Indoor Drone Flying

Indoor Drone Flying has its disadvantages regarding autonomous flight but has many benefits including

  • No CAA Licence required – The CAA is only interested in external airspace and has updated its ANO (Air Navigation Order) to reflect this – in short, if it cant escape into an external airspace then it now falls under Health and Safety and not the Airspace legislator. This also goes further to include netted structures. Having said that, your Health and Safety may want you to have a licence as a competency requirement much like a driving licence but this could also be an in-house course.
  • Small drones can reach places for inspection where it may be impractical to send a person i.e. confined spaces or into tall buildings to alleviate the working at height risks or cover search areas with thermal imaging to look for people or faults.

So I am liking this concept and sure enough there is a solution on the market – Enter the ELIOS 2 from Flyability. At this point I will say that I am not on commission and have only seen one of these on display by COPTRZ at the GeoBusiness day.

Image of ELIOS 2 Indoor Drone
An Image of ELIOS 2 indoor Drone (photographed from the COPTRZ brochure)

So this drone is in the realms of £25k but it boasts the following:-

  • Collision resilient cage (Carbon Fibre 40cm Diameter)
  • GPS free Stabilization
  • Distance Lock from object if monitoring one object – i.e. an automated process or inspecting structures – I am thinking visual inspections of aircraft skin joints in a hangar would be one great application with the oblique lighting. Thermal imaging of composits in-situ (an authorised work process would be required of course) etc
  • 4k Camera
  • Thermal Camera (FLIR)
  • 180 degree tilting camera pod
  • Adjustable and Oblique Lighting upto 10k lumens. This is also Dustproof.
  • FPV without line of sight
  • Flight and Reporting is performed via the Cockpit 2 software
  • 1 day of training to get the most out of it.
  • Transport case
  • Remote Control (2.4GHz) and Samsung Tablet
  • IATA approved for carry on Luggage


All that with a 10 minutes flight time but with a 1 min battery change time, you could inspect whatever you wanted and send the video or images to the relevent qualified person to study.

One minute a 737 Bulkhead inspection, the next an A380 paint inspection after a storm – One person on location and the expensive engineers at home base for the time duration required – no more or less. Maybe even some post maintenance inspections can be performed remotely this way reducing senior engineers physically onsite.

What does this mean – No more flying teams of engineers with every tool for every eventuality or erecting scaffolding to inspect/appraise faults. You just need a drone operator and a remote engineer.

Imagine the time resource this will free from travel as well as the carbon footprint. This is Proactive Workforce management but of course Regulations and best practices apply and as always I am trying to start a conversation with ideas for you to debate not go ahead and act based on what you have read. Please see site usage terms and conditions for more information.

For more information or Demo please visit the flyability or COPTRZ websites.

If you do, please let them know you saw it here and they may let me review one.



The Terestrial Scanning scene has been dominated by static Laserscanners or heavy post processing of photogrammetric data. Now there is another way:-

The all-in-one indoor reality capture mobile mapping system – NavVis M6

Once set up, all you have to do is push it along and let it scan continuously. Now you no longer have to plan your static scan positions for line of sight, just push it round all objects and the job is done. No more worrying if you had the line of site on that object.

It claims and is foreseeable to be able to:-

  • Scan up to 30x faster than with stationary scanners and devices
  • Capture up to 30,000 square meters per day
  • Adapt to complex indoor environments while continuously scanning

These are bold claims but it just looks so easy.

I do see an issue, being devils advocate, is crossing voids and industrial process floorings. It sure will be able to traverse workshops, warehouses, Hangars and offices but when it comes to Stairs and crossing voids, I am sure some kind of work-around will need to be envisaged. Otherwise it really looks like a game changer for Reality Capture.

Their Brochure is below but for further Information please visit their website


I always wanted an all singing and dancing Wacom Graphics tablet for my 3D modelling but the thought of paying similar to a new laptop got me thinking about the Lenovo Yoga series of laptop, with the foldable screen hinge, as you can see and interact directly with your model or digital art.

I wanted to also make sure it was what I wanted so thought ‘Go Cheap import to test before investing huge wedge’ and found this UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet for £60 2 years back and it is still going well. I have the older battery powered pen version but the one from amazon below has a self recharging pen which is cool, having said that the battery normally lasts me 2 months which is ok for a single AAA battery. I will also mention there are others like XP PEN which are cheaper still and look the same but that’s all I can say.

