Interview on SpeCtrum

Can you tell us how you started working on using UASs for environmental monitoring? What was your motivation, and what did you find the most interesting in this research field? What are the knowledge gaps and major challenges in this research field?

I have always been interested in spatial patterns of natural ecosystems. Nature is able to create an incredible diversity of elements that have been inspiring for all of us. The driving processes that produce such patterns are open questions stimulating many of my studies. In this context, UAS offers the opportunity to explore such patterns at a level of detail that was unimaginable a few years ago. Therefore, I envisaged the possibility to use this tool to tackle my research questions in the field of hydrological and ecohydrological science.

Can you share with us any current specific project, activity, or initiative that you are particularly excited about?

I’m particularly proud to be the Chair of the COST Action “Harmonization of UAS techniques for agricultural and natural ecosystems monitoring – HARMONIOUS”, which includes more than 100 scientists from 36 countries. The HARMONIOUS Action is one of the biggest Actions funded by COST Organization ( focusing on the development of guidelines for the use of UAS applied for hydrological monitoring. Members of the HARMONIOUS Action are now focusing on the preparation of a book edited by Elsevier providing more detailed guidelines for UAS applications in hydrology, which will be one of the main deliverables of the project.

More details about the project activities can be found on the web-page

What are some of the areas of research you’d like to see tackled over the next ten years?

UAS offers the opportunity of acquiring high-resolution data for monitoring environmental processes, bridging the gap between traditional field studies and satellite remote sensing [An important paper in this context is]. Their versatility, adaptability, and flexibility may allow the implementation of new strategies to support the validation of satellite products, which are systematically adopted in a series of operational weather and hydrological models. This may help to develop an integrated global monitoring system of higher accuracy and precision.

Can you share with us your perspectives and experiences on how UAS remote sensing has changed the way the world addresses environmental monitoring and conservation agendas? What do you think is the role of remote sensing and geospatial information science in achieving a sustainable environment?

With the evolution of drone technologies over the last decade, UAS became an inexpensive way of mapping environmental processes for forestry planning, tracking landslides, river monitoring and precision agriculture. Environmental agencies and civil protection are increasingly adopting UAS- photogrammetry, but there are an enormous number of additional information that may be retrieved by UAS (e.g., stream flow, morphological evolution, soil moisture, state of vegetation, among others). It is our responsibility to simplify the use of UASs and make their products accessible to anyone.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face (or have you faced) as a scientist in your field? Are there any common misconceptions about this area of research?

It is common to underestimate the complexity associated with the use of these tools. UAS requires a large number of competencies and knowledge that should be implemented in clear protocols in order to transform the huge amount of data acquired to useful information. Therefore, one challenge is represented by the standardization of procedures adopted for UAS surveys in different operating configurations and environmental conditions. In this context, the members of the HARMONIOUS COST Action have published some preliminary studies to support this process [see the manuscript].

Finally, what are you most passionate about? What is your advice to students and young professionals who are pursuing research on UAS remote sensing and environmental protection, and nature conservation? Which areas in this research field remain understudied and should be considered for future research?

I believe that UAS remote sensing will evolve in the coming years, offering new monitoring opportunities. One of the main limitations that we are encountering right now in the description of hydrological processes is represented by the limited extent of UAS imagery. There is a pressing need to extend the limits of surveyed areas in order to have intercomparison between UAS and satellite data. This may help to define downscaling procedures for the estimation of environmental variables at high resolution and over large scales. This will be possible with the use of long range UAS or with swarms of drones which will be fundamental for future advances in remote sensing.

Happy Easter

I would like to wish you all a Happy Easter of Resurrection.

After this long period of difficulties, I hope that this will really be a reborn for a new COVID free life.

