Map Capture gives you the ability to preplan your flight using a top-down map view. Navigate to the scan location on the map and place area bounds to outline the area. Your drone will fly in a lawnmower pattern to capture the scene.

Use Map Capture when you need to scan large areas, such as rail yards, solar farms, or large construction sites.

[note] Map Capture is available with the baseline Skydio X10 software and no additional purchase is needed. For a 3D Scan license, contact Skydio Sales. [/note]

Switch Modes

Before starting a scan, you will need to change the operating mode from Skills to 3D Scan. The operating mode will persist through power cycles.

[note] Ensure you have two microSD cards before flying. For more information, visit How to install SD cards for Skydio 3D Scan. [/note]

Step 1 - Enter 3D Scan Flight Mode

Power on your drone and controller. Select Switch Mode. A menu will pop out from the right side displaying available Flight Modes.


Step 2 - Select 3D Scan

Select 3D Scan and confirm reboot.

Skydio will automatically restart. This should take about one minute. After rebooting, the drone will automatically reconnect to your controller.

Step 3 - Begin flight

After Skydio has finished entering 3D Scan mode, you are ready to fly.

Ensure your Logs Card has been formatted before starting a scan. If you have not yet done so, a notification will display in the app.

Select Fly Now and select Agree to the disclaimer, acknowledging that you will comply with all relevant laws and regulations.

[note] You must exit 3D Scan to regain access to Flight Skills. To exit, first land the drone. Navigate back to the Gate Screen and change the Flight Mode to Skills. [/note]

Before you fly

  • GPS is required in this scan mode.
  • If you will be scanning in locations that do not have an internet-enabled Wifi connection, you must import the map beforehand.
  • Previously downloaded maps will automatically load when you select Map Capture as your scan mode.
  • If needed, you can move backwards and re-do any steps in the workflow. Doing so will reset the steps you have already completed and discards any media that has been captured.
Setting Default

Gimbal angle

90° unless Crosshatch is enabled



Speed 11.2 mph (5 m/s)

Scan Setup

Step 1 - Select Scan Mode

Select Map Capture


Step 2 - Name Scan Site (optional)

The default scan name is composed of the scan mode you select followed by a UTC timestamp. Renaming the scan will replace the scan mode.

Ex: Map_Capture__2021-05-20T19-50-55.135854+00-00


[note] Scan names must use American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) characters. Unicode characters such as à, é, â, ü, ö, ä and the following symbols are not supported: < > : ; , \\ | ? * & $ { } ` “ [/note]

Step 3 - Set Boundary Points

By default, a 328 ft x 328 ft (100m x 100m) polygon will automatically appear on your screen. Adjust the boundary points by dragging the green dots to surround the area you wish to scan.

  • Move the entire polygon around the map using the arrows
  • Add more boundary points by tapping the plus (+) on the white lines
  • Press and hold a boundary point to remove it

By default, GPS coordinates are visible on the map view. When enabled, coordinates are shown for the:

  • Launch Point
  • Crosshair
  • Location of the drone

To enable or disable GPS coordinates on the map view navigate to Global Settings > Display > select the toggle to enable Crosshair Coordinates.



Step 4 - Review or Edit Scan Settings

You must have at least five photos to begin a scan.

In a Map Capture, the Height is relative to the launch.

  • The blue line shows the path the drone will take during the scan.
  • This will refresh to show an updated version of the planned flight path when you adjust settings, such as enabling Crosshatch or Perimeter

Editing the scan settings will impact the total flight time, the number of photos, and the required number of batteries.



[note] The camera gimbal pitch represents the angle below the horizon. [/note]

Photo Settings

You can also adjust your camera settings, including color and thermal camera settings, at this stage. Select the Color or Thermal camera icons on the right side of your screen to access your photo settings.

After this step, you will not be able to adjust the following camera settings while scanning:

  • Camera Mode (Full or 1/4 Resolution)
  • Enabling or disabling thermal JPG or RJPG files
  • Enabling or disabling DNG files
  • Changing Field of View (FOV): Wide vs Narrow (VT300-L only)

If you plan to process your thermal images in an external tool, you must enable RJPG files. Navigate to Thermal Camera > Settings and toggle on RJPG. This will ensure your drone captures radiometric JPG files.

You cannot capture thermal images by themselves. The following two file combinations are available:

  • RGB files and Thermal JPG files
  • RGB files and Thermal JPG + RJPG files
  • If RJPG is enabled, you will also capture thermal JPG

[tip] Check out Comparing Skydio X10 sensor packages for 3D Scan to learn more about photo settings, or Capture settings overview for more information on Map Capture settings. [/tip]

Thermal Settings

The thermal camera has a different Field of View (FOV) compared to the color (RGB) camera. Due to this, the Overlap, Sidelap, and GSD (Distance to Surface slider) values for the thermal camera and the color camera are different within the same scan. The values in the workflow pane on the right represent the color camera settings.
You will see a summary of the thermal (IR) setting values displayed on the bottom of the live camera feed

If you are conducting a thermal scan and want a higher Overlap/Sidelap or GSD, increase these settings in the workflow pane until you reach your desired values.

When reconstructing a thermal-only scan, we recommend at least 80/80 Overlap/Sidelap for the thermal sensor.

Once your settings are finalized, you may select Begin Scan and Skydio will begin autonomously scanning.

Step 5 - Launch and Begin Scan

Drag the on-screen slider or press and hold the Launch/Land button on your controller to begin
your flight.

The drone will rotate 360° and hover.

The planned flight path will turn from blue to green as the scan progresses.

  • Use the Picture-in-Picture (PIP) in the bottom left to switch between the map view and the live camera feeds

You may pause at any point during your scan.



Step 6 - Scan Complete

Upon completing the scan, Skydio will automatically fly laterally to the Launch Point at the scan Height.

When it reaches the Launch Point, it will descend until it is 16 ft (5 m) above the Launch Point.

After landing, you will see a summary of the scan and the option to save or discard the scan you completed.

  • Check Save to Scan Library to save this scan location and settings for future use



[caution] Do not remove the battery or power off during any post-flight tasks. Doing so will result in loss of data. Do not power off or disconnect from the drone until you return to the Begin Flight screen. [/caution]

Step 7 - Post-processing

After saving your scan, you will have the option to create a textured map. This is created onboard the drone

If you select No, you will still need to wait a few minutes for the drone to process your scan. This is an important step to ensure your media is grouped by scan and saved properly.

If you select Yes, your drone will first process your scan and then the Onboard Model. This will take several minutes.

  • Onboard Model creation uses HD thumbnails (1920x1440) and processes about 30 images per minute.
  • Model generation may take longer for larger scans (1000+ images)
  • If the battery is low and you are processing a large model, ensure the drone is plugged into a power source.

Once processing is complete select Exit or Review Scan to enter the Onboard Model Viewer.



Explore More

Example use case settings for scanning with Skydio X10

Comparing Skydio X10 sensor packages for 3D Scan

3D Scan capture settings overview with Skydio X10



Skydio Inc., A0514

Was this article helpful?