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Can Spark get GPS in cloudy days?
1282 10 2018-1-14
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Djay101
lvl.3
Australia
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I'm so excited. I'm getting my DJI Spark TODAY but it's a cloudy day I was wondering if that would stop me from receiving GPS and I wouldn't be able to fly.
2018-1-14
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Wachtberger
Captain
Flight distance : 261509 ft
Germany
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You can be relaxed. Clouds have no impact on GPS. Only metal structures, roofs, concrete, high buildings or trees etc. will have impact.
2018-1-14
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BMelody
Second Officer
Flight distance : 3146 ft
United States
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Unfortunately clouds with high water content can and will attenuate the RF signal from the GPS satellites. Usually it will not totally block all the signals but can reduce the number of usable signals at any one time. If you have a GPS signal app on your phone many will display the RSI (received signal strength) of the various satellites in view. If you were to check on a bright day you will find the RSI higher than a cloudy day.

All that said the reduction is signal should not keep you grounded. GPS information/data is a narrow bandwidth signal so fortunately even a weak signal can normally get though and the data is continuously updated which also helps. On the days you might experience severe GPS signal fade (sever thunder clouds heavy with water) you probably shouldn't be flying anyway.      
2018-1-14
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Wachtberger
Captain
Flight distance : 261509 ft
Germany
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BMelody Posted at 2018-1-14 14:06
Unfortunately clouds with high water content can and will attenuate the RF signal from the GPS satellites. Usually it will not totally block all the signals but can reduce the number of usable signals at any one time. If you have a GPS signal app on your phone many will display the RSI (received signal strength) of the various satellites in view. If you were to check on a bright day you will find the RSI higher than a cloudy day.

All that said the reduction is signal should not keep you grounded. GPS information/data is a narrow bandwidth signal so fortunately even a weak signal can normally get though and the data is continuously updated which also helps. On the days you might experience severe GPS signal fade (sever thunder clouds heavy with water) you probably shouldn't be flying anyway.

Thank you for this clarification, much appreciated!
2018-1-14
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SOUNDWAVE439
Second Officer
Flight distance : 115597 ft
United States
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GPS is satellite....
2018-1-14
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spookster
Captain
Flight distance : 419649 ft
Germany
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I don't think I've ever met clouds so dense they would block satellite signal, also never heard of those.
Worth mentioning is the Kp-index which can range from 0 to 9.
It describes the disturbance in earths magnetic field, if this value gets high (5 and above) you can get problems locking with gps satellites.
I can recommend checking with UAV Forecast before flight.
The free version allows to get a forecast for the next 24 hours.
2018-1-14
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Mark S
First Officer
Flight distance : 41801 ft
United States
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This site (a USA Gov site) has some helpful GPS info.

https://www.gps.gov/systems/gps/performance/accuracy/
2018-1-14
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Djay101
lvl.3
Australia
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Never mind guys the cloud moved away thanks for the help!
2018-1-14
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DJT_MVSP
Captain
Flight distance : 2018645 ft
Singapore
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Yes, it can fly well in GPS mode on cloudy days,  as long as it doesn't rain
2018-1-15
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Djay101 Posted at 2018-1-14 19:21
Never mind guys the cloud moved away thanks for the help!

Good news! It will be better to fly without cloud because cloud and fog can have a bad influence on VPS system.
2018-1-15
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A CW
Captain
Flight distance : 13838848 ft
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United Kingdom
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BMelody Posted at 2018-1-14 14:06
Unfortunately clouds with high water content can and will attenuate the RF signal from the GPS satellites. Usually it will not totally block all the signals but can reduce the number of usable signals at any one time. If you have a GPS signal app on your phone many will display the RSI (received signal strength) of the various satellites in view. If you were to check on a bright day you will find the RSI higher than a cloudy day.

All that said the reduction is signal should not keep you grounded. GPS information/data is a narrow bandwidth signal so fortunately even a weak signal can normally get though and the data is continuously updated which also helps. On the days you might experience severe GPS signal fade (sever thunder clouds heavy with water) you probably shouldn't be flying anyway.

You learn something new everyday - thanks for the info.
2018-1-15
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