Click Here to See the UGEE M708 on Amazon

Ok so after wanting one of these for ages, I now have it. Its A4 ish paper size so quite large so I should be good to go. I mean, I can use Blender and 3DS with a mouse, right, and this was supposed to be more natural. That’s the problem, I have no natural art skill so thats my first thing to say – you can have all the tools but don’t expect to be pulling a Van Gogh in 5 minutes. Now I am glad I only spent £60 and not £400 on its equivalent Wacom.

Ok so I never give up and slowly started to see what I can do with simple spray can art which was great and I managed to make some beautiful coloured boxes in Blender. Without knowing I slowly started replacing my mouse with the pad and pen, for normal computer use, as you can do all 2 button mouse operations with it while not having the Mouse click RSI as it effectively makes a normal computer gain the benefit of a Tablet at a fraction of the cost.



The Tablet itself is easy to use as the pad corners (white Brackets) are mapped to your screen so there is no dragging and scrolling like on the old tablets you just hover the pen over where you want the cursor to appear on the screen and when it is close enough to the tablet, about 15mm, sure enough the cursor appears on the screen. Sure it would be great to have one of the £700+ tablets with a screen underneath but then we go back to my original buying a Lenovo Yoga. Amazon also have them Lenovo Yoga 720

The Following Video shows how easy it is to use with Blender in Plug and Play. I am only using the Pen here but there are 6 more configurable buttons that can be tailored as you desire but you will have to load the Driver Disk (supplied) to configure them. You can also download the driver from the UGEE website if you do not have a Disk Drive.

As you can see it is very easy to use and all of this via USB plug and play. Talking of which, the pen is compatible with windows 10 ink so is customisable in Windows 10 too.

In short it is a cheap and cheerful tablet that can give you an extra few years out of your old PC when you want to expand your skills into 3D modelling / Paint / Photo Editing / Drawing / Handwriting or even just want to add some signature functions.

Ok the nitty gritty:

  • Active Area – 10″ x 6″
  • Resolution – 5080 LPI
  • Report Rate – 230 RPS
  • Accuracy – +or- 0.01″
  • Pressure sensitivity – 2048 Levels
  • Connection – USB


Raspberry Pi – Connect with an Android

Here we have one lovely little trick with this RPI3B+ is that we do have the option to use Android devices with SSH aplications. 2 main applications are

  • RaspController
  • JuiceSSH

These are shown below in the top right of the image. You can download these via the PLAY store in the usual way.

Android_show icons

First of all we shall set up RaspController

Open the RaspController app by clicking on the icon. Currently looks like the Blue icon in the top right of the bove image. You will be greeted by the following screen but without any devices in the list.


Now click the + button in the bottom right corner. You should now have the following screen but without details filled in.


Enter the Device Name – This is what it will be called on your Android device, like a file name.

Enter the Host IP Address – This is the IP of the Raspberry Pi on your network

Port / SSH: This should be set to 22, if not set it to 22.

Timeout – This is how long it will keep looking for your Raspberry PI, in seconds, before it gives you an error message. Set this to 10

Username – This is the Username of the Raspberry Pi. the default is pi but yours maybe different. The main point to know is these are the logon credentials on the Raspberry Pi.

Authentication – Set to Password. If you are an advanced user then you may have RSA keys assigned but we will use Password

Password – This is your Raspberry Pi password for the user entered above. Default is raspberry but you should change this. Again the important thing to note is this is the Logon credentials on the Raspberry Pi.

Now tap the Connection Test button.

You should receive a Connected Notification.

If there is a problem then you will get a message stating Connection error:timeout:socket is not established.

Now Click Save. this is the icon with a floppy disk symbol in the bottom right corner.

You will now be taken back to the Device list page.

Click on your device and it will connect and display the following page showing a multitude of options and helpfull diagrams.


From here you can access most of the controls on your device without requiring code. When you do want to use code and programmaticaly use your SSH connection, Then you can click on Shell SSH.

You may prefer to have only an SSH command or connection App that has the ability to attach Plugins, and that is why I also say you can connect via the JuiceSSH app in Android

To Connect Via JuiceSSH

Start tha app by tapping on its Lemon Icon. You should then be greeted by a screen like below. your Freequently used area will be blank on first use.


The first button at the top of the list is called Connections. Tap it once and it will bring you to the Connections Tab, as below.


Push the Yellow + button in the bottom right corner to show the following screen.


Enter the Nickname – This is the name you want to call the device on the Android device only.

Type – Leave as SSH

Address – This is the IP address of the Raspberry Pi on the local network.

Identity – Select New ( This is the connection Details)

This then opens the following screen


Set the Nickname to Whatever you want but I always state Connection as you can reuse these onto another Connection.

