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Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Engineering Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 7678

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
European Commission Joint Research Centre, 21027 Ispra, Italy
Interests: remote sensing; earth observation; GNSS; GNSS-reflectometry; GNSS-meteorology

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Guest Editor
Topcon Positioning System, Inc., Modena, Italy
Interests: GNSS; Galileo; signal processing; estimation theory; Kalman filtering; tracking; inertial sensors; navigation; receiver design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
European Commission Joint Research Centre, 21027 Ispra, Italy
Interests: GNSS; positioning; data authentication; UAVs

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Guest Editor
CommSensLab – UPC, “María de Maeztu” Excellence Research Unit, Department of Signal Theory and Communications, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya—BarcelonaTech (UPC) and Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya IEEC/CTE-UPC. UPC Campus Nord, building D4, office 016, c/Jordi Girona 31, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: microwave radiometry; GNSS-R; RFI mitigation; CubeSats; SMOS; soil moisture; sea surface salinity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Remote Sensing (RS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) contribute to the definition of key products and services that improve societal benefits in a broad range of applications and sectors (e.g., geosciences, agriculture, transport, and global health).

The availability of four GNSS constellations (GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo), which provide a wide variety of signals and services, expands the range of possible applications and innovative techniques (GNSS Radio Occultation, GNSS reflectometry, GNSS Ionospheric monitoring). In addition, the increasing availability of low-cost GNSS equipment offers new possibilities for the R&D and operational domains. International Earth Observation (EO) missions and the European Union's Earth Observation programme, Copernicus, are expanding the availability and diversity of EO products, fostering the development of new applications. Digital solutions combining both RS and GNSS are in development, with aims such as reaching climate neutrality, promoting sustainable mobility and improving health. These applications are becoming more numerous, accurate and impactful for our modern society. Methodological developments for algorithmic retrievals are needed to account for new challenges that arise from the increased availability of data, while ensuring system integrity and interoperability.

The synergies between both technologies are expected to play a critical role in reinforcing the efficiency of current solutions and developing future capabilities.

Examples of such applications and developments include, but are not limited to:

  • Natural hazards mitigation and natural disasters prevention (e.g., flood, drought, landslide, tsunami) thanks to early warning systems, including the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for search and rescue and rapid mapping.
  • Space weather monitoring and forecasting (e.g., Total Electron Content monitoring, scintillation detection and mitigation).               
  • Sustainable and smart mobility applications, including autonomous driving and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
  • Agriculture with precision digital farming solutions and vegetation monitoring.
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity monitoring (e.g., animal tracking, coastal, vegetation, snow monitoring).
  • Developments in GNSS and EO using citizen science and crowdsourcing data from low-cost equipment (e.g., smartphones, wearable devices).

Papers highlighting scientific developments that create bridges between Remote Sensing and GNSS users are highly welcome.

This Special Issue is dedicated to discussing new developments in GNSS algorithms and emphasizing various applications related to remote sensing with societal implications. Research articles, technical notes, review articles as well as short communications are welcome.

Dr. Karen Boniface
Dr. Melania Susi
Dr. Sophie Damy
Prof. Dr. Adriano Camps
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. 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 2700 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

