Research Topic

Advances in Hydrological Monitoring with Unmanned Aerial Systems

About this Research Topic

Data, and its timely delivery, presents one of the limiting factors for advancing in hydrological sciences. Traditional monitoring techniques are time consuming, expensive, and discontinuous in space and time. Currently, many regions suffer a critical lack of hydrological observations, which limit our ability to properly manage water resources. Moreover, field observations are influenced by instrumental degradation and human errors. Therefore, new observational strategies are required to overcome both technical and economical limitations of traditional methods and to drive further insights on hydrological processes.

In the last few years, advances in remotely-sensed Earth observations (EO) have led to improved monitoring capabilities at large scales, but their use is limited in either spatial resolution or temporal frequency. In this context, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) provide significant potential for hydrologic monitoring to open new opportunities and challenges for the research community and practitioners. Observations at high spatial and temporal resolution, obtained with UASs, can allow a deeper understanding and modeling of hydrological processes, improving water resource management and flood defense.

In recent years, the wide use of UASs for environmental monitoring has led to a significant growth of the number of applications for monitoring hydrological and hydraulic variables (vegetation status, soil moisture content and river flow). For this reason, there is a serious challenge to define Unmanned Aerial System methodologies developed for specific scopes, exploring uncertainty and sensitivity assessments. Moreover, there is a growing need to harmonize and provide standardized procedures applicable across a broad range of environments and conditions. This can allow the closure of the existing gap between large scale observations and local observations helping scientists to close the water budgets and improve the consistency of ecohydrological models.

Advances on Unmanned Aerial System-based methodologies, algorithms and technologies should be promoted to enhance hydrological science. Therefore, with this Research Topic, we would like to promote research which explores the contribution that UASs can provide on hydrological observations, understanding of hydraulic and hydrological processes and development of modelling approaches. More specifically, topics of interests are the following:

• Development of new sensors and Unmanned Aerial System configurations devoted to hydrological monitoring;
• Definition of guidelines of the best-practices to improve the overall quality of the final products promoting a consistent use of UASs in hydrology;
• Development of new algorithms able to exploit high resolution observations;
• Development of new methodologies to fill the gap between satellite observation and field data;
• Coupled application of hydrological models exploiting Unmanned Aerial System observations; and
• Linking the Unmanned Aerial System monitoring of hydrological processes to its novel applications in agricultural management, water resources management, early warning systems etc.


Keywords: UAS, Hydrology, Rivers, Vegetation, Environmental Monitoring


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Data, and its timely delivery, presents one of the limiting factors for advancing in hydrological sciences. Traditional monitoring techniques are time consuming, expensive, and discontinuous in space and time. Currently, many regions suffer a critical lack of hydrological observations, which limit our ability to properly manage water resources. Moreover, field observations are influenced by instrumental degradation and human errors. Therefore, new observational strategies are required to overcome both technical and economical limitations of traditional methods and to drive further insights on hydrological processes.

In the last few years, advances in remotely-sensed Earth observations (EO) have led to improved monitoring capabilities at large scales, but their use is limited in either spatial resolution or temporal frequency. In this context, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) provide significant potential for hydrologic monitoring to open new opportunities and challenges for the research community and practitioners. Observations at high spatial and temporal resolution, obtained with UASs, can allow a deeper understanding and modeling of hydrological processes, improving water resource management and flood defense.

In recent years, the wide use of UASs for environmental monitoring has led to a significant growth of the number of applications for monitoring hydrological and hydraulic variables (vegetation status, soil moisture content and river flow). For this reason, there is a serious challenge to define Unmanned Aerial System methodologies developed for specific scopes, exploring uncertainty and sensitivity assessments. Moreover, there is a growing need to harmonize and provide standardized procedures applicable across a broad range of environments and conditions. This can allow the closure of the existing gap between large scale observations and local observations helping scientists to close the water budgets and improve the consistency of ecohydrological models.

Advances on Unmanned Aerial System-based methodologies, algorithms and technologies should be promoted to enhance hydrological science. Therefore, with this Research Topic, we would like to promote research which explores the contribution that UASs can provide on hydrological observations, understanding of hydraulic and hydrological processes and development of modelling approaches. More specifically, topics of interests are the following:

• Development of new sensors and Unmanned Aerial System configurations devoted to hydrological monitoring;
• Definition of guidelines of the best-practices to improve the overall quality of the final products promoting a consistent use of UASs in hydrology;
• Development of new algorithms able to exploit high resolution observations;
• Development of new methodologies to fill the gap between satellite observation and field data;
• Coupled application of hydrological models exploiting Unmanned Aerial System observations; and
• Linking the Unmanned Aerial System monitoring of hydrological processes to its novel applications in agricultural management, water resources management, early warning systems etc.


Keywords: UAS, Hydrology, Rivers, Vegetation, Environmental Monitoring


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

18 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

18 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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