What is FlightPlanner?

Looking for one of the most easy-to-use and accurate flight planning software for aerial photography?

FlightPlanner is an application that makes the planning process for aerial photography quick and intuitive. Create polygon or poly-linear flight plans while being compatible with almost any type of camera or line scanner.

Complete Coverage and Fully Optimised Aerial Maps (Surveys)

Within only a few steps you can create brand new aerial survey flight plans, which are automatically optimised to capture the ideal layout of photo frames to ensure complete coverage with a minimal amount of flying. This software gives you amazing image accuracy to the sub-pixel, giving you and your client amazing aerial survey results.

Who Uses FlightPlanner?

Over hundreds of aerial surveyors worldwide have used our flight planning software who have created beautiful, accurate and amazing aerial maps.

Start Flight Planning the Easy Way

Are you ready to make flight planning for aerial photography a task you can complete within a few minutes? Start your free FlightPlanner demo or contact us for more information.

Create a Simple Aerial Survey Flight Plan

Try our 30-day free FlightPlanner trial, or contact us for more information

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What an Aerial Mapping Flight Plan Looks Like on FlightPlanner

A flight plan displayed in FlightPlanner is visually easy to see, due to the symbols, shapes, and lines which represent important details, such as its flight lines, camera stations, buffer area, footprints, and more all in a glance. Your view is completely customisable, allowing you to show or hide any flight plan detail.

Flight Planning for Aerial Photography flightplan

Flight Planning Drawing Tools for Aerial Photography

FlightPlanner has a list of various drawing tools to outline the area of interest of a new flight plan. Keep in mind you may also import existing flight plans into this flight planning software.

4-Step Process

Want to see the quick 4-step process about how to create a flight plan / aerial survey plan in our FlightPlanner software?



Polygon Flight Plan

The simplest form of a flight plan is a closed polygon using the polygon drawing tool. It is used to indicate what image data to capture of a wide area that has a specific shape. Once the user has drawn the polygon on the streaming background map, it is a simple process to choose the correct camera and imaging parameters and calculate the optimal flight lines.

Path Flight Plan – Pro and Ultimate Version Only

Creating a poly-linear (or path) flight plan when requiring linear image data, usually used to capture geometry, such as a road, coastline, or border. You would also have to choose the appropriate camera and imaging parameters similar to a polygon flight plan.



Free-Draw Flight Plan – Pro and Ultimate Version Only

The free-draw tool should be only used when the polygon or path drawing tools won’t meet the requirements of the project. This tool allows complete flexibility to designing a flight plan, where each flight line can be individually lengthened, shortened, and rotated, giving you complete control over your flight plan.

    Interested in flight planning? Take a look at our FlightPlanner Software Guide

    Importing Options

    FlightPlanner can import a range of file formats containing a flight plan, these include:

    • KML/KMZ
    • ASCII text
    • ESRI SHP files
    • Topoflight files
    • Track’Air files
    • .fpl (native flight planner files)


    KML Files

    KML (Keyhole Markup Language) files, one of the most popular file formats used to display geographic data can be imported into FlightPlanner. This is ideal for aerial surveyors who have used Google Earth or other GIS to create KML files.

    KMZ Files

    As additional functionality, KMZ (Keyhole Markup Language Zipped) files can be imported just as easily as KML files.



    FlightPlanner Native File (.fpl)

    FlightPlanner can export and import flight plans in its own type of file format, .fpl. This FlightPlanner native file is easily compatible with our lead-running aerial mapping & airborne camera control system, Aviatrix.

    Other Importing Options

    Trigger Points/Flight Lines (ASCII) – Ultimate Version Only
    On our FlightPlanner Pro and Ultimate versions, you can import an ASCII text file of the start and endpoints of flight lines and trigger points from which a flight plan can be created. You can import either a .txt, .csv or .asc file that has been correctly formatted.
    TopoFlight and Track’Air Files – Ultimate Version Only

    Created a flight plan using the TopoFlight or Track Air flight planning software? Simply import these files into FlightPlanner with no issues and full compatibility.

    ESRI Shape File – Ultimate Version Only

    FlightPlanner can easily import geospatial vector data formatted as the popularly used ESRI shape file.

