She Maps

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020) | Viewed by 66415

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia
Interests: remote sensing; coral reefs; unmanned airborne systems
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Guest Editor
Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist, Department of Environment and Energy, Darwin, NT 0820, Australia
Interests: remote sensing; landscape ecology; drones; ecological restoration; ecological risk assessment; climate change impacts on tropical wetlands; mangrove mapping; tropical wetlands
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
Interests: remote and proximal sensing; laser scanning and waveform LiDAR; field spectroscopy; rrone sensing; structure-from-motion photogrammetry; eco-hydrology; vegetation structure; Mountain hydrology; Ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The United Nations recognises that all of their Sustainable Development Goals rely on achieving gender equality. This is a big call, but it is also something that will not happen without actively seeking to attain it.

One small aspect on the pathway to achieving equality is to recognise that despite having no innate cognitive differences, women are underrepresented in many scientific and technical fields, particularly in leadership roles. Furthermore, male authorship continues to dominate peer-reviewed literature. These two facts are intrinsically linked, as the volume of peer-reviewed publications plays an important role in career progression.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of changing the global statistics, let us change the trajectory within our own discipline. We know that publications within the Drones journal follow the broader pattern, with female authorship in the minority. In fact, women represent just 20% of the lead authorship. Therefore, let us act on this and highlight the latest research in remote sensing theory and applications conducted by women around the world, reported on by our female experts. We can work towards changing the statistics of the journal, while also promoting the women who contribute to the science. This may seem like a small gesture, but from little things, big things grow.

We invite contributions with female lead-authors and encourage 50% female authorship, considering drone applications, technology, policy, ethics, and science. We will use an inclusive definition of female to mean everyone who identifies as a woman, regardless of sex assigned at birth, as well as those who identify as non-binary.

Dr. Karen Joyce
Dr. Renee Bartolo
Dr. Karen Anderson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 195 KiB  
Editorial
Of Course We Fly Unmanned—We’re Women!
by Karen E. Joyce, Karen Anderson and Renee E. Bartolo
Drones 2021, 5(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5010021 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 11261
Abstract
Striving to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace has become a major goal for many organisations around the world [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)

