Our Mission

To foster an understanding of remote sensing science. Emphasis is placed on developing a meaningful dialogue among geographers interested in understanding and applying remote sensing technology in research, instruction, public service, and private enterprise.

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2021 Student Honors Paper Competition

Sponsored by the Remote Sensing Specialty Group

AAG Annual Meeting, April 7-11, 2021, Virtual

The Remote Sensing Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 Students Honors Paper Competition. Students from all academic levels are invited to submit original research papers on all topics that advance the field of remote sensing and GIS. Students selected as finalists will be placed in a special paper session at the Annual Meeting to be held virtually on April 7-11, 2021.

Paper Information

We encourage papers on innovative remote sensing and GIS methods, concepts, theories as well as applications. Research must have been completed within the past academic year as part of the applicant's undergraduate or graduate studies and can include thesis/dissertation topics. The applicant must still be a student at the time of presentation. While papers may include co-authors, the applicant must be primarily responsible for the research presented.

Important Dates

December 15, 2020: deadline for submitting extended abstract (different than the regular AAG abstract, instructions below).

February 28, 2021: deadline for submitting the full paper.

Extended Abstract Guidelines

The extended abstract will be used to determine up to 10 competition finalists. Please follow the guidelines below when preparing extended abstracts:

  • Title, author(s) names, and contact information of the author(s)
  • 400-800 words in length
  • Summarize the primary objective, methodology, results, and conclusions of the study
  • Include references and citations. Words used in reference list do not count toward the word count for the extended abstract.
  • Include an additional single page of 1-2 figures, if necessary
  • Submit abstract as a *.pdf format document

Paper Guidelines and Structures

Selected finalists will be required to submit one digital copy of their completed papers in Microsoft Word format, which must be prepared in accordance with the format of the PE&RS Journal. Manuscript guidelines for PE&RS can be found on the ASPRS website. The length of the papers MUST NOT EXCEED 27 pages including tables and figures. There will be strict enforcement of the page limit and formatting requirements of the papers (i.e. double spaced text, 1.25" margins and 11/12-point font). The deadline for completed paper submission is February 28, 2021.


Extended abstracts and written papers will be evaluated by the RSSG judge committee on contribution to the field of remote sensing and GIS, originality, research design, organization, and overall quality of the written composition. The oral presentation of papers will be evaluated on professional delivery, organization, clarity, visual aids, and overall presentation quality. Evaluation will take into account the academic level of the applicants.


First, second, and third place awards will be determined following the competition sessions. The prizes are:

  • First place-$500 + a Publication Voucher from MDPI Remote Sensing
  • Second place-$250 + a Publication Voucher from MDPI Remote Sensing
  • Third place-$100 + a Publication Voucher from MDPI Remote Sensing

An undergraduate award may also be made to an outstanding undergraduate researcher. The committee reserves the right to not offer such prizes if the papers are not of appropriate quality.


Students who are interested should electronically submit the following to the RSSG Student Co-Director Qiuyan Yu (

  • Extended abstract (due December 15, 2020).
  • A copy of the email receipt received from the AAG online abstract submission process (which includes the PIN).
  • The advisor's form (
  • Full finished paper (due February 28, 2021).

Please use "2021 AAG Student Honors Paper Competition" as the subject of your email message(s).

Contact Person: Qiuyan Yu (, RSSG Student Co-Director.