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A critique of field spectroscopy and the challenges and opportunities it presents for remote sensing for agriculture, ecosystems, and hydrology

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2015
EventSPIE Remote Sensing 2015 - Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis, Toulouse, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Sep 201524 Sep 2015


ConferenceSPIE Remote Sensing 2015
CountryUnited Kingdom


From the early scanning spectrometers, the utility field spectroscopy has been constrained: by detector sensitivity, leading to high integration times; portability; and the measurements having very limited support (possibly an Earth surface area in the order of 0.25 square metres to 2 square metres). However, over the last twenty years or so detector sensitivities and electronics have in improved leading to practical Earth surface sampling time increasing their utility to support Earth observation science and as optical remote sensing teaching and training tools. Now the uncertainties associated with field spectral measurements are being more widely recognised and field sampling methods and instrument continue to be developed to enable these uncertainties to be quantified and minimised. There are a number of key challenges which still need to be more widely addressed if field spectroscopy is to provide evermore reliable and replicable measurements. An understanding of the systematic biases introduced by this sampling method has begun to be recognised. In addition, the mismatch in scale between near-ground spectroscopy measurement and observations from space-borne sensor has begun to be addressed with the development of unmanned aerial vehicles as platforms and lightweight and miniaturised state- of-the-art spectrometer systems. It is now possible to non-invasively sample terrestrial and hydrological ecosystems in a statistically robust manner and do so with supports similar in scale to those of air- and space-borne sensors. These developments will revolutionise the use of field spectroscopy to support empirical science and model development and the calibration and validation of space-based observations.

    Research areas

  • field spectroscopy, unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensing, Earth observation scaling issue, spectrometers, DFOV and SFOV measurement modes


SPIE Remote Sensing 2015


Toulouse, United Kingdom

Event: Conference

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