Research

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18 pages, 3017 KiB  
Article
Species Classification in a Tropical Alpine Ecosystem Using UAV-Borne RGB and Hyperspectral Imagery
by Carol X. Garzon-Lopez and Eloisa Lasso
Drones 2020, 4(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040069 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6301
Abstract
Páramos host more than 3500 vascular plant species and are crucial water providers for millions of people in the northern Andes. Monitoring species distribution at large scales is an urgent conservation priority in the face of ongoing climatic changes and increasing anthropogenic pressure [...] Read more.
Páramos host more than 3500 vascular plant species and are crucial water providers for millions of people in the northern Andes. Monitoring species distribution at large scales is an urgent conservation priority in the face of ongoing climatic changes and increasing anthropogenic pressure on this ecosystem. For the first time in this ecosystem, we explored the potential of unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAV)-borne red, green, and blue wavelengths (RGB) and hyperspectral imagery for páramo species classification by collecting both types of images in a 10-ha area, and ground vegetation cover data from 10 plots within this area. Five plots were used for calibration and the other five for validation. With the hyperspectral data, we tested our capacity to detect five representative páramo species with different growth forms using support vector machine (SVM) and random forest (RF) classifiers in combination with three feature selection methods and two class groups. Using RGB images, we could classify 21 species with an accuracy greater than 97%. From hyperspectral imaging, the highest accuracy (89%) was found using models built with RF or SVM classifiers combined with a binary grouping method and the sequential floating forward selection feature. Our results demonstrate that páramo species can be accurately mapped using both RGB and hyperspectral imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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11 pages, 1378 KiB  
Communication
Using Minidrones to Teach Geospatial Technology Fundamentals
by Karen E. Joyce, Natalie Meiklejohn and Paul C.H. Mead
Drones 2020, 4(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030057 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 5877
Abstract
With an increased level of interest in promoting science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers, there are many ways in which drone and geospatial technology can be brought into the education system to train the future workforce. Indeed, state-level government policies are even [...] Read more.
With an increased level of interest in promoting science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers, there are many ways in which drone and geospatial technology can be brought into the education system to train the future workforce. Indeed, state-level government policies are even stipulating that they should be integrated into curriculum. However, in some cases, drones may be seen as the latest toy advertised to achieve an education outcome. Some educators find it difficult to incorporate the technology in a meaningful way into their classrooms. Further, educators can often struggle to maintain currency on rapidly developing technology, particularly when it is outside of their primary area of expertise as is frequently the case in schools. Here, we present a structured approach to using drones to teach fundamental geospatial technology concepts within a STEM framework across primary/elementary, middle, secondary, and tertiary education. After successfully working with more than 6000 participants around the world, we encourage other scientists and those in industry using drones as part of their research or operations to similarly reach out to their local community to help build a diverse and strong STEM workforce of the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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13 pages, 2184 KiB  
Article
Automating Drone Image Processing to Map Coral Reef Substrates Using Google Earth Engine
by Mary K. Bennett, Nicolas Younes and Karen Joyce
Drones 2020, 4(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4030050 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 12837
Abstract
While coral reef ecosystems hold immense biological, ecological, and economic value, frequent anthropogenic and environmental disturbances have caused these ecosystems to decline globally. Current coral reef monitoring methods include in situ surveys and analyzing remotely sensed data from satellites. However, in situ methods [...] Read more.
While coral reef ecosystems hold immense biological, ecological, and economic value, frequent anthropogenic and environmental disturbances have caused these ecosystems to decline globally. Current coral reef monitoring methods include in situ surveys and analyzing remotely sensed data from satellites. However, in situ methods are often expensive and inconsistent in terms of time and space. High-resolution satellite imagery can also be expensive to acquire and subject to environmental conditions that conceal target features. High-resolution imagery gathered from remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS or drones) is an inexpensive alternative; however, processing drone imagery for analysis is time-consuming and complex. This study presents the first semi-automatic workflow for drone image processing with Google Earth Engine (GEE) and free and open source software (FOSS). With this workflow, we processed 230 drone images of Heron Reef, Australia and classified coral, sand, and rock/dead coral substrates with the Random Forest classifier. Our classification achieved an overall accuracy of 86% and mapped live coral cover with 92% accuracy. The presented methods enable efficient processing of drone imagery of any environment and can be useful when processing drone imagery for calibrating and validating satellite imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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13 pages, 2781 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Efficacy and Optimal Deployment of Thermal Infrared and True-Colour Imaging When Using Drones for Monitoring Kangaroos
by Elizabeth A. Brunton, Javier X. Leon and Scott E. Burnett
Drones 2020, 4(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4020020 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5672
Abstract
Advances in drone technology have given rise to much interest in the use of drone-mounted thermal imagery in wildlife monitoring. This research tested the feasibility of monitoring large mammals in an urban environment and investigated the influence of drone flight parameters and environmental [...] Read more.
Advances in drone technology have given rise to much interest in the use of drone-mounted thermal imagery in wildlife monitoring. This research tested the feasibility of monitoring large mammals in an urban environment and investigated the influence of drone flight parameters and environmental conditions on their successful detection using thermal infrared (TIR) and true-colour (RGB) imagery. We conducted 18 drone flights at different altitudes on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) were detected from TIR (n=39) and RGB orthomosaics (n=33) using manual image interpretation. Factors that predicted the detection of kangaroos from drone images were identified using unbiased recursive partitioning. Drone-mounted imagery achieved an overall 73.2% detection success rate using TIR imagery and 67.2% using RGB imagery when compared to on-ground counts of kangaroos. We showed that the successful detection of kangaroos using TIR images was influenced by vegetation type, whereas detection using RGB images was influenced by vegetation type, time of day that the drone was deployed, and weather conditions. Kangaroo detection was highest in grasslands, and kangaroos were not successfully detected in shrublands. Drone-mounted TIR and RGB imagery are effective at detecting large mammals in urban and peri-urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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26 pages, 8837 KiB  
Article
Accuracy of 3D Landscape Reconstruction without Ground Control Points Using Different UAS Platforms
by Margaret Kalacska, Oliver Lucanus, J. Pablo Arroyo-Mora, Étienne Laliberté, Kathryn Elmer, George Leblanc and Andrew Groves
Drones 2020, 4(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4020013 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 9608
Abstract
The rapid increase of low-cost consumer-grade to enterprise-level unmanned aerial systems (UASs) has resulted in the exponential use of these systems in many applications. Structure from motion with multiview stereo (SfM-MVS) photogrammetry is now the baseline for the development of orthoimages and 3D [...] Read more.
The rapid increase of low-cost consumer-grade to enterprise-level unmanned aerial systems (UASs) has resulted in the exponential use of these systems in many applications. Structure from motion with multiview stereo (SfM-MVS) photogrammetry is now the baseline for the development of orthoimages and 3D surfaces (e.g., digital elevation models). The horizontal and vertical positional accuracies (x, y and z) of these products in general, rely heavily on the use of ground control points (GCPs). However, for many applications, the use of GCPs is not possible. Here we tested 14 UASs to assess the positional and within-model accuracy of SfM-MVS reconstructions of low-relief landscapes without GCPs ranging from consumer to enterprise-grade vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) platforms. We found that high positional accuracy is not necessarily related to the platform cost or grade, rather the most important aspect is the use of post-processing kinetic (PPK) or real-time kinetic (RTK) solutions for geotagging the photographs. SfM-MVS products generated from UAS with onboard geotagging, regardless of grade, results in greater positional accuracies and lower within-model errors. We conclude that where repeatability and adherence to a high level of accuracy are needed, only RTK and PPK systems should be used without GCPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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18 pages, 3485 KiB  
Article
Thermal Imaging of Beach-Nesting Bird Habitat with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Considerations for Reducing Disturbance and Enhanced Image Accuracy
by Kerry L. Mapes, Narcisa G. Pricope, J. Britton Baxley, Lauren E. Schaale and Raymond M. Danner
Drones 2020, 4(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4020012 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6192
Abstract
Knowledge of temperature variation within and across beach-nesting bird habitat, and how such variation may affect the nesting success and survival of these species, is currently lacking. This type of data is furthermore needed to refine predictions of population changes due to climate [...] Read more.
Knowledge of temperature variation within and across beach-nesting bird habitat, and how such variation may affect the nesting success and survival of these species, is currently lacking. This type of data is furthermore needed to refine predictions of population changes due to climate change, identify important breeding habitat, and guide habitat restoration efforts. Thermal imagery collected with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provides a potential approach to fill current knowledge gaps and accomplish these goals. Our research outlines a novel methodology for collecting and implementing active thermal ground control points (GCPs) and assess the accuracy of the resulting imagery using an off-the-shelf commercial fixed-wing UAV that allows for the reconstruction of thermal landscapes at high spatial, temporal, and radiometric resolutions. Additionally, we observed and documented the behavioral responses of beach-nesting birds to UAV flights and modifications made to flight plans or the physical appearance of the UAV to minimize disturbance. We found strong evidence that flying on cloudless days and using sky-blue camouflage greatly reduced disturbance to nesting birds. The incorporation of the novel active thermal GCPs into the processing workflow increased image spatial accuracy an average of 12 m horizontally (mean root mean square error of checkpoints in imagery with and without GCPs was 0.59 m and 23.75 m, respectively). The final thermal indices generated had a ground sampling distance of 25.10 cm and a thermal accuracy of less than 1 °C. This practical approach to collecting highly accurate thermal data for beach-nesting bird habitat while avoiding disturbance is a crucial step towards the continued monitoring and modeling of beach-nesting birds and their habitat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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Other

