In order for Skydio to capture the underside of a structure, such as a bridge or an interior roof, you must ensure the height of the drone is set below the Surface. This is called a 2D Upward Capture

Quick Steps

  1. Begin the 2D Capture scan setup as normal by setting your Scan Surface
  2. Pilot your drone below the Surface, then select Set Height to Current

By selecting Set Height to Current, Skydio will automatically move the camera Gimbal pitch to look up when it detects the height of the drone is below the specified scan Surface.

[info] 2D Upward Capture is compatible with geofencing as well as when scanning in indoor or GPS-denied environments. [/info] 

Best practices and recommendations

Enable Stop for Photo when scanning the underside of a structure in low-lit environments. 
When scanning narrow bridges, set your pillars underneath or at the edge of the bridge. Doing so will help the drone relocalize during multi-battery scans. 
When scanning homogenous surfaces, such as solid steel or concrete structures, we recommend increasing your Distance to Surface (about 16 ft / 5 m). Scanning too close to such structures may result in difficulties when creating a reconstruction. 
For Skydio X2 Color/Thermal users, we highly recommend a Distance to Surface of about 32 ft (10 m)

[caution] If you are flying with a Skydio X2 Color/Thermal camera, please note that pointing a thermal camera into direct sunlight may cause permanent damage to the sensor. [/caution] 

Bridge use case example


The example image above shows a proper setup to capture the underside of the bridge.

  • After setting the scan Surface in this scenario, you must then pilot your drone so that the height is below the scan Surface
  • Select Set Height to Current. You may only adjust the height using the slider after you have selected Set Height to Current
  • The gimbal angle will automatically look up to capture the underside of the bridge


In the example image above, the user has set the Surface to cover the bridge deck, and the altitude of the drone is above the scan Surface.

  • In this scenario, the Height can be set one of two ways: using the Height slider or by flying to the desired altitude and selecting Set Height to Current
  • The gimbal angle will automatically look down to capture the bridge deck
  • Using the Set Height to Current feature is not a requirement when capturing the top of a bridge

Recommendations for DroneDeploy reconstructions

To process a successful 3D model of a 2D Upward Capture, ensure you select Vertical Model:

  1. Create or open a project in DroneDeploy
  2. Set the scan location on the map
  3. Select the Upload tab located at the top of the screen
  4. Select New Upload
  5. Select Vertical Model
  6. Upload your scan photos 

Explore More

Explore related articles for additional information
How to use 2D Capture with 3D Scan
3D Scan Settings Overview
How to create 3D reconstructions



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