Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 846–860 | Cite as

Measuring the area of cultivated land reclaimed from rural settlements using an unmanned aerial vehicle

  • Cunjian YangEmail author
  • Guanghong Xu
  • Hechao Li
  • Defei Yang
  • He Huang
  • Jing Ni
  • Xiao Li
  • Xiao Xiang


Investigating and monitoring the area of cultivated land reclaimed from rural settlements is important to optimize rural land use and understand spatial patterns. Measuring cultivated land area is costly and inefficient, however, as this land use type is often widely dispersed and scattered. A new method is therefore explored in this study that utilizes a Phantom2 Vision + (P2V), one kind of Dajiang (DJI) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The method proposed here includes generating rural settlement images using a P2V UAV, subsequently correcting them using a camera lens model, matching them with geo-coded high resolution alternatives, mosaicking them, measuring the area of cultivated land reclaimed from rural settlements, evaluating measurement accuracy, and analyzing overall efficiency. The results of this study show that use of a P2V UAV is reasonable in price, less than 8000 yuan (RMB), and that this method is able to measure cultivated land area reclaimed from rural settlements with 99% accuracy. This method is therefore low cost, highly efficient, and low risk, as well as being easy to learn and use. This UAV-based approach is also likely to be easily popularized and be particularly useful both for application across plains and flats as well as over mountains and hills. The method proposed in this study is also likely to prove beneficial for monitoring and managing rural land use and future consolidation.


unmanned aerial vehicle remote sensing reclaimed cultivated land rural settlements image mosaic 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Fan J, 2015. Draft of major function oriented zoning of China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 70(2): 186–201. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  2. Ji S H, Liu Y, 2014. Exploration of application of low altitude UAV remote sensing in monitoring land consolidation. Modern Surveying and Mapping, 37(3): 48–50. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  3. Li Y, Chen Z X, 1994. A spatial analysis of the system of rural communities in southern Shaanxi. Human Geography, 9(3): 13–21. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. Liu C J, Guo L, Yue C, 2014. Application of the UAV aerial technique in evaluation of flash flood disasters. China Flood & Drought Management, 24(3): 3–7. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Liu Q, Wang Y K, Guo Y M et al., 2018. Morphological characteristics and composition of plant species and their distribution patterns in Linpan of Chengdu Plain. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 38(10): 3553–3561. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  6. Liu Y, Qi Q, 2014. Application of unmanned aerial technology in the field of land and resources. Geospatial Information, 12(1): 29–30. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  7. Liu Y S, 2018. Research on the urban-rural integration and rural revitalization in the new era in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 73(4): 637–650. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  8. Liu Yu, Liu Y S, Wang J Y, 2010. Zoning and evaluation of rural residential land consolidation: A case of Hebei Province. Geographical Research, 29(1): 145–153. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  9. Lizarazo I, Angulo C, Rodriguez J, 2018. Automatic mapping of land surface elevation changes from UAV-based imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38(8–10): 2603–2622.Google Scholar
  10. Luo X Q, Wang Y, Yuan X Y, 2013. Exploration and practice of surveying and mapping technology method in rural land consolidation project. Geospatial Information, 11(5): 37–39. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  11. Ning J, Liu J Y, Kuang W H et al., 2018. Spatiotemporal patterns and characteristics of land use change in China during 2010–2015. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 28(5): 547–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ren X H, 2014. Producing the ortho-image for land consolidation based on low altitude UAV images. Geomatics Technology and Equipment, 16(1): 48–51. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  13. Tan X L, Zhou G H, Zhu S H et al., 2015. Landscape pattern changes and the characteristic of spatio-temporal differentiation of rural residential area in Changsha in recent 20 years. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(2): 204–210. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Wang J, Liang J H, Zheng J X, 2014. Application UAV in registering the use right of rural land. Geomatics & Spatial Information Technology, 37(8): 183–184. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Wang Y P, Chen Y J, Xie D H et al., 2014. Automatic mosaic method for UAV water-area images. Journal of Yangtze River Scientific Research Institute, 31(5): 92–95. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  16. Zhang C B, Yang S T, Zhao C S et al., 2018, Topographic data accuracy verification of small consumer. Journal of Remote Sensing, 22(1): 185–195. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. Zhang X C, Zhao Z Y, Zhou Z Y et al., 2012. Application of UAV remote sensing technology with CORS in land use plan at village level. China Land Science, 26(1): 82–85. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Zhao R, Wang E Y, Zhang X L et al., 2006. Human Geography. Beijing: Higher Education Press. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  19. Zhao Q Y, Zhang Z L, 2015. Benefit allocation of rural residential land consolidation in Dongfan village, Shanxi Province. Resources Science, 37(7): 1376–1383. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  20. Zhao X T, Hu K, Lu X P et al., 2014. Precise detection method for mine geological disasters using low-altitude photogrammetry based on unmanned aerial vehicle. Science of Surveying and Mapping, 39(6): 49–52. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press Springer-Verlag 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cunjian Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guanghong Xu
    • 2
  • Hechao Li
    • 3
  • Defei Yang
    • 4
  • He Huang
    • 5
  • Jing Ni
    • 1
  • Xiao Li
    • 6
  • Xiao Xiang
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Center of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System Application, Key Laboratory of Land Resources Evaluation and Monitoring in Southwest, Ministry of EducationSichuan Normal UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.Chongqing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsChongqingChina
  3. 3.Sichuan Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation CenterChengduChina
  4. 4.College of Landscape ArchitectureNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  5. 5.College of Fundamental EducationSichuan Normal UniversityChengduChina
  6. 6.Sichuan Land Survey and Planning Research InstituteChengduChina

Personalised recommendations