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Frequently asked questions

What does Drone2Map for ArcGIS do?

Drone2Map for ArcGIS is a desktop app that turns raw still imagery from drones into stunning information products in ArcGIS. Now, with drone hardware becoming more accessible, you can create 2D and 3D maps of features and areas.

What is Drone2Map for ArcGIS? Is it an app, an ArcGIS Desktop extension, or something else?

It is a stand-alone 64-bit Windows desktop app that will run alongside ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro.

How do I try the software?

You can register for a free trial of Drone2Map through ArcGIS Marketplace or the free trial of ArcGIS.

Does Drone2Map for ArcGIS work only with a specific type of drone?

Drone2Map for ArcGIS is designed to be generic for all drones. There are two important details:

  1. The drone must collect latitude, longitude, and altitude. Most commercially available drones automatically add this information to the image metadata (the EXIF header of each image file), and this is read by Drone2Map.
  2. Drone2Map must also have information about the camera - specifically, the lens focal length and sensor size.

    Nearly all modern cameras are supported in an existing camera database, and this database is updated frequently, so any new cameras not currently in the database should be supported within a short timeframe. If your camera is not included in the database, Drone2Map will attempt to create the required information from information in the EXIF header.

Can Drone2Map for ArcGIS be used to create special imagery analysis products such as an NDVI for the agricultural markets?

Yes, multispectral cameras are supported and will automatically create NDVI products to quickly assess crop health.

How will the resulting imagery products be stored so I can share them on ArcGIS Online? Will it be expensive?

The imagery products created by Drone2Map for ArcGIS are stored and shared as tile layers and scene layers on ArcGIS Online. They are inexpensive to store. For example, the tile layer of the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens requires 85 MB of storage.

How do I share 3D files created by Drone2Map for ArcGIS?

Drone2Map for ArcGIS produces a new file type called a scene layer package that can be consumed by other ArcGIS apps such as ArcGIS Earth. It functions similarly to a tile package.

Do I need ArcGIS Desktop to process files from Drone2Map?

No. Drone2Map for ArcGIS is designed to produce GIS-ready products that can be published directly into an ArcGIS Online account. ArcGIS Desktop does add additional visualization and analytical capabilities to get the most out of your drone data.

Can I use Drone2Map for ArcGIS with Portal for ArcGIS?

Yes, with the release of Drone2Map 1.1, you can use Portal for ArcGIS as your licensing portal and your sharing portal.

What is the workflow for using Drone2Map in a disconnected environment?

Similar to ArcGIS Pro, you can check out the license while connected before taking it offline into the field. Once back in the office, you need to check in the license for connected use.


Authorization for offline use is set to expire when either a) your current Drone2Map license expires, or b) your ArcGIS Online organization account expires. Also note that the camera database is updated via the internet, so for offline users, a new camera may not appear to be supported until the software can reconnect to the internet.

What is the recommended software for mission planning with Drone2Map?

Most commercial drone manufacturers include a mission planning application with their hardware offerings. These are typically adequate for Drone2Map missions, but you may want to consider this free flight planning app which allows direct connection to your ArcGIS Online account, to plan flights based on custom GIS data layers. Concerns about the capabilities of your particular mission planning application can be discussed with an Esri specialist.

Does Drone2Map scale?

Yes, Drone2Map is a 64-bit multi-threaded app and will scale vertically, leveraging multiple cores and powerful graphics chips.

Will Drone2Map work from a command line interface?

No, a command line interface is currently not available.

Can multiple users share one Drone2Map license?

When you buy a Drone2Map subscription, you get a license entitlement for Drone2Map and an ArcGIS Online named user credential. The license entitlement can only be assigned to one named user at a time, and thus, a single license entitlement cannot be shared. Note, however, that the license entitlement can be revoked from one named user and assigned to another at any time during the duration of the subscription. Also note that sharing a single named user credential with multiple users is prohibited.

Is a named user allowed to access Drone2Map on multiple machines?

Named users can log in to any machine with Drone2Map installed, however, they may only log in to one machine at a time.

How many Drone2Map licenses does an organization need?

It is recommended that for each drone your organization flies, you purchase two Drone2Map subscriptions—one for the field and one for the office. A common workflow is to assign one license to a drone operator to use 100 percent of the time in the field for tasks such as collection verification and quick product creation for in-field answers. The data collected by the operator is sent back to the office for a different user to process in more detail on a higher end machine with the second license.

What training is available forDrone2Map?

Getting Started with Drone2Map for ArcGIS is a free course from Esri Training that focuses on best practices to capture and validate your drone imagery. The ArcGIS Learn lesson Get Started with Drone2Map for ArcGIS teaches you how to transform drone imagery into 3D GIS data. You'll use Drone2Map to add drone images to a map, create 3D data from 2D imagery, and share 3D data to ArcGIS Online. Additional Esri training courses will be available in the future.

Where are the offline maps stored?

Offline maps are stored in C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Drone2Map\OfflineContent\v2. Offline maps may be copied and shared with other users for use in Drone2Map or other ArcGIS applications.

What LAS file class codes are used when I select the Classify setting in the 3D products processing options?

The software applies its best effort to automatically identify points in these class codes (using LAS Version 1.2):

Can Drone2Map calculate the volume of holes in the ground?

Yes. Drone2Map can be used to determine the volume removed from an open pit mine, or the future volume remaining in a collecting pond, above the current level. The volumes are reported as negative values, but the calculations are still valid.

Does Drone2Map have a Single User license option?

Not at this time, through version 1.3.x. Drone2Map uses Named User Licensing either via ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. Esri is hoping to add a Single User license option at version 2.0, but this is not yet certain.