Webinar | Getting started with UgCS flight planning

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UgCS: Flight Planning & Control
December 3, 2021

UgCS is a UAV mission planning and flight control software solution designed by SPH Engineering team to meet the demands of professional drone pilots and surveyors around the world. Supporting most popular UAV platforms, UgCS allows precise flight planning and execution over complex surfaces, terrain following, and map customization. Additionally, UgCS allows completing the surveys even when offline.


  • Connecting your drone
  • Flight planning with terrain following using:
  1. Waypoints
  2. Surveys (photogrammetry, area scan)
  3. Corridor mapping
  4. Vertical inspections
  • Route import from KML / CSV
  • Route export to KML, allowing routes created in UgCS to be imported and used in DJI Pilot
  • Route management
  • Using custom maps and digital elevation models (DEM)
  • Tips for using UgCS offline
  • Q&A


Q: Do you plan on supporting DJI Mavic 3 in UgCS?
A: Mavic 3 support is definitely planned in our roadmap.

Q: Is there an option to plan photogrammetry according to an exact altitude instead of GSD?
A: In Photogrammetry - no. For this, you can use the Area Scan tool along with "Set camera by distance/time action".

Q: Which forward and side overlap are you recommending when creating DEMs? is activating double grid necessary/recommended?
A: Usually the higher overlap, the better but this will sacrifice the area you can cover in a single flight. Double grid is not always necessary.

Q: Does the lidar version support terrain following?
A: Yes! All LiDAR missions planned with UgCS support terrain following.

Q: Can UgCS be installed on M300 Smart Controller or do I need an additional tablet?
A: Yes. It can be installed on M300 Remote Controller. 

Q: Is it compatible with iOS devices?
A: Yes, but note that future development of iOS version of UgCS for DJI is suspended. We recommend to use the Android version of UgCS for DJI to ensure full functionality of UgCS.

Q: Connection to Pixhawk Cube is via RFD900 long range modem?
A: Yes, you can use radio data links to connect MAVLink-based vehicles to UgCS.

Q: Can I plan a figure 8 without being connected to the drone? I can't seem to get the Telemetry window open without being connected to the drone.
A: You may plan it during mission planning, using 2x circles figures. And you are able to perform 8 or U calibration figure during flight (pattern button on the right side in UgCS)

Q: Can UgCS break up a large mission into smaller missions?
A: Yes, it is possible to use the split route option to divide a larger mission into smaller segments.

Q: Doing environmental measurements we do flight mission at one point vertical upward up to a few hundred meters. We need to climb at a speed of 1 m/s for example. So is the speed the resulting speed between two points? Or does the copter climb with the same speed as horizontal?
A: Currently it's not possible to specify an exact vertical speed for most mission segments except facade scan. So if you need the drone to maintain an exact vertical speed while making measurements, it would be good to use the facade scan tool for this.

Q: I'm having trouble with M300 connection since it has no mobile hotspot. How can I connect the smart controller in the field with my computer? Should I create a hotspot in a cellphone and connect both the smart controller and PC to that network?
A: Yes, you can create a hotspot on your smartphone or use a mobile router.

Q: When planning LiDAR routes it's not clear when the calibration command is done in the planning software and apparently it needs to be created when the drone is started? Why not create the calibration command while on the mission planning and export the mission to the smart controller?
A: With UgCS 4.6, which will be released towards the end of December, one of the new features will be a calibration segment. So it's coming very soon!

Q: When I have no cell service I cannot create a hotspot from my phone. How do you work around this?
A: There is no need for internet connection if map is cached on UgCS, you just need to have in one network your laptop and smartphone (for UgCS for DJI ) or on the smart controller

Q: Can you export a mission to KML?
A: You can export routes to KML, but not missions since they usually contain multiple routes.

Q: What about the use of off-line maps?
A: You can click anywhere on the map with right mouse button, and choose "offline map" - map (and elevation) within a radius of 1 km will be downloaded for offline use.

Q: Do you support Phantom 4 Multispectral?
A: Yes, with SDK controller.

Q: Can you turn off terrain following?
A: Absolutely. Instead of planning your flights in AGL altitude, you have the option to plan them in AMSL altitude as well, which will ignore any changes in terrain elevation.

