. Repeat flights over the same area are simplified by good flight planning tools, and made more efficient with a drone that can cover the territory quickly. The eBee X fits the bill, and can provide the kind of quality images necessary to create 3D models for volume measurement of stockpiles, etc.
- Golf courses
The intensive work of golf course management can easily be enhanced with a drone to quickly cover the entire course to monitor the health of the turf and condition of other features. A multispectral sensor on the eBee X can gather information on the condition of the grass in different areas of the course. The eBee X allows flights to be completed in less time, an important time-saver when flights covering the large area included in a golf course need to be performed routinely.