    Exporting Options

    There are various file formats you can export your flight plan into, so you can run your flight plan file in your own chosen flight management system (FMS), or our flight management system.

    FlightPlanner Native File (Single/Multiple Height)

    FlightPlanner has its own type of file format which it can export into, or into Aviatrix, our flight management & airborne camera control system.

    FlightPlanner has the ability to export a flight plan into a single file with one specific flying altitude only or into multiple files each with varying flying altitudes.  Note exporting a flight plan into multiple heights is an ultimate version-only feature.


    KML File (3D Flight Lines/Normal Flight Lines or Polygon/Path Only)

    Exporting options to the widely used file type, .kml allows you to display and edit your flight plan into multiple different popular GIS software, such as Google Earth, ArcGIS, Global Mapper, Marble, etc.

    You may even export only specific elements of your flight plan this includes polygon, path, the flight lines, or only the 3D version of flight lines (Google Earth uses).

    Other Exporting Options

    ForeFlight App .FPL file

    Already using ForeFlight’s advanced flight application? You can easily export your flight plan into the .fpl file format.

    GPSUtility Software .GPSU file

    Easily export your flight plan into a .GPSU text file format, so you can quickly use it with GPSUtility software. A software package for uploading flight lines to various GPS units. www.gpsu.co.uk

    Simple .PNG Image File

    Screengrabs of the current FlightPlanner screen showcasing your flight plan, and formats that into a .png image.

    Quick One-Button Export to All Aerial Mapping File Formats

    Allows you to export your flight plan into all the above file formats. These files will be stored in their own folder.

    Camera Parameters

    Input your specific camera model and exact specifications by selecting camera present under our pre-existing camera list, or you may choose to input your exact camera specifications. An overview of the camera’s specifications will be displayed, such as the focal length, side and forward pixels, side and forward FOV, etc.

    You may also choose to place the camera into a landscape or portrait mode position when capturing these aerial images



    Imaging Parameters

    In-depth imaging parameters are adjustable to ensure your aerial survey is set to accomplish all your goals.

    The following imaging parameters are adjustable:

    • aircraft altitude (in feet) and ground speed (in knots)
    • ground pixel size and imaging frame rate (in metres)
    • the image’s forward and side overlap
    • run separation (the flight lines distance to each other in metres)
    • the frame camera’s width (swath width)
    • buffer area size

    These adjustable parameter settings allow the ultimate flexibility for your flight plans, ensuring you capture what you absolutely need in your aerial surveys with sub-pixel accuracy.

    Flight Planning Flight Line Calculation Methods for Aerial Photography

    Calculating the most optimal flight lines for your flight plan can be a hassle. With FlightPlanner it takes care of those calculations by determining the best orientation for them.

    What Type of Flight Line Calculation Methods Are There?

    The auto-calculation method automatically calculates an aerial survey with the most minimal number of turns, flying length, or the number of frames you will take. Other flight orientations for your flight lines may be chosen, such as north to south, east to west or a custom angled orientation.


    Try our 30-day free FlightPlanner trial, or contact us for more information

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    Easily Editable Aerial Survey Flight Plans

    Your flight plan is easily editable with the FlightPlanner’s interface, you are able to delete, move, add more flight lines, trigger points, or adjust the aerial survey’s height.

    For example, to add/duplicate flight lines or trigger points, simply select them, and press CTRL + SHIFT + left mouse button on the side you wish to duplicate those flight lines on. E.g., clicking on the left-hand side will clone those selected flight lines to the left-hand side of them, or the right-hand side if you click to the right of them.

    Editable Camera, Imaging, and Orientation Parameters

    Almost all camera/imaging parameters that you’ve previously set when first creating the flight plan are editable. The flight line orientation is also adjustable. This allows you to create your aerial survey flight plans to your or your client’s exact requirements.


    Digital Elevation Models for Aerial Mapping (DEMs)

    FlightPlanner Pro and Ultimate support the use of terrain models (or digital elevation models) in flight planning.

    What are terrain models and how does it benefit you?

    Terrain models are used when operating in a region of high and varying terrain heights, ensuring GSD and overlap are almost identical to their specified values. Models adjust the spacing between lines or points when flying over varying heights to give complete coverage in mountainous areas.