Set the Username to the Raspberry Pi Username ( default is pi) This is the Raspberry Pi credentials.

Set the password to that users password (default is raspberry) This is the Raspberry Pi credentials.

Then press the Tick in the top right corner.

You will now be returned to the New Connection Screen and the Identity will now be set to the nickname that you entered in the last screen.

Advanced settings affords more connectivity options but for now check that the

Port is set to 22

Connect Via and Run Snippet options are showing Optional

Backspace is set to Default(sends DEL)

Now click the tick in the top left corner.

I have had 2 different behaviours from this app after clicking the tick depending whether I used an android phone or tablet. It will either take you back to the connections tab or where you tap on your device name, which is the normal process once you open the app and logon to the Raspberry Pi, or it will try to connect automatically.

Either way you should see the connection screen as below, promptly followed by a Shell script prompt ( Think old DOS command line) at the top left corner.


You should now be able to code your raspberry Pi using SSH.

When we use an Android application in these tutorials, we will use the RaspConnect app but it is usefull to know that there is an alternative that is freely available and allows you to expand when your skills do.


To connect to your RPI3B+ may seem impossible without being able to see it but it is quite simple if you follow the instructions below.

Just as a quick note, if you want to connect to a mobile phone and use that as your wireless network(maybe you dont have a fixed internet and only use mobile phone internet), then that is possible and easy providing you can connect a keyboard and monitor first to connect to the wireless of the mobile phone. If you then connect your computer to the phone using the phone as a mobile hotspot, then you can follow along from here.

Ok so the basics of networking are very much like the mail system. Everyone has an address and their mail is delivered to that address. When you send a mail, you write your address on the back of it. Simple right – if only it were that simple, but for now we will follow this analogy and slowly get to super coder level.

Ok, so the first thing we need to know is where are we. If we don’t know where we are, we don’t know where to go or how to get there. To find out where you are on the network, Your Network Address, we need to open a way to talk to the pc we are using at the moment. In windows we use the command prompt and Linux we use the Terminal or console application. Depending which one you use, follow the below

If using windows, type in the search box ‘cmd’ but without the quotes and press enter. I am using windows 10 and it looks as below. Click the ‘Command Prompt’ icon.


If using Linux then click the Terminal icon in the Task Bar normaly at the top of the screen, its a black square icon with a blue bar across the top and a forward chevron with an underscore in the black area.

You should now have a mainly black window open which we can type into. If using windows, type ‘ipconfig’ or linux ‘ifconfig’ again without the quotes.

You are looking for something called ‘IPv4 Address’ (Linux is ‘inet’), note on mine I have This is because I am connected to a mobile phone. If I where connected to a fixed landline internet router, I would most probably have so if yours looks different, don’t worry. Another difference is that I am connected wirelessly having connected my RPI3B+ to my phone aswell but if you have connected to the wired hub then your address will be under Ethernet adapter. Anywhich way we get the information  but just don’t worry if its a different section as long as we have an address.


To test your connection, your should ping your gateway but if using a mobile, like I am today for this piece, then you can’t.  What you can do is ping yourself so I will type ‘ping and wait for a reply as below.

ping reply

Why is this important, its like checking the letter flap works and is not screwed shut.

Ok so now we need to find the other devices on the network so lets use the address resolution protocol and type ‘arp -a’ in the cmd(Windows) or Terminal (Linux) application. If you want to see what other functions you can do here then type ‘arp -all’ and it will list what each function of the arp option can do and how to access it. but we want -a and list all our connected devices as below.

cmd arp

Now remember our IP address ended .217 and is listed above everything else. This function shows that it has identified where the request has come from and can see everything else. If you later run this on your raspberry pi, the ip addresses will change position. Ok so above I can see there are 3 other numbers starting 192.168.43. we now the one ending .1 is the gateway so our pi is not that. It is also not .255 for complicated reasons you will understand much later, or google it now, as this is typicaly the broadcast address. Ip addreses only go upto 255 and the highest number is normaly used as the broadcast by default. So surely my raspberry pi is .244 so I will ping and low and behold I get 4 replies as before when I pinged myself.

OK so now we know our address of us and the RPI3B+, how do we access it. There is a multitude of ways from SSH, and we will cover some of the android apps much later but we will use what we get with windows 10 and that is remote desktop.

