Positioning and Navigation in Challenging Environments

Submission Deadline:  31 December 2021

IEEE Access invites manuscript submissions in the area of Positioning and Navigation in Challenging Environments.   

In recent years, positioning and navigation has become a vital part of modern life especially with the continuous performance enhancement and modernization of the four global navigation satellite systems. Positioning and navigation industry has been growing quickly and has played a significant role in the industrial chain. Although great progress and many achievements have been made over the past few decades, there are a range of significant issues to be dealt with, especially in challenging environments.

In complex (e.g. large, multi-floor) indoor environments, it is a challenge to generate a valid positioning and navigation solution by a remote cloud platform with both offline and online data (e.g. WiFi and magnetic fingerprint data) recorded with smartphones The problem may become more complex if a pedestrian goes through different scenarios, such as from one floor to another floor of the same building, or from one building to another connected or neighboring building. There is a preference to avoid any interruption in the provision of valid position information. Thus, in the design of next-generation (beyond 5G) communication systems, the positioning functions need to be enabled and standardization of positioning technology such as in 3GPP should be taken into account.

As natural resources of the earth’s surface and shallow sea are becoming scarce, it is inevitable to acquire resources from deep underground, deep underwater and outer space. Regarding deep underground mining, there are currently a good number of deep mines in the world, including Mponeng Gold Mine and Tau Tona Mine, both located in South Africa with a depth of about 3.9km, and Kidd Creek Copper and Zinc Mine located in Ontario, Canada with a depth of about 2.9km. Deep underground mining is a challenging scenario which usually has high humidity and irregular space distribution, requiring stricter restrictions on the design and building of positioning and navigation systems.

Deep sea mining is promising because of abundant minerals on and under the deep seabed. For instance, a large amount of polymetallic nodules, containing rich concentrations of manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt, are found in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a great abyssal plain as wide as the continental United States that lies 4 to 6 km below the surface of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Abundant naturel gas and oil also exist deep under the sea. Positioning and navigation is important for vehicles and robots to pick up the seabed surface minerals and to perform drilling and extraction of minerals under the seabed.

Space mining is currently a hot topic and should become a reality in the next few decades. , It is crucial to provide accurate and reliable positioning and navigation information for spacecraft and/or space robots which will approach and then usually land on the target planet (e.g. moon) or asteroid, followed by exploration, mining and so on; or simply catch and hold a rather small asteroid and move it back to Earth. For instance, a small Japanese space capsule carrying pristine pieces of the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu touched down on 5 December 2020, northwest of the South Australian capital of Adelaide. This was a successful initial step towards space mining on asteroids.

Positioning and navigation is vital for safe, reliable and effective operations in the scenarios of the frontier applications mentioned above. This Special Section aims to report the recent advances on positioning and navigation in such challenging scenarios. Researchers and engineers are also encouraged to perform more research and development to make advances in this area.

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Positioning and navigation in complex indoor environments
  • Deep underground positioning and navigation
  • Positioning and navigation for deep ocean operations and mining
  • Positioning and navigation for space exploration and mining
  • Cloud computing for positioning and navigation
  • High sensitivity GNSS receivers
  • Suppression of GNSS jamming and spoofing
  • Positioning for communication systems beyond 5G
  • Standardization of positioning technology


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Associate Editor:  Kegen Yu, China University of Mining and Technology, Mainland of China

Guest Editors:

    1. Andrew Dempster, University of New South Wales, Australia
    2. Pau Closas, Northeastern University, USA
    3. Shih-Hau Fang, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan
    4. Guenther Retscher, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
    5. Ali Broumandan, Hexagon Autonomy and Positioning, Canada


Relevant IEEE Access Special Sections:

    1. GNSS, Localization, and Navigation Technologies
    2. Intelligent Systems for the Internet of Things
    3. Convergence of Sensor Networks, Cloud Computing, and Big Data in Industrial Internet of Things


IEEE Access Editor-in-Chief:  Prof. Derek Abbott, University of Adelaide

Article submission: Contact Associate Editor and submit manuscript to:

 For inquiries regarding this Special Section, please contact: kegenyu@foxmail.com.