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The impact of small unmanned airborne platforms on passive optical remote sensing: a conceptual perspective

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Unmanned airborne systems (UAS), particularly the class of UAS referred to as small-unmanned airborne systems (S-UAS), have the potential to revolutionize the science, practice, and role of remote sensing. S-UAS-collected remote sensing data differ from that acquired from larger airborne and space-borne platforms in myriad ways. To provide an indication of the novel remote sensing capabilities that S-UAS are poised to enable and identify research priorities for realizing the full potential of remote sensing from these novel platforms, characteristics of S-UAS platforms and their impact on data and information products are analysed in the context of remote sensing model and the remote sensing communication model. Results indicate that S-UAS will not only enable a range of novel remote sensing capabilities but also present clear challenges to the remote sensing community. These challenges, including increased data volume, a paucity of appropriate analysis approaches, and restrictions on autonomous operation (both regulatory and technological), point towards several near-term research priorities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA 2: Earth Data Analysis Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA

Publication date: August 18, 2018

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