There are many applications that extend the uses for your drone. The DJI Go app is okay, but it leaves much to be desired. These apps help your drone reach its full potential (also be sure to check out the Must Have Drone Accessories):
Quick note before we get started: While all of these apps below are great, the quality of your drone footage comes down to pilot skill. I suggest you take an online course. I have taken several myself, with some being better than others. I can happily recommend taking this course from Udemy. It includes 77 lectures worth of advice and tutorials (that covers just about everything: planning, flying, filming, editing, laws, etc.). After spending hundreds of dollars on a drone, you might as well learn how to fly it properly.
Litchi is easily my favorite third party app for the DJI Phantom. It is a great replacement for the DJI Go app. It also allows you to plan a fully autonomous flight before even taking off. Features include:
- Waypoints (with many customizable options)
- Point of Interest – The app keeps the drone facing a certain point (only in waypoint mode, unlike Focus mode).
- Focus – The app controls the orientation of the drone, including the gimbal angle, to focus on a GPS point. It even works when manually flying the quadcopter.
- Ability to save and upload ‘Missions’ for future use.
- Track – After selecting an object in the live video feed using a virtual box, the app will keep the camera oriented on it.
- Orbit – The drone will circle around a defined GPS point (similar to the one in the DJI Go app).
- Confused by all the features or just want to become a pro using Litchi? You can get a complete overview and tutorial of all the app has to offer here: Phantom Filmschool 1- master autopilot with Litchi
- Cost – $20.00
- Supported drones: DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter, DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, DJI Phantom 3 Professional , DJI Phantom 3 Standard, Phantom 3 4K, DJI Inspire 1, Inspire 1 Pro/Raw and Matrice 100
According to their own website, Vertical Studio will “Film the toughest aerial shots, with a few simple strokes“. I thought this was pretty accurate! The app is similar to Litchi’s Track Mode, but with a few different features as well:
- Draw a box around a subject in the live video feed and watch the drone use software on the phone to track it. The subject will stay in the center of the screen. In my experience, it works pretty well. Only occasionally did it lose track of the subject.
- Orbit – Different from other apps’ Orbit mode. It doesn’t orbit a GPS point, but instead uses the subject tracked (as described above).
- Walls – Draw a line on the map inside the Vertical Studio app and watch your drone quickly stop when approaching this virtual wall. I found it to be useful to avoid running into things while flying close to the ground (don’t rely on it too much though, it’s only as accurate as the map and GPS).
- Cost – $19.99 (can try for free before buying)
- Supported drones – DJI Phantom 3 Standard , DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, DJI Phantom 3 Professional , DJI Inspire 1, Inspire 1 Pro
As you know, I love this app (see Drone Photogrammetry). Altizure allows for fully automated 3D mapping of an area. After placing a box around a location you would like to survey, the app calculates the best route to take to capture images of the area. These images can then be uploaded to Altizure.com , where it is analyzed by its software to create a 3D render of your location (where you can also animate your creation).
- Cost – Free (paid options on the website allow you to download the actual 3D files)
- Supported Drones– DJI Phantom 3 Advanced , DJI Inspire 1 , DJI Phantom 3 Standard, DJI – Phantom 4 Quadcopter, DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Similiar to Altizure, this app will automate your drone to map out an area in 3D. I have not had as much experience with this, but I have seen some unique features offered. As seen in the screenshot above, the software is able to analyze depth and give values based on it. There is still a lot left for me to explore in this app.
- Cost – Free
- Supported Drones – DJI Phantom 3 Professional, DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, DJI Phantom 3 Standard (IOS only), DJI T600 Inspire 1 (IOS only), DJI – Phantom 4 Quadcopter (IOS only), Matrice 100 (IOS only)
Windfinder may not be an app that directly controls your drone, but it’s a must have. Do you want to lose your $1000+ drone? Me neither! This app shows you all the information you need to know about the current wind speed and forecast. Select a location near you and you’ll be able to view real-time wind speed, gusts, graphs, and more!
- Cost – Free
- Supported Drones – All (be safe and get this app)!
Adobe Photoshop / Premiere Pro
Neither of these are really ‘apps’, but for anyone serious about taking professional photographs/footage from your drone, Photoshop and Premiere Pro are must haves. While you may have taken that perfect shot with your quadcopter, it’s not going to look perfect. Photoshop allows you to make the necessary edits to take your droning to the next level. Who knows, maybe even allow you to start your own drone photography business?
- Cost – Varies depending on plan. There is a currently a plan for $9.99 per month you can purchase here that includes both Photoshop and Lightroom (I have written an article about how great of a deal this is in the long run)
- Supported Drones – All
Any other awesome DJI Phantom apps that I may have missed? Let me know in the comments.