Special Issue "Technological Developments of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Remote Sensing Applications"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. David R. Green
Guest Editor
Director of UCEMM | Director MSc in GIS Degree Programme | Director of AICSM
G10 - UCEMM, Department of Geography and Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary's, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK
Interests: UAVs; geographical information systems (GIS); remote sensing and digital image processing (DIP); cartography and digital mapping; global positioning systems (GPS); WebGIS; mobile GIS; internet applications; precision viticulture; vineyard management and viticulture; marine and coastal zone management; coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP); landscape ecology and biodiversity; human–computer interfaces (HCI); geo-visualization; colour in map design; journalistic cartography; GIS in school education
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Cristina Gómez
Guest Editor
1. Fundación Cesefor, Spain 2. University of Aberdeen, UK
Interests: Environmental Remote Sensing; Forestry, Optical, Radar, UAV, Time Series, Processes of Change
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), including drones and all the related technologies—payload, power systems, automation, and data analysis—have all evolved very rapidly. Whilst drones have been around for several years, their real potential is only just beginning to be realised. Initially, drones found applications utilising cameras and other sensors for monitoring, mapping and modelling, and latterly for aerial surveying. But now drones are being used for a much wider range of applications, like search and rescue, parcel delivery, and intelligent re-forestation amongst others. The growing diversity of applications is highly dependent on the development of several technologies that will allow drones to realise their full potential. This Special Issue will focus on technological developments that are now driving future UAS and remote sensing applications.

UAS technology has the ability to collect many data sets, making its quick and accurate integration challenging. Data analysis and the rapid combination of multiple datasets will be a game-changer offering many industries the ability to efficiently understand information specific to their needs. For drones that carry sensors, mining and utilising the data will require enhanced computer algorithms and programs to unpack and understand the visual information, as well as to facilitate information management.

The automation of flights, image acquisition, and information extraction - including documentation, tracking, and GIS data integration - will be in greater demand. Software developments will drive drone technology and its possibilities, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will increasingly be incorporated at all stages of data use. At present cloud-based machine learning (deep learning and predictive analytics) is employed to identify data characteristics, with spatial datasets trained by specialized teams. Although there are already some drone-based AI solutions for image recognition/machine vision in the industry (e.g. crop scouting or building roof surveys), it is still early in the technology development cycle. Integration of drone data and workflows into predictive maintenance and service solutions, as well as enterprise asset management systems will also be developed.

Other key areas requiring solutions are battery technology, navigation and positioning, safety, security, privacy and public nuisance issues, communication, regulation, and EVLOS and BVLOS – Extended and Beyond Visual Line of Sight. Growing requirements for increased flight endurance will require better battery power and technology, or alternative sources of energy such as solar power. In addition, cameras, sensor resolution, precision, and ease of use, will all continue to be areas needing greater development.

The SI welcomes scientific papers that touch upon some or all of these technological developments in the context of environmental remote sensing applications.

Dr. David R. Green
Dr. Cristina Gómez
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 papers will be 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. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2200 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.


  • UAS automation
  • UAV technology
  • information extraction
  • artificial intelligence
  • power technology
  • ease of use

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility Study Using UAV Aerial Photogrammetry for a Boundary Verification Survey of a Digitalized Cadastral Area in an Urban City of Taiwan
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(10), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12101682 - 25 May 2020
Cited by 1
In conducting land boundary verification surveys in digitalized cadastral areas in Taiwan, possible parcel points must be surveyed. These points are employed in the overlap analysis and map registration of possible parcel points and digitalized cadastral maps to identify the coordinates of parcel [...] Read more.
In conducting land boundary verification surveys in digitalized cadastral areas in Taiwan, possible parcel points must be surveyed. These points are employed in the overlap analysis and map registration of possible parcel points and digitalized cadastral maps to identify the coordinates of parcel points. Based on the computed horizontal distance and angle between control points and parcel points, parcels are staked out using ground surveys. Most studies survey possible parcel points using ground surveys with, for example, total stations. Compared with ground surveys, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) aerial photogrammetry can provide more possible parcel points. Thus, an overlap analysis of digitalized cadastral maps, combined with the collection of possible parcel points, will be more comprehensive. In this study, a high-quality-medium format camera, with a 55 mm focal length, was carried on a rotary UAV to take images, with a 3 cm ground sampling distance (GSD), flying 300 m above the ground. The images were taken with an 80% end-lap and side-lap to increase the visibility of the terrain details for stereo-mapping. According to the test conducted in this study, UAV aerial photogrammetry can accurately provide supplementary control points and assist in the boundary verification of digitalized cadastral areas in Taiwan. Full article
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