Autonomous Mobile Ground Control Point Improves Accuracy of Agricultural Remote Sensing through Collaboration with UAV Academic Article uri icon


  • Ground control points (GCPs) are critical for agricultural remote sensing that require georeferencing and calibration of images collected from an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at different times. However, the conventional stationary GCPs are time-consuming and labor-intensive to measure, distribute, and collect their information in a large field setup. An autonomous mobile GCP and a collaboration strategy to communicate with the UAV were developed to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the UAV-based data collection process. Prior to actual field testing, preliminary tests were conducted using the system to show the capability of automatic path tracking by reducing the root mean square error (RMSE) for lateral deviation from 34.3 cm to 15.6 cm based on the proposed look-ahead tracking method. The tests also indicated the feasibility of moving reflectance reference panels successively along all the waypoints without having detrimental effects on pixel values in the mosaicked images, with the percentage errors in digital number values ranging from 1.1% to 0.1%. In the actual field testing, the autonomous mobile GCP was able to successfully cooperate with the UAV in real-time without any interruption, showing superior performances for georeferencing, radiometric calibration, height calibration, and temperature calibration, compared to the conventional calibration method that has stationary GCPs.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Han, X., Thomasson, J. A., Wang, T., & Swaminathan, V.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Han, Xiongzhe||Thomasson, J Alex||Wang, Tianyi||Swaminathan, Vaishali

publication date

  • January 2020