Geographic sciences are characterized by comprehensiveness, interdisciplinarity, and regionality. Nowadaysthe deeper integration between geographic sciences and modern new technologies such as computing technology, internet technology and space technology, has advanced the diversification of research methods and the explosive growth of data, which profoundly affects the continuously iterative improvement of geographic science in theories, methodologies and models, and thus will enhance the ability to solve practical problems and promote the rapid development of geographic sciences. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), multi-source remote sensing observations, and intelligent big data mining are becoming indispensable technologies, methodologies, and means for the study of geography branches. The applications of new technologies have effectively promoted the advancement of the frontier series of the geographic sciences, including the research on cross-regional and global-scale issues supported by space technology, the construction of large-scale and extreme environmental observation networks supported by automation and sensor network technologies, major natural reformation projects served by ecological restoration, environmental governance as well as comprehensive regulation and control of new technologies, holistic, panoramic, total factor, and space-time flow analysis refueled by big data as the orientation, the combination of virtual and real environmental research realized by virtual and augmented reality technologies, internet electronic maps supporting the social economic development, which has become the best benchmark for the transformation of geographic scientific and technological achievements, and UAV technologies promoting the research of three-dimensional refinement of landscape scale and the application of "remote sensing plus". With the applications of new technologies, the ability of geographic sciences to solve practical problems of socio-economic development has been significantly strengthened, and the scope of research has been expanded in depth. All these have profoundly affected the development of the discipline, and will also make significant contributions to the stability and efficiency of social economy.

    UAV applications have brought new perspectives and research methods to the study of both natural geography and human geography. Worth mentioning, UAV remote sensing can obtain centimeter-level land surface stereo structure information, which could play an important role in the three-dimensional reconstruction of landscape-scale geospatial environments, and the fine-grained measurement of three-dimensional information of the surface attachments such as urban buildings and forest vegetation. Meanwhile, it also shows great potential in 3D map services. As a representative of the highly comprehensive integration of contemporary new technologies, UAV can further realize the deepening implementation and extended application of traditional remote sensing data, including real-time transmission, SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping), plant protection, low-altitude air route planning, and network collaboration. All these have been referred to as "remote sensing plus" applications. UAV systems highly integrate the perception and cognition as well as the initiative of the dealing process, the widespread application of which is bound to improve the inter-disciplinary capability of geo-science researchers and the ability for the discipline itself to solve problems.

    This special issue aims to collect the latest progress in UAV applications in geographic sciences. We welcome insights on different aspects of cross-disciplinary development in this area, including algorithm, hardware innovations and new methodologies. Topics on geography-related sciences such as robotics and computer vision, navigation, mapping, and virtual reality, are also welcomed.

    This special issue focuses on contributions themed on "Progress in Geographic Sciences and UAV Applications", including but not limited to:

      l Exploration of UAV remote sensing applications: search and rescue, precision agriculture, natural disasters and environmental monitoring, mapping, change detection, infrastructure monitoring, and etc.;

      l 3D reconstruction of UAV optical image and LIDAR point cloud;

      l 2D and 3D mapping of UAV remote sensing data;

      l Fusion of UAV data with other data sources (LIDAR, airborne, satellite, synthetic aperture radar, etc.);

      l UAV online real-time acquisition/processing/collaboration;

      l Semantic scene understanding of UAV images and videos;

      l Geographical constraints of low-altitude flight;

      l Safety evaluation methods of headroom boundary;

      l Optimization of multi-level airway network resources;

      l Low-altitude public air route network applications;

      l UAV management and control systems;

      l New platforms, payloads and instruments for geographical sciences;

      l Technical challenges and emerging applications of UAV

      l UAV regulations and policies.


    For the format of the manuscript, please refer to the submission requirements of Progress in Geography. The manuscript is submitted online through the journal website (

    The deadline for submission of the full text is September 30th, 2020.

    Special issue is planned to be published by the first half year of 2021.


    Editor in chief:
    Liao Xiaohan
    Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences


    Guest editor-in-chief:
    Xiao Qing
    Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences


    Guest editor-in-chief:
    Guo Qinghua
    Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences


    Guest editor-in-chief:
    Maggi Kelly
    University of California, Berkeley


    Ye Huping
    Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences


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