Q: Does terrain following work in waypoint segments or only in area scan segments?
A: Terrain following in UgCS works with all flight planning tools. This is done simply by choosing the altitude type - AGL when planning the flight.

Q: Can you please touch on the waypoint limitations for DJI drones, along with how to deal with longer missions that require battery changes?
A: We are not able to change DJI limit on 99 waypoints. But we have the option of resume the route.

Q: You can connect to a network that has no internet, you won't have internet access but you'll still be in the same network. To my understanding that's what UGCS needs.
A: Right, need to have laptop and UgCS for DJI (on a SC or smartphone) in the same network.

Q: Can you please show how and why you need to add a starting and an ending waypoint?
A: While it's not required to add a waypoint before and after the area scan (or other survey segment), doing so allows to specify from which corner should the flight start. And the ending waypoint simply makes the drone return back by itself. But you can also either fly it back manually or use the Return Home.

Q: Can we add LiDAR scanner in cameras (payload)?
A: DJI L1 is added as payload in UgCS. If you have another lidar scanner, data recording start and finish should be performed on scanner. This can either be done manually or by adding a LiDAR recording action.

Q: How can we change the minimum interval between shots for a camera?
A: This can be changed in the payload profile settings.

Q: What is the difference of using the "auto" mode of "set camera by time" and "set camera by distance"?
A: Automatic interval is calculated in accordance with the GSD.

Q: What’s the reference for the ground elevation?
A: UgCS is using the SRTM 90m Digital Elevation Database. Based on SRTM 2.0 by NASA.

Q: Can you have the software pick up the home point set by DJI?
A: If in route parameters you choose "Do Not Modify" as the option under home location options, then UgCS will not override the default home point set by DJI.

Q: Can I connect macOS with Matrice 300?
A: Yes, UgCS running on macOS can be connected to Matrice 300 in the same way as when it is running on Windows - by connecting the smart controller and computer running UgCS on the same network.

Q: How is my route transmitted from desktop app to the drone? Cable connection, wifi, or online?
A: The route is transmitted from UgCS to UgCS for DJI via Wi-Fi. So, both devices must be in the same network. This does not mean that you need internet for this, this can be done even when offline.

Q: What happens when the DJI returns home when the battery gets low?
A: You can continue your route with a new battery by continuing from the last point where your drone left off.

Q: During battery swaps, is specifying the survey resume waypoint required or does auto mode remember the last waypoint and proceed from there after the swap?
A: It depends on the drone. For most DJI drones it remembers the exact point where the flight was stopped and you can resume from there.

Q: Is it possible to plan a mission in 3D around a building?
A: Yes, you can use the Facade Scan tool for this. Moreover, UgCS supports 3D building import (in .kmz format)

Q: What is the resolution of the height information on the map? And how precise is it?
A: UgCS is using the SRTM 90m Digital Elevation Database. Based on SRTM 2.0 by NASA.

Q: Also, is there a waypoint limit, or is it unlimited? As many as are required for large missions is possible?
A: The maximum number of waypoints depends on the drone you are using. For many DJI autopilots, the limit is 99 waypoints. But for flight planning UgCS does not impose any limit of waypoints.

Q: Is horizontal facade scan better than vertical from your experience?
A: It depends on circumstances. If there is a high building it is more efficient to flight vertically. If it is a wider building, it is better to plan a horizontal flight.

Q: What is the purpose of AGL Tolerance parameter?
A: It helps to maintain an exact distance to the ground even when the terrain elevation is changing.

Q: Is there a way to add 3D buildings from google earth?
A: UgCS supports the import of *.KMZ files. 

Q: Is it possible to set a timer to stop the drone on a route point for scanning purposes?
A: Yes, you can use the Wait action for this.

Q: Is it possible to plan a flight using one custom DEM, such as a DTM, then load another DEM (such as DSM) to view the original flight without changing AGL values? Would be helpful for verifying avoiding trees/buildings?
A: Yes, you can do this either by locking the route after it has been calculated or by converting it to AMSL altitude.

