The Best Drone Apps to download in 2021
Smartphones have quickly become one of the most powerful technology tools that we use in our everyday lives. From making calls, downloading apps to even tracking your sleeping pattern – they can do an awful lot. For us drone pilots, there is a whole potential of apps that we can download to boost our piloting experience. There are programs that inform you when you are at a no-fly zone, others that predict the sun’s place to have that perfect sunset shot, so let’s take a look at the top drone apps for 2021…
We asked the pilots in our private Facebook group what drone apps they would recommend to make flying easier. In this blog post, we will take you through each app and what it can do for you.
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One of the most popular answer from our Drone Pilots was the app ‘Dronedesk’. Dronedesk is a flight planning app that helps you stay compliant. Dronedesk users save around 56 minutes on every flight they plan using the application, rather than the traditional method of planning on pen and paper.
Dronedesk includes everything – and we mean everything – you need to manage your clients and plan your flights. It’s all built into a simple web application that you can access from any device anywhere you have a connection. The application uses industry standard data sources to make sure that you can plan your flight secure in the knowledge that you have the latest available data about the weather, NOTAMs, air and ground hazards for your flight area.
A whopping 78% of Dronedesk users said it now takes them 30 minutes or less to fully and compliantly plan a job. Say goodbye to hunting around the ‘net for all the data you need; airuser contact information, ATC phone numbers, weather forecasts, NOTAMs – the list goes on and on – Dronedesk does it all for you.
Dronedesk gives you three great options for flight logging:
- Enter your flight details manually
- Export logs from AirData and upload them right into Dronedesk
- Have Dronedesk auto-sync with Airdata. The algorithm will match each flight to jobs in the system, all you need to do is verify the link.
Whichever you chose, your CAA-compliant log report will be instantly exportable to PDF or Excel.
You get everything you need including; survey forms, six checklists, a comprehensive risk assessment which complies with CAA guidelines, air user contacts for everyone from ATCs to glider clubs, current NOTAMs, hourly weather forecasts, a site planning map (including ground and air hazard data from Altitude Angel UTM – the exact same data you get in the NATs and DJI apps!) and flight logging. You can find out more about Dronedesk here.
DJI Go 4
Another popular response was DJI Go 4. DJI Go 4 is an essential yet complex app for drone pilots flying DJI’s prosumer drones. It’s packed with so many features and settings, it can be challenging to understand what they all mean!
DJI Go 4 is an application available on iOS and Android used to provide a live video transmission feed from your drone to your smartphone. The following drones are compatible with DJI Go 4:
- Mavic Pro / Zoom
- Phantom 4
- Inspire 2
- Mavic Air
- Matrice 200
- Matrice 210 RTK
You configure many important settings within the application, including altering the flight characteristics of your drone, changing camera settings for capturing the best imagery possible, obstacle avoidance settings, and return to home settings for safe flying and safe landing.
Also included in the DJI Go 4 application are what DJI calls “Intelligent Flight Modes” and “Quick Shots.” These special flying modes allow you track moving objects, orbit around subjects, and capture other amazing shots.
DJI Go 4 is not required for flying all of these drones, as some can be flown using just the controller, but often flight altitude and maximum distance are limited without using the application. We recommend using DJI Go 4 for the best flying experience and for configuring important settings properly. You can download the DJI Go 4 app on android and iOS devices and find out more here.
When will it be the perfect conditions to fly your drone? See the weather forecast, GPS satellites, solar activity (Kp), No-Fly Zones and flight restrictions, all in one convenient tool – UAV Forecase. UAV Forecast is the original and classic tool for drone pilots. Suitable for both beginners and advanced pilots, recreational and commercial, features include:
- Hyperlocal weather data, including detailed wind and gust speeds at ground level and at any altitude.
- GPS satellite data including Galileo and GLONASS, solar weather (Kp) index, and more.
- Hourly forecasts up to 7 days.
- Automatic color-coded analysis of the conditions: green for Good To Fly, red for Not Good To Fly.
- Fully configurable thresholds.
- Light and Dark themes, with automatic switching at sunrise and sunset.
- Location search and Favourite Locations.
- Full tablet support.
Perfect for DJI Spark, Mavic, Mavic Pro, Inspire, Yuneec, Anafi, Ryze, Syma, 3DR, Parrot Bebop, and many other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and radio controlled aircraft. You can find out more information about UAV Forecast here.
Guardian – Altitude Angel
Flying a drone might look easy, but it takes some true skill and knowledge regulations your environment. Like driving, where there are rules of the road, there are also rules which need to be followed in the sky to ensure you and those around to stay safe. This free app will show you where you can and cannot fly, what you may need to look out for, what obstacles could be in the way and where you may need permission from third parties to fly your drone.
Founded in December 2014 by Richard Parker, Altitude Angel is an aviation technology company which creates global-scale solutions to enable the safe integration and use of fully autonomous drones into global airspace.
Using your location, Guardian supplements your normal due-diligence activities by displaying no-fly zones and ground hazards for a growing number of countries around the world, completely free of charge.