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13 pages, 2658 KiB  
Letter
Drone-Based Participatory Mapping: Examining Local Agricultural Knowledge in the Galapagos
by Mia Colloredo-Mansfeld, Francisco J. Laso and Javier Arce-Nazario
Drones 2020, 4(4), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4040062 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6072
Abstract
Agriculture is cultural heritage, and studies of agricultural spaces and practices help this heritage to be valued and protected. In the Galapagos Islands, little focus has been placed on local agricultural practices and agroforestry, despite their increasing importance for food security and invasive [...] Read more.
Agriculture is cultural heritage, and studies of agricultural spaces and practices help this heritage to be valued and protected. In the Galapagos Islands, little focus has been placed on local agricultural practices and agroforestry, despite their increasing importance for food security and invasive species management. This article discusses the possibilities for unoccupied aerial vehicle (UAV) high-resolution imagery in examining agricultural and agroforestry spaces, techniques, and practices. It describes and assesses an UAV-assisted participatory methodology for on-farm qualitative research that aims to investigate the visible and invisible features of farming practices. An analysis of the types of responses elicited by different methods of interviews with Galapagos farmers demonstrates how incorporating UAV data affects what we took away from the interview, and how the perceived relationship between farmer and land is reflected. Specifically, we find that when interacting with orthomosaics created from UAV images of their farms, farmers’ responses reveal a greater focus on management strategies at larger spatial and temporal scales. UAV imagery thus supports studies of agricultural heritage not only by recording agricultural spaces but also by revealing agrarian knowledge and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
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