How to Fly LiDAR

Comprehensive Step by Step Guide with the R3 Pro!

Step 1: Mission Planning and Checking Airspace

Before you even get the LiDAR or the drone out, you need to plan your mission and check the airspace. Use a tool like AirMap to ensure the airspace is clear for drone flights. Get a general understanding of the lay of the land, and then come out into the field and begin doing a visual inspection of the job site before you start mission planning.

Step 2: Setting Up the Base Station

The first thing to do at the job site is to set up the base station. Make sure to have a clear view of the sky with no obstructions. If you have a known point or survey monument on your job site, you can put the base station on top of that known point to help tie your data in post-processing. If you don't, you can use ROCK RTK Network to capture your own. 

Step 3: Preparing the Drone

Inspect your aircraft before flight. Make sure there are no nicks on the propellers, nothing is broken or loose, and everything feels tight. Install the R3 Pro on the drone, ensuring the GNSS antenna is securely attached.

Step 4: Powering On and Mission Planning

Power on the drone and then the R3 Pro using the one-button method. Use the Rock Pilot app or your preferred mission control software to plan your mission. Just drawing an accurate polygon is all you need to fly a mission using the R3 Pro and the DJI drone. Let's fly! 

Step 5: Calibration Flight

If you're using a software other than the Rock Pilot app, you'll need to do the calibration flight yourself. After starting data logging, let the drone sit for at least 30 seconds, then take off and fly for at least five seconds AT HIGH SPEED in a straight line for kinematic alignment. Then, fly a figure eight. After that, you can start your mission.

Step 6: Flying the Mission

Fly the mission using your flight planning software of choice! Make sure you get at least 5 seconds of high speed flight at the end of the flight. Return to Home from a safe distance can accomplish this!

Step 7: Post-Flight

After landing, use the 1 button method to stop collection. After 30 seconds, tap and hold the button to stop collection. The light will then flash green with the camera no longer clicking, that's the unit writing the data! After a steady green light is present, you're done! Just hold the button to turn off the unit. 

Step 8: Processing Data

Use Rock Desktop to process the data. It will combine the base station file along with the R3 data of the IMU and GPS to get a highly accurate trajectory. This trajectory is what you'll use to project your point cloud from. It's the key to high quality data! 

Step 9: Uploading Data

Once your point cloud is produced and colorized, you can upload it to the Rock Cloud. From there, you can add ground control points, reproject the data, and order deliverables.


That's it! You've successfully flown the R3 Pro and processed your data.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if your first few flights don't go as planned. Keep trying, and you'll get the hang of it in no time. We're here to help! 

If you need help, let us know! Live chat or email We're here for you!