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Radiometric and spectral comparison of inexpensive camera systems used for remote sensing

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The recent popularization of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for use in terrestrial remote-sensing science has brought a class of inexpensive and largely unmeasured set of sensors into the scientific domain. Remote-sensing science demands high-quality data for information production and requires that the radiometric and spectral characteristics of imaging systems are known. This study compared the radiometric and spectral characteristics of 10 imaging systems commonly used in UAV research. From very inexpensive board-level cameras, consumer-grade cameras and purpose built remote-sensing systems were tested. The results show that sensor non-linearity with respect to radiance is a major limitation in producing reliable results. Spectral results demonstrated a degree of similarity between sensors with broad overlapping spectral bands being the norm. Careful attention to radiometric correction and spectral characterization will enhance the quality of the data produced from these systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada

Publication date: August 18, 2018

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