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Special Issue "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications in Cryospheric Sciences"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Carlo De Michele

Department Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: snowpack and glacier dynamics
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Riccardo Barzaghi

Politecnico di Milano, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA)—Geomatics and Geodesy Section, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: GNSS, Photogrammetry, Geodetic Data analysis
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Alberto Cina

Politecnico di Torino, Department of Environment, Land, and Infrastructure Engineering, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Geomatics, UAV, Photogrammetry, GNSS, LiDAR
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Livio Pinto

Politecnico di Milano, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA)—Geomatics and Geodesy Section, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Geomatics, UAV photogrammetry, Monitoring
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Marco Piras

Politecnico di Torino, Department of Environment, Land, and Infrastructure Engineering, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Geomatics, UAV, Photogrammetry, GNSS, LiDAR

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The large diffusion, in civilian uses, of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, represent the latest revolution in the survey of the Earth [Kelleher et al. 2018, Williams et al. 2016] and new opportunities in high-resolution mapping. From a technological point of view, UAVs may have different configurations with different designs (e.g., multi-rotors, fixed-wing, and single or swarm of drones), settings (e.g., overlaps, flight height), payloads, and sensors (e.g., RGB or CIR camera, laser scanning, and GPS stand alone or differential). UAVs constitute a cheap source of high-resolution aerial images, which, processed with photogrammetric methods, allow one to produce digital surface models and orthophotos. Thus, UAVs provide incredible opportunities for developing geophysical applications and improving our knowledge of phenomena under investigation.

In this Special Issue, we focus our attention on UAVs applications in cryospheric sciences, related to the following:

  • The assessment of snow and ice dynamics;
  • The investigation of glacier changes and modifications in terms of both mass and shape;
  • The development of new UAV settings for reducing the number GCPs in field campaigns;
  • The comparison between surveys operated with UAVs and other sensors and instruments available in the literature.   

References

  1. Kelleher, C.; Scholz, C.A.; Condon, L. and Reardon, M. Drones in geoscience research: The sky is the only limit. Eos, 2018, 99,doi:10.1029/2018EO092269.
  2. Williams, G. D., et al. Drones in a cold climate, Eos, 2016, 97,doi: 10.1029/2016EO043673.

Prof. Dr. Carlo De Michele
Prof. Dr. Riccardo Barzaghi
Prof. Dr. Alberto Cina
Prof. Dr. Livio Pinto
Prof. Dr. Marco Piras
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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • Unmanned aerial vehicle
  • Digital photogrammetry
  • Geomatics
  • 3D model
  • Applications
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Glacier
  • Boreal forest
  • Change detection
  • Climate change

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Resolving Fine-Scale Surface Features on Polar Sea Ice: A First Assessment of UAS Photogrammetry Without Ground Control
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11070784
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
PDF Full-text (14667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Mapping landfast sea ice at a fine spatial scale is not only meaningful for geophysical study, but is also of benefit for providing information about human activities upon it. The combination of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with structure from motion (SfM) methods have [...] Read more.
Mapping landfast sea ice at a fine spatial scale is not only meaningful for geophysical study, but is also of benefit for providing information about human activities upon it. The combination of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with structure from motion (SfM) methods have already revolutionized the current close-range Earth observation paradigm. To test their feasibility in characterizing the properties and dynamics of fast ice, three flights were carried out in the 2016–2017 austral summer during the 33rd Chinese National Antarctic Expedition (CHINARE), focusing on the area of the Prydz Bay in East Antarctica. Three-dimensional models and orthomosaics from three sorties were constructed from a total of 205 photos using Agisoft PhotoScan software. Logistical challenges presented by the terrain precluded the deployment of a dedicated ground control network; however, it was still possible to indirectly assess the performance of the photogrammetric products through an analysis of the statistics of the matching network, bundle adjustment, and Monte-Carlo simulation. Our results show that the matching networks are quite strong, given a sufficient number of feature points (mostly > 20,000) or valid matches (mostly > 1000). The largest contribution to the total error using our direct georeferencing approach is attributed to inaccuracies in the onboard position and orientation system (POS) records, especially in the vehicle height and yaw angle. On one hand, the 3D precision map reveals that planimetric precision is usually about one-third of the vertical estimate (typically 20 cm in the network centre). On the other hand, shape-only errors account for less than 5% for the X and Y dimensions and 20% for the Z dimension. To further illustrate the UAS’s capability, six representative surface features are selected and interpreted by sea ice experts. Finally, we offer pragmatic suggestions and guidelines for planning future UAS-SfM surveys without the use of ground control. The work represents a pioneering attempt to comprehensively assess UAS-SfM survey capability in fast ice environments, and could serve as a reference for future improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications in Cryospheric Sciences)
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