HARMONIOUS deliverables of 2020

This year, COST Action – HARMONIOUS members produced a quite impressive number of results working online. Imagine what we could do without restrictions!
See the following list:
1. Use of UAVs with the simplified “triangle” technique
2. Identifying the optimal spatial distribution of tracers
3. A geostatistical approach to map near-surface soil moisture
4. Refining image-velocimetry performances for streamflow monitoring
5. Metrics for the quantification of seeding characteristics
6. Harmonisation of image velocimetry techniques for river surface velocity observations
7. An integrative information aqueduct to close the gaps in water observations
8. Practical guidance for UAS-based environmental mapping
9. Long-term soil moisture observations over Tibetan Plateau
10. Image velocimetry techniques under low flow conditions

#hydrology #environmentalmonitoring #remotesensing #UAS #rivermonitoring

Call for Papers on Advances in Hydrological Monitoring with UASs

We are promoting a new research topic entitled Advances in Hydrological Monitoring with Unmanned Aerial Systems in Frontiers in Remote Sensing.


Abstract Submission by March 2021
Manuscript Submission by July 2021

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, Environmental Monitoring, Hydrology, Rivers, Vegetation.

Appunti di Idrologia Superficiale

Da oggi è disponibile la versione e-book del libro “Appunti di Idrologia Superficiale” pubblicato dalla casa Editrice Aracne.

SINTESI: Il testo offre spunti ed approfondimenti sui processi idrologici superficiali e con particolare riferimento all’interazione acqua-suolo tenendo in considerazione anche le esigenze di carattere tecnico-pratico del lettore. Per tale motivo, oltre a proporre dei contenuti di carattere generale sul tema dell’idrologia superficiale, vengono riportate informazioni utili alla caratterizzazione idrologica in differenti contesti del territorio nazionale.

Disponibile al link: Aracne Editrice

Il contributo dell’idrologia tecnica per una società più resiliente ai fenomeni naturali 

10:00 – 10:20 – I sistemi di allertamento nazionali e regionali: questioni aperte  – Fausto Guzzetti (Dirigente Dipartimento Protezione Civile)

10:20 – 10:40 – Impatti e pressioni legati alla gestione delle risorse idriche sui corpi idrici naturali – Maurizio Giugni (Commissario straordinario per la depurazione delle acque)

10:40 – 11:00 – Revisione e aggiornamento delle mappe della pericolosità e del rischio di alluvione e nuovi piani di gestione – Barbara Lastoria (Responsabile Sezione Attuazione Direttiva Acque e Alluvioni ISPRA)

11:00 – 11:20 –  Pratiche di gestione delle risorse idrichePaolo Botti (Direttore del Servizio tutela e gestione delle risorse idriche, vigilanza sui servizi idrici e gestione della siccità – Regione Sardegna)

Advances in Image Velocimetry for Sensing River Flows

This Research Topic seeks to publish articles that demonstrate the utility of image velocimetry techniques for sensing the fluvial environment; that advance the development of image-based techniques; and inform deployment practices for the sensing of river flow processes. Of particular interest are research articles and commentaries where image-based techniques have:
• Advanced fundamental understanding of fluvial processes (e.g. flood flow dynamics)
• Been used as the basis for predictions of fluvial processes (e.g. bank erosion, sediment transport)
• Led to the advancement of industrial, or management practices (e.g. river flow quantification, eco-hydraulic assessments, hazard assessment, assessment of engineering structure performance).
In addition, research articles that report technical advances are also welcomed. These may include, but are not limited to:
• New approaches for image-based sensing of river flows
• Assessments of the applicability and accuracy of existing workflows and techniques
• Advancement of existing image velocimetry techniques
• Methodological refinements and recommendations for best practice

Advances in Large Scale Flood Monitoring and Detection

Climate change and landuse transformations have induced an increased flood risk worldwide. These phenomena are impacting dramatically on ordinary life and economy. Research and technology offer new strategy to quantify and predict such phenomena and also to mitigate the impact of flooding. In particular, the growing computational power is offering new strategies for a more detailed description of the flooding over large scales. This book offers an overview of the most recent outcomes of the research on this argument.