Find My Drone is a feature in the DJI GO 4 app that allows you to locate your drone in the event of a flyaway or crash. Let's talk about how to use Find My Drone, tips for making sure you have the best chance possible of finding your drone, and some precautions you should take.
How does Find My Drone work?
Find My Drone uses the drones GPS to mark its location on the map. If the drone loses GPS (either because of poor signal or the drone turning off), the last known location will be saved.
Which drones have Find My Drone?
If your DJI drone uses the DJI GO 4 app, then you'll be able to use Find My Drone. The Find My Drone feature was introduced to the GO 4 app in 2017.
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How to use Find My Drone?
So here's where we get into the good stuff. I'm going to provide you with two scenarios.
Let's say that you're out flying and a bird initiates aerial warfare with your Phantom 4 Advanced. Because that bird happens to be a hawk and has a lot more flight time than you, the aerial combat is over before it began.
You can see that your Phantom is still on because the camera view has an image of some tall grass. The fact that your drone is on is very good. We'll need to act fast because you have a much better chance of finding your drone if it is still on.
The first thing you need to do is go to the welcome screen of the DJI GO 4 app. Tap on the three lines in the upper right-hand corner. Then tap on Find My Drone at the bottom.
Tapping on Find My Drone will bring up a map. On that map will be a blue dot and a red triangle. The blue dot is your location and the red triangle is the location of your drone.
At this point you can simply use the map to walk/drive to your crashed drone. Unfortunately the real world isn't always that easy and thankfully DJI has given us a few features to assist in the drone recovery. Let's look at those features.
First up is the three little dots in the upper left-hand side of the screen. Tap on that and you will see this.
This displays the current amount of GPS satellites the drone has, the current signal strength between the RC and the AC, and how much battery the drone has left. This information can come in handy in your search for the downed bird.
Below those three dots
Below that is the compass heading lock. Tapping on that will keep the map fixed and not relative to your movements. If you have used Google maps then you are probably familiar with this option. Personally, I like to leave it unlocked but it's a matter of personal preference.
Next, we come to that little circle there at the bottom. Tap on that and you will see two options. There is an “H” and a triangle. Tapping on the “H” will center the map on the home point location, and tapping on the triangle will center the map on the location of the drone.
In the bottom right-hand corner is a little camera icon. Tap on that to bring up the current camera view of the drone. This will assist you in matching the terrain of the drone's location with your current terrain. You may also be able to see movement in the camera view as you approach the drone.
Lastly, we come to one of the most important features of Find My Drone. If you tap on the red triangle (current drone location), a menu will be displayed.
At the top of the menu you will see “Enable Indicator Flashing and Sound Alert”. Tap on this and the drone will emit a loud beeping sound while repeatedly flashing lights. If you are anywhere near the drone at this point, the combination of the beeping and flashing lights will almost certainly allow you to locate the lost drone.
This is an amazing feature, and it's also why you have a much better chance of recovering your drone if it is still on.
Below that are the coordinates of where the drone is. The numbers by themselves won't mean anything to you, but if you have an app or another device that you can input coordinates into, you may have access to a more accurate location finding system.
So what happens when you're out flying and the drone suddenly loses GPS signal at the same time that the RC signal is lost. That, my friend, is a bad day. The drone will enter ATTI mode if GPS is lost, and
If it is a windy day, the drone will be carried away fast while in ATTI mode. I recommend that you descend with the drone as quick as you can. When you get to 30ft or under, the downward vision sensors should kick in and hold the drone in place. This will cause the drone to go from ATTI to P-OPTI.
It's going to be much harder to recover your drone in this scenario. If the distance is what caused the RC to disconnect from the drone, I'd advise that you move toward the direction of the drone as soon as you can. The drone may have crashed, but if it is still on you'll be in much better shape if you get close enough for the drone to connect to the RC once more.
If it's been a while and you haven't established a connection with the drone, then it is likely off. You can still use the different features that I went over with the images in the first scenario, but you won't have a camera view, AC information, and the red triangle will be the last known location of the drone while it still had a GPS signal.
I'd advise starting at the location of the red triangle and moving in the direction of the wind. Depending on how high you where when you lost signal and how fast the wind is, the drone could be quite a distance away from where the app has it marked at.
Cache maps in background
Have you ever been flying with an iPad Mini (that isn't connected to the internet) and noticed that the map view looks a bit scarce? Well, without an internet connection, the map won't load properly. This will be a problem if you are using Find My Drone and the map won't load.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that “Cache Map in the Background” is enabled under the general settings.
If you are going to be flying using a device that doesn't have an internet connection, you should cache (save) the maps in the area where you'll be flying before you leave your internet connection. This is simple to do. Connect your device to the internet and bring up the map view. Scroll to the area where you'll be flying and zoom in so the landmarks, street names, etc. are displayed. That is all you have to do to cache the maps.
This is also wise to do if you'll be flying in a remote location where cell reception is spotty. You may not think to cache the maps ahead of time because you'll be using a phone to fly that has an internet connection, but that may not be true when you're in the middle of the forest.
Lastly, most phones allow you to use the portable hotspot to provide internet for other devices, so don't panic if you forget to cache the maps on your iPad Mini before you leave the house.
Find My Drone is a feature in the DJI GO 4 app that allows the user to locate his/her lost drone by displaying a map with the current RC location and the last known drone location.
Go to the welcome screen of the DJI GO 4 app and tap on the three lines in the upper right-hand corner. The last item on the menu is Find My Drone.
If your drone uses the DJI GO 4 app to fly, then you have Find My Drone.
The last known location of the drone will be marked on the map with a red triangle. Keep in mind that the drone may have drifted after losing GPS signal, and won't necessarily be where the triangle is.
If the drone is on, tap on the red triangle on the map. This will bring up a menu where you can choose to “Enable Indicator Flashing and Sound Alert”.
The blue dot is your current location and the red triangle is the location of the drone.
Fortunately, the only times I have used Find My Drone is when I was experimenting with it. I haven't yet lost a drone, but if (when) that time comes, I'm confident that I'll have a decent chance at recovering it because of the Find My Drone feature. Obviously, every situation is different and there are no guarantees, but your odds will be much better if you are familiar with FMD.
Have you had to use FMD? What was the scenario? Were you able to recover the drone? Comment below!