Whether you fly for fun, or professionally, Altitude Angel’s high-fidelity, accurate and authoritative data aims to help you plan your drone operations so that they can be conducted with greater respect for safety and privacy, while at the same time, reducing the time it takes. This app an be downloaded on all android and iOS devices. You can read more about Guardian here.
If you are a drone photographer and aren’t using PhotoPills – you need to get on board now! PhotoPills is your photography planning app. It helps you PLAN your photos ahead of time… so you’re always at the right place at the right time to capture the best photo possible.
It’s possible to plan sunset and sunrise photographs, which also helps you understand how much light you might have – taking your drone photography to the next level. The Planner pill currently includes Drone View, which permits you to program compositions according to your own flying altitude.
All in one app, you will get the following benefits:
- The First 2D Map-Centric Planner: Sun, Moon, Milky Way
- Sun, Moon Alignments Fast Finder
- 3D Augmented Reality: Sun, Moon, Milky Way, Celestial Equator and Polaris
- Photo Plans Manager
- Location Scouting Tool
- Key information: Sunrise/set, Twilights, Golden Hour, Blue Hour, Moonrise/set, Supermoon dates, Moon Calendar
- Calculators: Long Exposure, Timelapse, Spot Stars, Star Trails and Hyperfocal Table
- Widgets: Sun, Moon, Milky Way
- PhotoPills Awards for the best photography
You can find more information about PhotoPills here. It is available to download on all iOS and android voices. We are also holding a live webinar talking about our Ultimate Drone Photography package with photographer Daniel Hughes on Tuesday 9th of February at 14:00. You can sign up here.
Whether you are a professional or beginner, Litchi offers the most intuitive yet powerful waypoint mission engine. Their mission planner is available on all platforms including PC/Mac with seamless mission syncing across all your devices. With over 4000 successful daily flights, Litchi is the most trusted autonomous flight app for your DJI drone. You can download the Litchi app on both android and iOS devices. You can find out more about Litchi here.
The Litchi app is compatible with DJI Mavic Mini 1, Mavic 2 Zoom/Pro, Mavic Air/Pro, Phantom 4 Normal/Advanced/Pro/ProV2, Phantom 3 Standard/4K/Advanced/Professional, Inspire 1 X3/Z3/Pro/RAW, Inspire 2, Spark.
• Waypoint mode (support for Mavic Mini 1 coming soon)
Whether you are a professional or beginner, Litchi offers the most intuitive yet powerful waypoint mission engine. Our mission planner is available on all platforms including PC/Mac with seamless mission syncing across all your devices
• Panorama mode
Easily shoot horizontal, vertical and 360 spherical panoramas
• Track mode
With Litchi’s Track mode, your DJI drone now understands what it sees. Using state of the art computer vision algorithms, Litchi keeps your selection perfectly framed while you fly the drone. Don’t want to fly manually? That’s ok too, start an autonomous Orbit or Follow and watch Litchi take care of everything
• Follow mode
The drone follows your every move using the mobile device GPS and altitude sensors
• VR mode
By harnessing the power of your mobile phone, the Virtual Reality mode brings you the most immersive FPV experience. Watch your autonomous mission in VR mode, or fly manually for added thrills. Requires goggles sold separately
• Focus mode
Litchi assists you by taking control of both the gimbal and the drone’s yaw axis, so you can concentrate on horizontal movements
HOVER transforms smartphone photos of any property into a fully measured 3D model. Get detailed, accurate exterior measurements to the inch for the roof and all elevations from as few as 8 smartphone photos. It foundations on not just air traffic and your place concerning airports, national parks, and so on. It also considers wind and weather at your present site.
Trusted contractors and adjusters use HOVER to provide accurate and transparent estimates, eliminating extra trips to the job site, and removing human error. Now you can wow homeowners and help them understand their quotes by showing them real products like shingles, siding, or windows on their home, beautifully rendered in 3D.
Hover also includes flight-logging features that you can store and send to your own.
This attribute is not specific to Hover, but it means that you can avoid downloading still another program to log your flights. Both for iOS and android devices, this is among the best flight app for iPhone. You can find out more information about HOVER here.
Goodbye, tape measures. Hello, accuracy in 3D!
Tesla Field Recorder
This drone program does something that not many other programs do. It checks for magnetic fields. You might be asking yourself why this could be helpful.
This free app relies on the magnetometer sensor of your mobile device to transform your phone or tablet into a fun and easy to use metal detector/electromagnetic scanner. Since the app can be used to measure the presence of metallic objects as well as electromagnetic fields, it is a handy little tool for both experiments and research.
The compass on your drone employs magnetic fields, and when there is magnetic action at or close to where you are, you might have problems.
You can either use it for real-time scanning, or automatically record the measurements for a longer period of time, and then analyse the results at a later time.
This app is available on iOS devices only. You can read more about Tesla Field Recorder here.
Best drone apps for 2021
That concludes our top drone apps for 2021. I hope you’ve found a new app or two that will take your flights to the next level. This is an early list with lots of room to grow and mature – let us know if you want to discuss any other apps that you think should be on here.
If you are wanting to find out more about how you can utilise drone technology, contact us today and our team of experts will get you started.
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