DJI M200 with Zenmuse XT2 Flight Guidelines

Flight guidelines for inspecting solar farms with a DJI M200 series drone and FLIR Zenmuse XT2

The DJI M200 series drone with a Zenmuse XT2 with 640x512 resolution and 13 mm or 19 mm lens can meet the data requirements quickly and efficiently. When used with DJI Ground Station Pro it is possible to automatically collect 70% front lap and 20% side lap thermal and RGB imagery.


Drone: DJI M200 series (M200 or M210)
Camera: DJI FLIR Zenmuse XT2
Computer: iOS device (iPad)
Flight Planning Software: DJI Ground Station Pro, DJI XT Pro

Camera Settings

Camera Model: Zenmuse XT 13mm
Palette: White Hot
Magnification: 1x
MSX Mode: Strength=Off
Photo Mode: Radiometric JPEG

Flight Mission Planning Settings


Shooting Angle: Perpendicular to MainPath
Capture Mode: Capture at Equal Time Interval
Flight Control Mode: Inside Mode
Speed: Set shutter interval to 2.0 SEC
Height: See table below


Note: Obliques / High flys are required as part of the flight. For information about how to correctly fly and take oblique images, please see Capturing Oblique Images

Type of Inspection Raptor Overview Raptor Standard Raptor Comprehensive
Description Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages Ideal for annual preventative maintenance IEC TS 62446-3 thermography standards for Absolute Temperature Accuracy
Smallest visible features Module Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
Ground sample distance 15.0 ± 5.0 cm/pixel 5.5 ± 0.5 cm/pixel 3.0 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
Maximum speed 30 mph 12 mph 7 mph
Altitude with 9mm lens 229 ± 76 ft (70.0 ± 23.5 m) 84 ± 8 ft (25.5 ± 2.5 m) 46 ± 8 ft (14.0 ± 2.5 m)
Altitude with 13mm lens 380 ± 126 ft (116 ± 38.5 m) 140 ± 12 ft (42.5 ± 3.5 m) 76 ± 12 ft (23 ± 3.5 m)
Altitude with 19mm lens 549 ± 183 ft (167.5 ± 56 m) 201 ± 18 ft (61.5 ± 5.5 m) 110 ± 18 ft (33.5 ± 5.5 m)

Note: Altitude is calculated from panels, not from ground. Check local laws and regulations to determine maximum allowable altitude.

Front Overlap Ratio: 80%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
Course Angle: Parallel with solar row angle
Margin: 0.0 ft (margin should be provided in drawing the flight polygon)


The following video has step by step instructions of how to setup a flight plan using GS Pro.

Refer to this document to review the settings Eddie recommends:

Prior to flying, check available irradiance using a meter. This video explains how.

Data Example

The long edge of the solar row aligns with the long edge of the image.

The following animation is a great example of Standard-level imagery collected with a ground sampling distance (GSD) of 5.5 cm/pixel with 80% frontlap and 20% sidelap. As you can see about 4-5 solar rows are visible in the imagery. This imagery was collected with a DJI Zenmuse XT2 camera with a 13 mm lens at a flight altitude of approximately 130 feet above ground level.