Complete documentation
of the shores of Lake Balaton

To photograph the shores of Lake Balaton before and after the vegetation period
Spring 2020
10 days
Hungary, Balaton
Department of the Ministry of Town Planning and Spatial Planning,
Balaton Integrációs Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft.
with drone
10 days
by helicopter
20 days


Our task was to photograph the shores of Lake Balaton. Two conditions were recorded - one during the vegetation period due to adequate transparency and one during the leafy period.


It was urgent to start the first lap, so that we could finish photographing the more than 230 km long coastline before the growing season.

The concept was to control and follow the drone from a car. We didn’t know what the coastal roads were like, so we couldn’t even predict exactly how many days the project would last.

The biggest problem was the battery life, as with a couple of batteries, the drone can perform a lateral motion and takephotos for approx. 20 minutes, or 6-9 kilometers.


The best solution proved to be the car tracking, i.e. while the drone was flying, we followed with one car, thus increasing the range. The driver drove the car and followed the drone, while the pilot, sitting in the mother’s seat, steered the drone and signaled in time if he had to get off to replace the battery.

Necessary equipments for the project

DJI Matrice 210 drone

3 pairs of batteries

DJI Zenmuse Z30  camera and DJI Zenmuse X7 camera




The aim of the project was to survey the areas on the shores of Lake Balaton. In the future, they want to bring the image of the shores of Lake Balaton to a uniform level. The pictures taken for beauty purposes are intended to illustrate the diversity of Lake Balaton and its surroundings.

Our main experiences

We solved the battery problem by stopping charging at least once a day, but if possible twice. There were days when we worked with 3 pairs of batteries and there were when we worked with 6 pairs.

  • With 1 pair of batteries we can do 6-9 kilometers at a time
  • With 1 pair of batteries, the drone can stand in the air for 20 minutes sideways
  • The charging time of 1 pair of batteries is 1.5-2 hours

We used two cameras on the drone at the same time, both of which were controlled simultaneously. The DJI Zenmuse Z30 camera complemented the capabilities of our X7 camera well with its 30x optical zoom. The two cameras drained the batteries faster, but allowed more images to be taken.

X7 camera

  • 4 different lenses for high quality aerial photography
  • Images up to 8K resolution
  • Wide angle camera

Z30 kamera

  • Suitable for collecting key information from a great distance
  • 30x optical zoom
  • 6x optical zoom

As for the flight: we got to the reeds in the western basin! In these areas — thanks to the vast expanse of reeds and the roads far from the shore — it caused trouble, not to lose the signal and lose contact with the drone. Officially, the range can be up to 8 kilometers, but this is highly dependent on interference and area.

  • Maximum range around Lake Balaton (based on our experience): 4 km.
  • The higher the drone flies, the better the controller receives the signal.
  • It is important that the drone always rises from an open, visible area (The area of the reeds at Lake Balaton is approximately 1,200 hectares.)
  • The task of reeds: water quality, preservation of aquatic life.
  • If the controller loses the signal, the machine will fly back to where it started.


It is unbelievable how much new one can observe in a familiar countryside, it is enough to "bounce" off the ground only 100-200 meters. As we progressed with the project and spent more and more days on Lake Balaton, we could observe how the sea of Hungary shows a different face every day. On the successive shores we could meet different shades of blue. As we learned, due to the mild winter, more aquatic plants overwintered this year than usual. This is also the reason for the increasingly extreme algal blooms, which are behind the special blue color and pattern of Lake Balaton.

We came across an interesting phenomenon flying over Lake Balaton. The water of the Western Belt Canal seems to pollute the waters of Lake Balaton. Of course, this is out of the question, the water in the canal is peaty, harmless to humans and animals, and the fish especially like it, so go fishing!

Ágoston Holman

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