Q: Does vertical datum for custom DEM matter?
A: AGL is relative to the DEM, not the takeoff point. But UgCS uploads routes with altitude relative to the takeoff point (let's call it RAW altitude). To resolve a RAW altitude of each waypoint UgCS uses ground elevation (from the DEM) at takeoff point.

Q: What is the file format of elevation data? Are there any size limits?
A: UgCS supports DEM import in GeoTif (.tif) format. 

Q: Can we go over best practices when it comes from transferring a mission planned on a PC, but actually use it on a laptop in the field? Is there an ability to sync between laptop and PC?
A: You can either export the mission from one computer and import it into the other one or you can synchronize the flight plan to the mobile device, meaning that it will not be necessary to use the laptop in the field.

Q: If the DJI remote controller loses the link to the drone, will the drone finish the mission or return home?
A: This can be configured in route parameters. You can choose to either have the drone continue the mission if the RC is lost, return home or use the default action configured in DJI settings.

Q: How can I add a waypoint to an existing segment of a route?
A: You can easily add a waypoint by selecting an existing mission segment and adding a waypoint after it. It will automatically be added after the chosen segment.

Q: Can I import a route from CSV?
A: Here is the information on CSV import.

Q: Do I need to use UgCS on a computer to do the figure-eight calibration during flight, or is that option also in the Android app I use when flying the mission?
A: Currently yes, you need to have the computer to perform LiDAR calibration. However, with UgCS 4.6 (coming later in December) you can plan this calibration as a part of the route, meaning that you will be able to start it from the mobile app.

Q: How can we change the minimum interval between camera shots?
A: You can adjust the minimum interval between shots in the camera profile in UgCS.

Q: Do you have to stay connected to the laptop?
A: You can save the mission on your mobile app and not even have to take the laptop out in the field. 

Q: Is it your expectation that the pilot uses a computer to fly? Because we use the smart controller and I shouldn't need a computer to fly the drone. Is there a way?
A: UgCS Desktop is used for flight planning. For flying it is sufficient to only use the mobile device / smart controller. 

Q: Can we create a custom map using a photogrammetry tool?
A: Yes, you can create a custom map using the Photogrammetry tool. This map can then be stitched together using a solution such as UgCS Mapper and imported back into UgCS.

Q: Is it possible to add 2 sensors eg. Sony A6000 with MICASENSE REDEDGE at once and set parameters for each camera individually?
A: You can have both of these payloads added to the drone profile but only one of them can be chosen simultaneously.

Q:Do you support RTK GPS?
A: RTK feature is supported by UgCS

Q: Can I use fixed wing drones?
A: Yes, it is possible to plan missions for fixed wing drones in UgCS.

Q: Can I export the mission and then fly it with DJI Pilot?
A: Yes, you can export your mission to a KML file and then import it and fly it with DJI Pilot.

Q: Does UgCS support NTRIP RTK?
A: Yes, we do have support for NTRIP RTK. Please reach out to support@ugcs.com for more details.

Q: Is this compatible with iOS?
A: UgCS Desktop is compatible with Windows and macOS. We do have mobile applications for Android and iOS that allow you to connect your DJI drones to UgCS.

Q: In an area scan - does the number of waypoints depend on the area size and side distance?
A: In an area scan mission - yes, it is automatically calculated based on chosen border points, side distance, altitude, and direction angle of survey lines.

Q: Is there a waypoint limit of how many can be created?
A: In UgCS - no. Some drones can have a limit of how many waypoints can be uploaded simultaneously. But this just means that you will need to upload the mission in multiple parts.

Q: Is UTM coordinate system available in UgCS?
A: No, currently we are using WSG84 coordinate system.

Q: Do we need a computer with UgCS during the flight or do we can fly only using a tablet with the app?
A: You don't need to have UgCS laptop open during the flight. As long as you download the mission on the tablet / mobile device before the flight (can also be done in the office), it will be saved. Then, when you get to the field, just open it up on the mobile device, upload, and fly.

Q: Can I export the mission and then fly it with DJI Pilot?
A: Yes, you can export a route from UgCS as KML file and then fly it with DJI Pilot.

Q: How is it possible to add midway points in a survey?
A: Midway points in a survey mission are added automatically if the mission is planned on an uneven surface. The amount of points added can be adjusted by changing the "AGL Tolerance" parameter.