Setup A Low Cost Drone Mapping System

People interested in Drone Mapping & Modeling might come to realize quickly that things can become very expensive.  There are many platforms out there that produce outstanding 2D and 3D drone models.  Desktop solutions are available, as well as cloud based solutions too.  But the price…..?

Here at AZ Drone we’ve been working with a Mac Mini M1 since February of 2021.  The system was initially purchased for video editing, still photo editing, and content creation for YouTube and classes as well.

As I came to realize what a powerful little system the Mini was, I decided to experiment a little with the machine.  First I tested out Metashape on the Mini, and surprisingly enough, it worked.  I’ve rendered models with 500+ images, and Metashape has yielded extraordinary results.  Seeing the performance and ability to render models, I wanted to do more.

The next step was testing out WebODM on the Mac Mini.  WebODM is an open source modeling application, and is extremely low cost.  $57 will get you the installer for Mac.  And setup is fairly straightforward.

So, if you’re not looking to overspend on applications and hardware, the Mini and WebODM are a great place to start.  As you learn more about drone mapping you can consider higher end platforms later.  But for now, keeping costs low is the priority for new drone mappers.

Want to know more about the system setup?  Check out our YouTube video linked below.

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