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Open AccessArticle

Mapping Glacier Forelands Based on UAV BVLOS Operation in Antarctica

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University of Warsaw, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, Department of Geomorphology, Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
2
University of Warsaw, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
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Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering, Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, Nowowiejska 24, 00-665 Warsaw, Poland
4
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Pawińskiego 5a, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
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Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Ren’ai Road 111, Suzhou, China
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Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Department of Agronomy, Nowoursynowska 166, 02-787 Warsaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(4), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12040630
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 14 February 2020
The aim of this article is to show geomorphological mapping of remote Antarctic locations using images taken by a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. We mapped landform assemblages developed in forelands of Ecology Glacier (EGF), Sphinx Glacier (SGF) and Baranowski Glacier (BGF) in Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 128 (ASPA 128) on King George Island (South Shetland Islands) and inferred about glacial dynamics. The orthophoto and digital elevation model allowed for geomorphological mapping of glacial forelands, including i) glacial depositional landforms, ii) fluvial and fluvioglacial landforms, iii) littoral and lacustrine landforms, iv) bodies of water, and v) other. The largest area is occupied by ground moraine and glacial lagoons on EGF and BGF. The most profound features of EGF are the large latero-frontal moraine ridges from Little Ice Age and the first half of the 20th century. Large areas of ground moraine, frequently fluted and marked with large recessional moraine ridges, dominate on SGF. A significant percentage of bedrock outcrops and end moraine complexes characterize BGF. The landform assemblages are typical for discontinuous fast ice flow of tidewater glaciers over a deformable bed. It is inferred that ice flow velocity decreased as a result of recession from the sea coast, resulting in a significant decrease in the length of ice cliffs and decrease in calving rate. Image acquisition during the fixed-wing UAV BVLOS operation proved to be a very robust technique in harsh polar conditions of King George Island.
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicle; BVLOS operations; photointerpretation; geomorphological mapping; glacial forelands; glacial landforms; Western Antarctica; King George Island unmanned aerial vehicle; BVLOS operations; photointerpretation; geomorphological mapping; glacial forelands; glacial landforms; Western Antarctica; King George Island
MDPI and ACS Style

Dąbski, M.; Zmarz, A.; Rodzewicz, M.; Korczak-Abshire, M.; Karsznia, I.; Lach, K.M.; Rachlewicz, G.; Chwedorzewska, K.J. Mapping Glacier Forelands Based on UAV BVLOS Operation in Antarctica. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 630.

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