In the search box, type ‘Remote Desktop’ and click on the application as below

remote desktop search

Now ‘raspberrypi’ in the computer dialogue box. Now click the button marked connect.

rd connect

You should now have the xorg screen shown as below. Type the username and password of the RPI3B+. If it is new then the user is pi and the password is raspberry. Now Click Ok as below. note I have already changed my password.

rd connection screen

Ok so if everything has gone smoothly then we should have a connection to a screen as below.

rd RPI connected

If you move your mouse around and click on icons, you will see stuff happening. This is because you have control of the RPI3B+ and thus with one computer, you have the ability to use 2. There is no reason that this can’t be a 1000 or more. long over are the days of having to wait for something to finish processing before you can get back on the net or whatever you were doing.

This is the essence of cloud computing. Now in cloud computing you use software created computers and it all gets complicated with hardware resource sharing but at the moment we are running another computer that is tucked away out of sight and can be doing work while we go off and enjoy ourselves. So if that was your aim with your RPI3B+ then great, you are there.

This tutorial is aimed at getting the most fun and learning out of the RPI3B+ so we want to configure the wireless to connect to the hub like you most likely have your laptop at the moment. If you can click on the wireless icon at the top right, on the RPI3B+ remote desktop and connect to your wireless now, we can move on to the fun stuff and going through the accesories / Toys.

See you on the next topic.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ – Getting Started

Picture of the Raspberry Pi and accesory box
Picture of the Raspberry Pi and accesory box

Ok so we got the above in the mail – its all bits and I have to add heat sinks – PANIC!!!!!!!

First off, if you are a man like me, you tossed the instructions to the side……. There should be an A6 size leaflet on how to set up your Raspberry Pi for first time use but incase you have sourced yours elsewhere then you should have the following.

  • Raspberry Pi 3B+ (nowon called RPI3B+)
  • Micro SD card 16GB minimum for this section but you can use just a 4GB card to make the RPI3B+ work. The speed of the card is important and needs its speed to be class 4. This is the number on the card encircled by a C.The number indicates the write speed in MB per second.  On my card I have a SanDisk Ultra 16GB C10 (this is the class speed) MicroSD HC I which was supplied in the package.
  • Power adaptor (micro USB) with a switch.
  • HDMI cable if you are connecting to a monitor in addition to USB Keyboard and Mouse( I would suggest a wireless one as we will need the USB ports later but cross that bridge when we get there.  we will be controlling through a remote desktop to give you the feel of IOT and server interfacing.
  • A case is supplied in the kit but is technicaly not required but it does protect it nicely when kids and pets are running around.
  • Card Reader for installing the Operating System (OS) onto the memory card.
  • Heat Sink for the CPU
  • Heat Sink for Network Chip

If you purchased a kit then your SD card should be preloaded with the OS and you are itching to go but STOP!!!!!!! You must fit the Heat Sinks or your RPI3B+ is going to cook eggs. Ideally I would like a fan too but maybe thats a project for later.

Your heatsinks should have nice self-adhesive pads so, one at a time, unpeel the pad cover foil and stick the big castlated one on the CPU and the smaller metal flush plate on the Network Chip as shown below. ( My one is already in its case so ignore that continuity error at the moment.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ with lid off
Raspberry Pi 3B+ with lid off


Ok now pat yourself on the back and then gently clip it into its case, first locating it on its base and then clipping both into the walls of the case. Then clip on the Lid but be carefull not to try and force it as it is ment to have that 2-3mm gap.

Raspberry Pi 3B+ in its case
Raspberry Pi 3B+ in its case

Now its in its case, lets insert that SD card

It slips in here

Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot
Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot

like this

Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot this way up
Raspberry Pi 3B+ SD card slot this way up


Ok so connect up your power supply and if you have a monitor and keyboard then you can just power up and ready for the next section. If not and you are going the route as me and remotely accessing your RPI3B+ then you have to connect it to the LAN (network) port on your router (Internet Hub in laymans speak i.e. Sky Q hub). This will require a LAN cable that is normaly supplied with your router. If you need one then it is called a CAT5 network cable. If you are having networking problems with it then check that each of the 8 contacts has a wire by looking through the plastic. Some really cheap ones only have 4 wires and never work. If your ISP (Internet Service Provider) gave you one of those, you may have grounds to question the service they will provide over that locked in contract.

Anyway Turn the Power on and you should see a green light come on by the power adapter. Awesome stuff and ready to move on. If you do not have a green light, either it is faulty but more likely you have no power to the RPI3B+. Either bad power adapter or supply.

Ok so thats the end of this page and the next will deal with the OS setup and first time configuration. If you like this then please like and share so I know or even leave a comment.