Multifunctional Ground Control Points with a Wireless Network for Communication with a UAV

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jun 27;19(13):2852. doi: 10.3390/s19132852.


Ground control points (GCPs) are commonly used for georeferencing in remote sensing. Precise position measurement of the GCPs typically requires careful ground surveying, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive and thus excessively costly if it needs to be repeated multiple times in a season. A system of multifunctional GCPs and a wireless network for communication with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed to improve the speed of GCP setup and provide GCP data collection in real-time during the flight. While testing the system, a single-board computer on a fixed-wing UAV used in the study successfully recorded position data from all the GCPs during the flight. The multifunctional GCPs were also tested for use as references for calibration of reflectance and height for field objects like crops. The test of radiometric calibration resulted in an average reflectance error of 2.0% and a strong relationship (R2 = 0.99) between UAV-based estimates and ground reflectance. Furthermore, the average height difference between UAV-based height estimates and ground measurements was within 10 cm.

Keywords: ground control points; height calibration; radiometric calibration; unmanned aerial vehicle; wireless network.