    In addition, FlightPlanner Ultimate gives the user the option of creating a flight plan with lines at different heights based on the currently selected terrain model. These all help further optimises your flight plan, reducing the number of required frames to a minimum.

    Digital Elevation Model File Compatibility

    The digital elevation model (DEM) can be either .BSQ or .BIL file formats to be compatible with the FlightPlanner software.


    Using a Digital Terrain Model in FlightPlanner

    Importing a digital terrain model or digital elevation model is simple to do in FlightPlanner. There is a dedicated DEMS folder that will be present when installing FlightPlanner.

    All you need to do is add your models into that folder, and all models in that folder are automatically imported over. From there, you can select these models in the FlightPlanner interface.

    Three Flight Planning Versions for Aerial Photography. Classic, Pro, Ultimate

    We have created three different versions of FlightPlanner, to support a wide range of different users.

    Classic: Designed for entry-level users, but with sufficient features to enable the creation of accurate flight plans quickly and efficiently. Competitively priced and easy to use.

    Pro: Extra features include the use of terrain models to create more efficient flight plans over varying terrain, linear flight plans, and support for back-ground maps and images.

    Ultimate: All of the features of Classic and Pro, but with further tools, including import and export of many different file types, and import of unlimited background maps.

    Features Classic Pro Ultimate
    Create linear flight plans
    Free draw mode
    Use terrain height when flight planning
    Use terrain height when flight planning
    Display information of selected entities
    Import KML/KMZ background data
    Import background maps 1 Unlimited
    Make flight plans with lines of different height
    Import shape files, TopoFlight files, Track’Air files, ASCII text files
    Garmin compatible flight plans for use with G3X, Aera, GTN devices

    Other Features

    FlightPlanner has various other features that help make your aerial survey easier. Either by further optimising the image accuracy, reducing the number of camera frames taken, or by just simplifying the flight planning process. Note some of these features are only available in either the Pro or Ultimate version of FlightPlanner.

    Infill Flight Lines

    Using this option will add camera station points along your flight path to areas outside of your polygon area.



    You can see in the example above camera station points were added along the flight lines outside of the polygon area.

    These extra camera points improve the overall image quality of the geography for your other camera shots as well. There is no downside to using this feature considering you’re going to fly past these areas regardless during your aerial survey.

    Adjust Flight Height

    The adjusted flight planned height features allow you to change the height of your existing flight plan with ease. You can increase or decrease the flying height of your flight in 250 feet increments, or to a custom height of your choosing.

    FlightPlanner adjusts your flight plan’s camera stations, flight lines according to your other chosen flight plan settings and new flying height.



    Calculate Mission Time

    Another useful feature allows you to estimate the total time it takes for you to complete your currently active aerial mapping flight plan. Several attributes of your flight plan are taken to account, such as cruising speed in knots, total distance in nautical miles, the time required per turn, etc.

    Other Features

    Save Map

    This feature allows you to download the view of any available online map (Google, Bing, etc.) on FlightPlanner at a specified resolution. This creates a .PNG, with associated world and projection files (.PGW, and .PRJ). Since the downloaded map is georeferenced, it can be loaded directly into any GIS software.

    Measurement Tool

    The measurement tool calculates the distance between two points in the world map and displays the distance in metres and nautical miles. This may give you a better perspective of your aerial survey and the size of the area you’re trying to capture.

    Other FlightPlanner Settings

    Some other not-so-conventional features, such as changing between metric or imperial units being displayed for your flight plan are available.

    What Operating System is FlightPlanner Compatible With?

    FlightPlanner is compatible with the Windows operating system (Win 7 Pro and above). Our recommended operating system is Windows 10.


    Try our Flight Planning Software in Aerial Photography For Free

    There are just too many features in FlightPlanner to list them all here. We, therefore, encourage you to trial the flight planning software for yourself.

    Please contact us for a download link. When you have installed FlightPlanner, we can send you a temporary licence code for unlocking the software. This gives you 30 days to evaluate the software, without any obligation.

    Try our 30-day free FlightPlanner trial, or contact us for more information

    Contact UsRequest a Trial