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Retrieval of crop canopy properties: a comparison between model inversion from hyperspectral data and image classification

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The aim of this work was to investigate different approaches for the estimation of canopy structure properties from multiangular measurements at the field scale. Hyperspectral multiangular data were acquired on potato canopies using a spectroradiometer (GER-1500) and corresponding multiangular images using the VIFIS (Variable Interference Filter Imaging Spectrometer). The data obtained using the spectroradiometer were employed in the inversion of the PROSAIL model. The images obtained from the VIFIS were classified into the component image fractions: shaded and sunlit leaves and soil. These classification results were then used directly in the inversion of a simple ray-tracing canopy model. The inversion technique was based on a look-up table approach using a simple ray-tracing model of a plant canopy. Field sampling was carried out for the direct measurement of leaf area index (LAI) and other canopy properties. The experimental error in the data of both sensors was large since the canopy appeared non-homogeneous at the measurement height used, mainly because of the crop row structure. However LAI values retrieved from both approaches were realistic and allowed the discrimination of potato canopies that had received different nitrogen fertilization treatments. The relative merits and practicalities of the two approaches (multiangular hyperspectral reflectance versus image classification) are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale Università della Tuscia Italy, Email: 2: Plant Research Unit, Division of Environmental and Applied Biology University of Dundee at SCRI Invergowrie Dundee DD2 4HN Scotland UK, Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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