  • GNSS (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS)
  • COPERNICUS
  • climate-change monitoring
  • natural hazards
  • space weather
  • remote sensing
  • low-cost GNSS receivers
  • GNSS contribution to geodynamics
  • data fusion
  • crowdsourcing/citizen science.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 8818 KiB  
Article
Lake Altimetry Using Long Coherent Integration Carrier Phase Measurements from Airborne GNSS Reflectometry
by Nolan Varais, Jérôme Verdun, José Cali and Laurent Lestarquit
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(17), 4192; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15174192 - 25 Aug 2023
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Today, land and ocean observations are crucial for monitoring climate change. The method of GNSS reflectometry is an opportunistic way to provide low-cost observations of many geophysical parameters. However, although this method has been the subject of numerous research studies, work is still [...] Read more.
Today, land and ocean observations are crucial for monitoring climate change. The method of GNSS reflectometry is an opportunistic way to provide low-cost observations of many geophysical parameters. However, although this method has been the subject of numerous research studies, work is still in progress to improve its possibilities and fields of application. This paper focuses on GNSS reflectometry using carrier phase measurements for water altimetry measurements. The difficulties in implementing such a method lie in the need to collect a coherent signal and to solve the integer ambiguity value. In this context, the implementation of innovative signal processing is described, including the correlation of the reflected signals in dedicated software and the prolongation of the coherent integration time to enhance signal coherency. These processes were applied to data collected over Carcans-Hourtin Lake in France to compute the height of the reflection surface which was then compared to in situ GNSS buoy height measurements. The results show that at 300 ft (91.44 m), the differences between the lake heights measured with the buoy and with the reflectometry data can reach less than 1 cm for the L1, E1 and E5 GNSS signals. In addition, the slope of the geoid estimated with the reflectometry data is very consistent with that of the RAF20 geoid model, with a difference of up to less than 2 mm/km. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing)
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19 pages, 5706 KiB  
Article
Low-Cost BDS Reflectometry for Real-Time Water Surface Retrieval
by Ken Deng, Peiyuan Zhou, Lan Du, Zhongkai Zhang and Zejun Liu
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(12), 3073; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15123073 - 12 Jun 2023
Viewed by 767
Abstract
The official launch of the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System with global coverage (BDS-3) presents significant opportunities for various applications, including precision agriculture and autonomous driving, among others. With its global spatial coverage and hybrid space constellation comprising geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), inclined [...] Read more.
The official launch of the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System with global coverage (BDS-3) presents significant opportunities for various applications, including precision agriculture and autonomous driving, among others. With its global spatial coverage and hybrid space constellation comprising geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO), and medium Earth orbit (MEO) satellites, BDS can significantly contribute to various GNSS remote sensing applications that require real-time, precise water surface height measurements with high temporal and spatial resolution, such as in tidal monitoring. In this paper, we propose a carrier-phase-based method for BDS Reflectometry (BDS-R) to precisely retrieve real-time water surface height. Firstly, the BDS-R altimetry method is introduced, along with a detailed explanation of the data processing procedures. Secondly, a quality control method tailored to the characteristics of low-cost BDS devices is developed. Thirdly, a land altimetry experiment is conducted to evaluate the precision of BDS-R and analyze the specific contribution of the BDS hybrid constellation. Finally, a water surface altimetry experiment validates the real-time monitoring capabilities for low-cost BDS-R. The results indicate that low-cost BDS-R can achieve real-time centimeter-level water level monitoring with a temporal resolution of 1 s in lakefront environments. The performance of BDS-R can be significantly improved by the BDS hybrid constellation, particularly IGSOs. It is concluded that low-cost BDS-R has great potential for promoting ground-based GNSS remote sensing applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing)
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23 pages, 22081 KiB  
Article
A Study of Tropospheric and Ionospheric Propagation Conditions during Differential Interferometric SAR Measurements Applied on Zagreb 22 March 2020 Earthquake
by Mladen Viher, Josip Vuković and Ivan Racetin
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(3), 701; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15030701 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1391
Abstract
The differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar (DInSAR) method is based on phase variation between the complex value of pixels of timely separated scenes in interferometric SAR pairs. This phase variation has five components: surface topography, curvature of planet’s surface, terrain displacement, volume scatterers, [...] Read more.
The differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar (DInSAR) method is based on phase variation between the complex value of pixels of timely separated scenes in interferometric SAR pairs. This phase variation has five components: surface topography, curvature of planet’s surface, terrain displacement, volume scatterers, and atmospheric propagation effects. The terrain displacement is the main product of the DInSAR method, while the last two effects are unpredictable and bring inaccuracy into the terrain displacement measurements. In this work, the propagation conditions in the troposphere and ionosphere were studied during two DInSAR measurements examining the Zagreb 22 March 2020 earthquake, with terrain raising of up to +3 cm at the epicenter. For the troposphere, the vertical profile of the modified refraction index, which incorporates local curvature change with height, was reconstructed using aerological balloon probing data. Ionospheric conditions were determined based on total electron content (TEC) calculated from the Croatian positioning system (CROPOS) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) reference stations’ measurements. One of the DInSAR measurements was conducted in unfavorable tropospheric refractive conditions, which resulted in an overall bias of −2 cm. The variability of propagation conditions indicates the need for examining the atmospheric propagation effects when calculating terrain displacements using the DInSAR method. The results of DInSAR indicate slight displacements, comparable with the amplitude of atmospheric variations, and should therefore be approached with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing)
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19 pages, 5063 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Dynamic Mode Decomposition (DMD) Model for Ionospheric TEC Map Predictions
by Vlad Landa and Yuval Reuveni
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(2), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15020365 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1914
Abstract
In this study, we assess the Dynamic Mode Decomposition (DMD) model applied with global ionospheric vertical Total Electron Content (vTEC) maps to construct 24-h global ionospheric vTEC map forecasts using the available International GNSS Service (IGS) 2-h cadence vTEC maps. In addition, we [...] Read more.
In this study, we assess the Dynamic Mode Decomposition (DMD) model applied with global ionospheric vertical Total Electron Content (vTEC) maps to construct 24-h global ionospheric vTEC map forecasts using the available International GNSS Service (IGS) 2-h cadence vTEC maps. In addition, we examine the impact of a EUV 121.6 nm time series data source with the DMD control (DMDc) framework, which shows an improvement in the vTEC Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) values compared with the IGS final solution vTEC maps. Both the DMD and DMDc predictions present close RMSE scores compared with the available CODE 1-day predicted ionospheric maps, both for quiet and disturbed solar activity. Finally, we evaluate the predicted global ionospheric vTEC maps with the East-North-Up (ENU) coordinate system errors metric, as an ionospheric correction source for L1 single-frequency GPS/GNSS Single Point Positioning (SPP) solutions. Based on these findings, we argue that the commonly adopted vTEC map comparison RMSE metric fails to correctly reflect an informative impact with L1 single-frequency positioning solutions using dual-frequency ionospheric corrections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing)
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23 pages, 12463 KiB  
Article
Downscaling SMAP Brightness Temperatures to 3 km Using CYGNSS Reflectivity Observations: Factors That Affect Spatial Heterogeneity
by Liza J. Wernicke, Clara C. Chew, Eric E. Small and Narendra N. Das
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(20), 5262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14205262 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1428
Abstract
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission only retrieved ~2.5 months of 3 km near surface soil moisture (NSSM) before its radar transmitter malfunctioned. NSSM remains an important area of study, and multiple applications would benefit from 3 km NSSM data. With the [...] Read more.
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission only retrieved ~2.5 months of 3 km near surface soil moisture (NSSM) before its radar transmitter malfunctioned. NSSM remains an important area of study, and multiple applications would benefit from 3 km NSSM data. With the goal of creating a 3 km NSSM product, we developed an algorithm to downscale SMAP brightness temperatures (TBs) using Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) reflectivity data. The purpose of downscaling SMAP TB is to represent the spatial heterogeneity of TB at a finer scale than possible via passive microwave data alone. Our SMAP/CYGNSS TB downscaling algorithm uses β as a scaling factor that adjusts TB based on variations in CYGNSS reflectivity. β is the spatially varying slope of the negative linear relationship between SMAP emissivity (TB divided by surface temperature) and CYGNSS reflectivity. In this paper, we describe the SMAP/CYGNSS TB downscaling algorithm and its uncertainties and we analyze the factors that affect the spatial patterns of SMAP/CYGNSS β. 3 km SMAP/CYGNSS TBs are more spatially heterogeneous than 9 km SMAP enhanced TBs. The median root mean square difference (RMSD) between 3 km SMAP/CYGNSS TBs and 9 km SMAP TBs is 3.03 K. Additionally, 3 km SMAP/CYGNSS TBs capture expected NSSM patterns on the landscape. Lower (more negative) β values yield greater spatial heterogeneity in SMAP/CYGNSS TBs and are generally found in areas with low topographic roughness (<350 m), moderate NSSM variance (~0.01–0.0325), low-to-moderate mean annual precipitation (~0.25–1.5 m), and moderate mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (~0.2–0.6). β values are lowest in croplands and grasslands and highest in forested and barren lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Developments and Solutions Integrating GNSS and Remote Sensing)
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