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DroneBlocks Simulator Adds New Measuring Tool to Improve Drone Coding and Math Fundamentals

March 14, 2022 — 3 minutes

DroneBlocks students have taken to the skies with the latest Drone Simulator 2.0 update released this past winter. The new simulator has allowed STEM students across the globe to access the magic of flight from their school or home computers as well as practice and plot their real-life DroneBlocks Missions virtually, before attempting a live launch. 

“Just like pilots who train on a flight simulator, the DroneBlocks simulator is a powerful tool that allows students to master the coding and skills required to fly their drones. In fact, some students even prefer to fly in the simulator over flying real drones; it is that engaging! The city environment offers a variety of challenges – flying to rooftop landing pads, navigating between buildings, and creating missions to connect multiple destinations. The addition of the measuring tools encourages students to carefully plan their missions. When they fly the actual drones, they also need to utilize measuring in order to ensure a successful mission.”

— Mark Kaercher, Middle School Teacher

As the feedback has rolled in, we’ve added a few new features that expand students’ ability to measure and plot more accurately. These tools were also developed in service of the many Geometry and Trigonometry related lessons offered in the DroneBlocks curriculum.

When logging on to the Simulator 2.0 platform, you may notice new icons located on the bottom right of your screen. Three yellow icons now read as MeasureGrid & Reset.

Whereas before the update, a grid view was an available option, these updated features allow specific measurement and tactile application of said grid.


Selecting the Measure Icon will engage an Orthographic View….or in other words, a 2D Bird’s Eye View of the 3D city landscape. This is different from a normal “top-down view” where the perspective would come into play. Orthographic View means that objects on the map retain a perfect parallel plane ideal for precise measurements.

Drag & Drop

Once you enter this view, a Drag & Drop Icon Menu will appear in the lower right of your screen. By selecting the Drag & Drop, you can now place a Pin anywhere on the map and the X, Y & Z coordinates will be provided by hovering over the pin. These coordinates can now be used in tandem with the block coding Navigations to achieve an accurate flight path to the desired location.

In addition, by hovering your cursor over the highlighted flight path rather than the pin, you will be provided with the length of the path in relation to either the resting Drone or the preceding Pin Drop. You can drop as many pins as you would like, and they can be cleared at any time. These length measurements are in Centimeters and assist in giving accurate distances to use via the block coding navigations. 

As your students will quickly learn, the Orthographic View and Measurement feature will prove to be a very useful tool but also an important learning opportunity. Being that the view is 2D, students will need to take into account the Z coordinates of their dropped Pins as well as any obstacles that may protrude in their measuring paths such as trees, cars, and buildings.

For example, when measuring the distance from the ground landing pad, to a landing pad located on the roof of a building…students will have to consider the rules of trigonometry in order to successfully plan their angular flight path across the X, Y & Z axes.

Our hope is that this feature expands the usability and opportunity for students to learn through virtual application, and further simulate real world engineering processes. We are always eager to hear from you, our users, on how to better serve DroneBlocks students so let us know how it’s going! In the meantime, we are underway in developing our next Drone Simulator Map on the surface of Mars to be completed later this Spring.


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