Fans of the Parrot AR.Drone now have a central online location where they can meet up, hang out, and share flight content with other drone pilots. The brand new AR.Drone Academy is a part of the freshly updated AR.FreeFlight, which also now includes video sharing, data tracking, geolocalisation, and - wait for it - identification of the best flying spots around the world.
Becoming a member of the AR.Drone Academy is easy - just snag the AR.FreeFlight app (make sure it's v2.1), and bring your profile information up to date. Then, "large amounts of data" will be saved about each flight you take, including day/time of flight, duration, and even the number of pictures and videos you may have taken while in the air. With your permission, all of this information is stored in the Cloud, meaning that even if you delete the flight records from your piloting phone or tablet, it's all still available to look up later.
All of this data is then collated - including aerial pictures - and made into one massive, global map. Pilots can search for and share their own flights, look up adventures from other members, and share details on "hot spots" that are great places to fly. (Flipside? Report places that are worth avoiding.)
Because privacy is always an issue, and one which Parrot takes seriously, you can always choose which information you'd like to share via the Academy. Each flight has a vast amount of data stored, including speed, altitude and even battery level, as well as geographic location. Display the data as text or a graphical overlay when you playback your video, and use it to optimise your future flights (or compare results with others!).
...and of course, what good is all of this stuff if you can't share with your friends? Not only will your photos and videos be uploaded to the AR.Drone Academy, but with the tap of a button, selected images can also be shared to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Picasa.
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Jimmy the Geek