Sullivan, Don (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA))
Alzona, Marcus (Alzona, Marcus)
Laudati, Robert (Harris Corporation)

Group Charter:

Download Charter document

Group Description:

The Unmanned Systems (UxS) Domain Working Group (herein referred to as UxS with the “x” recognizing that aerial, underwater, and other unmanned vehicle platforms are included) is chartered to identify standards requirements and use cases for all aspects of unmanned systems operations focused on mission planning, geospatial data collection, and analysis.


The UxS domain is rapidly evolving and includes participants from diverse practice areas, not all of which are mature or geospatial in nature. While large Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) / Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have been in use for defense, ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), and remote sensing purposes for many years, the platforms now range in complexity from large, jet-propelled aircraft to palm-sized drones. Similarly, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) also have a long history of operations, becoming increasingly sophisticated in recent years with respect to capabilities and autonomy.

The payloads on UAV devices include observational sensors with a growing range of capabilities such as:

  • Optical sensors from high-resolution multispectral (or even hyperspectral) to sub-megapixel JPEG cameras
  • Full motion video (FMV) and wide area motion imagery (WAMI) sensors
  • Infrared and thermal sensors
  • LiDAR and RADAR sensors
  • Other radio frequency (RF) sensors

 The payloads on UUV devices are similarly diverse to those on UAVs:

  • Multibeam and side-scan SONAR sensors
  • Video and advanced cameras systems
  • Physical and water chemistry sensors
  • Physical sampling capabilities 

The resulting complexity in the marketplace around the vehicle, payload, and resulting data is driving an increased need for standardization to foster the use of UxSs. A few of the specific challenges under consideration in the proposed DWG include the following.

  • Mission planning – there is no single format for exchange of mission planning data that can be transferred to different equipment. The contextual information (generally base maps) for mission planning is often of variable quality and suitability of the context for the mission should be identified.
  • Operations – how does the device communicate its position and orientation; how does it “Get home;” what sensors help guide the device?
  • Data acquisition – how does data get tagged with metadata; what formats are supported; is data transmitted during collection?
  • Data exchange – imagery may be stored just a few common formats (JPEG, GeoTIFF, various raw formats, etc.), but given the fact that many observations might be highly oblique, what requirements need to be inserted into metadata standards?
  • Data processing – Mosaicking/compilation of data from multiple acquisition paths with the resulting resolution and precision considerations. Handling of temporal artifacts (temperature, sunlight, haze, etc.) to provide data consistency across subsequent revisits. 
  • Archival data formats - Interoperable formats that allow for easy replay of missions and re-purposing of data for additional uses.


Contact / Collaboration:


For more information and to collaborate with the working group, please contact the chairs (above), and consider joining the OGC.