Cloud-inclusive Aerial Imagery based on Commercial Flights as Remote Sensing Platform

Published online: Nov 29, 2023 Full Text: PDF (6.58 MiB) DOI: 10.24138/jcomss-2023-0140
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Dinko Zidic, Jelena Culic Gambiroza, Toni Mastelic, Mario Cagalj


Earth observation (EO) significantly increased in the second half of the 20th century and continues to advance rapidly, with remote sensing being a key component for gathering Earth-related information. Nowadays, satellites, manned aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and drones are used to capture aerial imagery in a periodic or schedule-based manner. This paper examine the feasibility of creating a novel remote sensing system by mounting cameras on commercial flights. The study evaluates flight coverage, including spatial and temporal resolutions, and considers the impact of clouds on image usability. We have compared flight coverage with cloud-inclusive flight coverage, which represents reduced flight coverage based on cloud quantity. Results show that entire country of Croatia is covered between 95% and 100% during the day and night. However, when clouds are included in the calculation, it is important to consider different altitudes and periods of the year because their distribution is not the same. In a less cloudy month (August), the highest differences between flight coverage and cloud-inclusive flight coverage for high-altitude flights are 70% for the worst-case scenario and 25% for the best-case scenario. Results show it is feasible to use commercial flights as a new remote sensing system.


remote sensing, aerial imagery, commercial flights, flight coverage, clouds, cloud-inclusive flight coverage
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.