Geovisualizing, representing, analyzing, modeling, and simulating

Complex Human-Environment Systems (CHES)

for improved envisioning, understanding, and planning



Unmanned Aerial Vehicle


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), with various sensors mounted on them, have been increasingly used to detect and monitor objects on the ground, including people, animals, and vegetation. We are particularly interested in using thermal infrared (TIR) data, primarily longwave radiation of surfaces as a function of a surface¡¯s kinetic temperature and emissivity. Humans and animals have higher thermal emittance than their ambient environment, particularly at night or in shaded places. TIR radiation from animals is largely determined by their metabolic heat, making them detectable relative to the surrounding environment's surface materials with lower temprature (Boonstra et. al. 1994). For these reasons, researchers have increasingly used TIR sensors mounted on UAVs when they aim to detect animals or humans and map their distributions.

We also make use of traditional imagery survey methods to collect CHES related data, such as GIS and Remote Sensing and Camera Trapping and Occupancy Modeling. Below are several papers related to the UAV method and applications.


Readings and References:


Boonstra, R., C.J. Krebs, S. Boutin, and J.M. Eadie.1994. Finding mammals using far-infrared thermal imaging. Journal of Mammalogy 75(4): 1063-1068.

Gonzalez, L. F., G.A Montes, E. Puig, S. Johnson, K. Mengersen, and K.J. Gaston. 2016. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and artificial intelligence revolutionizing wildlife monitoring and conservation. Sensors 16(1): 97.

Stark, D. J., I.P. Vaughan, L.J Evans, H. Kler, and B. Goossens. 2017. Combining drones and satellite tracking as an effective tool for informing policy change in riparian habitats: a proboscis monkey case study. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 1, 1002.

Matsuzawa, T. 2017. Monkeys and mountains in Yunnan, China. Primates 58(3): 379¨C383.

Linchant, J., J. Lisein, J. Semeki, P. Lejeune, and C. Vermeulen. 2015. Are unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) the future of wildlife monitoring? A review of accomplishments and challenges. Mammal Review 45(4): 239-252.


Examples, Models, and/or Documents:


In May 2017, Dr. Li An went to Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve and performed a set of preliminary experiments. The results show that the experimental macaca (Macaca thibetana) and a volunteer person were easily detected under natural canopies. We are actively seeking funding to perform UAV related research. Any one with interest in this research domain shall contact us at Thanks to Drs. Fang Qiu and Douglas A Stow for contributing to this part of research (inlcuding some text).