Rapidly cover large areas with 2D Capture scans. 2D Capture is a planar scanning capability that captures imagery for orthomosaic models. This mode supports traditional capture patterns, but with superior obstacle avoidance and the 3D Surface Engine for accurate localization even in GPS-denied environments.

2D Capture is best for wide, flat area mapping. Use 2D Capture when you need a 2D orthomosaic map of areas such as accident sites or farmland. Recommended for area scans up to 400 ft (120 m) in altitude.

Quick Steps

To use 2D Capture you will need to change the operating mode from Skills to 3D Scan. The operating mode will persist through power cycles.

To change operating modes: 

Step 1 - Connect to Skydio 2

Navigate to Device Settingsicons8-settings-24.png > Drone > Vehicle Mode

Step 2 - Select 3D Scan select_3d.jpg

Step 3 - Select Reboot

    • reboot in progress  - takes about one minute
    • Skydio 2 will connect to your controller and mobile device
    • ensure your Logs Card has been formatted before starting a scan
Step 4 - Select Start Scan and Agree to the disclaimer, acknowledging that you will comply with all relevant laws and FAA regulations. 


Before you fly:

    • GPS will be required for scans higher than 65 ft (20 m). 
    • You may redo any steps in the workflow. Doing so will reset the steps you have already completed and discard any media that has been captured. You will not be charged for discarded media.

To use 2D Capture:

To complete the workflow you will be required to select buttons displayed in the app. When available the in-app button will give you the option to use the controller's right or left shoulder button instead. left_right.jpg

Step 1 -

    • select Scan Mode 2D Capture
    • select Begin

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: 2D_Capture__2021-05-20T19-50-55.135854+00-00

Step 3 - Launch

Select and hold the LAUNCH button to begin your flight.

    • the drone will automatically climb to  16 ft (5 m) and hover

Step 4 - Set Rally Point

Skydio 2 will return to the Rally Point:

    • mission complete
    • low battery
    • lost connection 

Use Launch Point - Skydio 2 will return to the take-off location

Set Manually - manually pilot the drone to a new location

    • the Rally Point should be clear of obstruction and close to the scan region

Step 5 - Set Scan Floor

    • the lowest most limit of the volume of the scan
    • the scan floor will be set in the Visual Geofence and the Edge Model Viewer as well
    • a ground launch will automatically set the scan floor to ground level
    • a full-screen view of the Floor AR will display allowing you to either drag the orange dot or fly to set the scan floor

drag the orange dot or fly to set the Floor 

The Scan Floor is set to 6.5 ft (2 m) below the Launch Point by default. If taking off from the ground—the ground will be included in your scan.

Move Floor – relocates the Scan Floor to the current altitude of the drone

    • select to adjust scan floor

Done – sets the scan floor

Level – adjusts the camera gimbal pitch to 0°

Reset – sets the scan floor back to default

Step 6 - Set Scan Ceiling 

    • the uppermost limit of the volume of the scan
    • the scan ceiling will be set in the Visual Geofence and the Edge Model Viewer as well
    • the scan ceiling should be set above the structure you plan to scan
    • the scan ceiling is set to 9.8 ft (3 m) above the Launch Point or 16 ft (5 m) above the Floor
    • a full-screen view of the ceiling AR will display allowing you to either drag the green dot or fly to set the scan ceiling

Move Ceiling – Moves the location of the Ceiling to the current altitude of the drone 

Done – Proceeds to the next step

Level – Moves the camera gimbal pitch to 0°

Reset – Sets the Ceiling to 16 ft (5 m) above the user-defined Floor 

Step 7 - Set Lateral Pillar Boundaries

    • set AR pillars to encompass the area to be scanned. The pillars bound the area laterally. It will also define the lateral area of your reconstructed model in the Edge Model Viewer. 
    • to set pillars, fly to the desired location and select Set Pillar.

    • continue placing pillars until the desired structure is encompassed. A minimum of 3 pillars must be set to create an area boundary.


Set Pillar – adds a new boundary pillar

Undo – removes the previous boundary pillar

Done – establishes the set boundary or your scan

Edges of the polygon defined by the pillars must not cross each other.


TIP: Try adjusting the camera gimbal angle for a better view of where you are placing pillars. 

Step 8 - Set AR Observer

Set the perspective from which you will observe the progress of your scan in augmented reality (AR). The white lines denote the planned path of the drone. 

There are two ways to set the AR Observer perspective:

Review Suggestion (recommended) - Skydio 2 will fly to the ceiling of the pillar closest to the takeoff position. The drone will then face the structure (the centroid of the AR polygon-prism).

Set Manually - pilot the drone to your preferred vantage point and choose a spot that provides you with the best situational awareness for monitoring the scan’s progress. 

    • For best performance fly no more than 10 m from the scan volume and tightly frame the structure. Fill the frame vertically or horizontally. 
    • The AR Observer point is used to reorient the drone after completing a battery swap and resuming the scan. Ensure the drone has a clear path between the Launch Point, Rally Point (if set manually), and AR Observer point.  
    • Toggle ChangeViewButton.png to switch between the static AR Observer image and the drone’s camera feed at any time during the scan.

Step 9 - Review or Edit Settings

View a summary of your scan settings:

    • scan time estimate
    • number of batteries required
    • total number of photos

Review your current settings and make any edits before the scan begins. Scan settings will impact the total flight time, the number of photos, and the required number of batteries. 


Scan settings persist across scans. Select the Reset button in the top right corner to restore default settings. 

Set Altitude to Current will set the scan altitude to the drone’s current height.

Once your settings are finalized, you may select Begin Scan and Skydio 2 will begin autonomously scanning the structure. 

Step 10 - Select Begin Scan and Skydio 2 will begin autonomously scanning the structure.

While Skydio 2 autonomously scans the structure, you may optionally toggle on the AR Coverage Mesh pasted_image_0.png to monitor the photo coverage progress of the scan.  

Your scan may require using several batteries to complete. For more information, read How to 3D Scan using multiple batteries.

    • AR Coverage Mesh - option to toggle on to monitor the photo coverage progress of the scan 
    • the scan may require several batteries to complete, visit How to 3D Scan using multiple batteries for more information.
    • pause scan - at any point during your scan select the pause pause.png icon a photo count will display
    • while paused - you can manually capture photos select the capture button
    • resume scan - select the play.png icon
    • skip next capture point - select skip

Step 11 - Scan Complete

Upon completion of the scan Skydio 2 will return to the Scan Start Point

    • select to start a new scan or return to the Launch
    • starting a new scan will prompt you with an option to save or discard the scan you just completed

Select Save and wait for the drone to complete post-flight tasks

    • This ensures that media is grouped by scan and is available in the Skydio Edge Model Viewer.
    • Do not remove the battery or power off during post-flight tasks. Doing so will result in a loss of data. 
    • Post-flight tasks will display Processing Scan>Task Queue>Calibrating
    • Do not power off or disconnect from the drone until you return to the Ready to Fly screen. 

Explore More

Explore related articles for additional information

How to scan using multiple batteries

3D Scan Settings Overview

How to set the AR Observer in 3D Scan

Accessing 3D Scan Data


If you have questions or need additional support—feel free to reach out! Skydio Support



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