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Sensor is a device that coverts analog signal

into digital signal.


The EMR reflected, emitted, or back-scattered
from an object or geographic area is recorded
by the sensor.
Sensors are used to obtain information about an
object or the phenomenon.
Sensors
Image Recording

Radiation reflected or emitted from earth
surface is converted to signal (Digital
Numbers- DN)
The reflectance from a feature depends on
the atmospheric conditions, seasons, time of
a day, and physical and chemical
characteristics of the feature.
Specular reflectance from smooth surfaces
e.g. water, paved roads is lower than that
from rough surfaces e.g. forest. In specular
reflectance most energy scatter away from
the sensor, therefore, objects like water and
roads appeared as black in the image
Sensors
Can be divided according to their way of
operation
1. imaging vs. non-imaging instruments, or
2. active vs. passive instruments
Or according to used wavelength:
optical (visible and infrared) vs. microwave
Imaging vs. non-imaging Sensors
Imaging sensors measure data over wide area
Usually, onboard satellites or airplanes have
imaging instruments
Non-imaging instruments are used for research
porposes
development of new instruments
accurate (radiometrically or spectrally) measurements
Passive Sensors
Measure radiation emitted by
target or sunlight reflected from
target
E.g. cameras, scanners,
radiometers, spectrameters
Usually utilize visible, infrafed
or thermal infrared wavelenghts
sometimes microwaves

Active sensors
Send pulse of
electromagnetic radiation to
the target
Measure backscattered or
reflected radiation, its amount
and possibly how pulse has
been changed
Microwave radar,
laserscanning
Instantaneous Field Of View (IFOV)
Angular aperture which sensor is
sensitive to electromagnetic
radiation
As incidence angle of instrument
changes
distance to target changes
IFOV changes
Strength of measured radiation
How much radiation arrives to sensor
Flying height: amount of radiation
decreases as distance increases
weaker signal
IFOV: small good spatial resolution
less radiation to sensor weaker
signal
IFOV large good spatial resolution
stronger signal


Sensor Scanning Characteristics
Range of scanning mechanisms to build up
images
For different applications, different image
characteristics
scanning mechanisms: electromechanical
discrete detectors
whiskbroom scanners
pushbroom scanners
digital frame cameras



Discrete Detectors
Mirror can rotate or scan
individual detectors record signal
in different bands
How do we split signal into
separate bands?
Dichroic mirror or prism



Lens
Scan mirror
Sensor path
Separate bands
Dichroic mirrors


Scanning Mechanisms: across track
3 main types of
electromechanical (detectors,
optics plus mechanical
scanning) mechanisms
across track or whiskbroom
scanner (mechanical)
linear detectors array
(electronic)
beam splitter / dichroic / prism /
filters splits incoming signal into
separate wavelength regions

Sensor motion
Dichroic lens/prism


Scanning Mechanisms: across track
Whiskbroom scanner
Mirror either rotates fully, or oscillates
Oscillation can have delays at either end of
scan (vibration?)
motion of platform and mirror causes image
distortion

IFOV sweeps
surface


Scanning mechanisms: along track
Pushbroom scanner
pixels recorded line by line, using forward
motion of sensor
less distortion across track but overlap to
avoid gaps
No moving parts so less to go wrong
BUT needs v. good calibration to avoid
striping
Ground-sampled distance (GSD) in x-track
direction fixed by CCD element size
GSD along-track fixed by detector sampling
interval (T) used for AD conversion


Sensor
motion
Sensor motion
Scanning Mechanism
Sensor
motion
Central perspective / digital
frame camera area arrays
Multitple CCD arrays
Silicon (vis/NIR), HgCdTe
(SWIR/LWIR)?
Similar image distortion to film camera
distortion increases radially away from
focal point


CCD
Si (Silicon) CCD
vis/NIR up to ~ 1.1m
InGaAs (Indium Gallium Arsenide)
IR (~0.9 - 1.6 m)
InSb (Indium Antimonide)
mid-IR ~3.5 - 4m
HgCdTe (Mercury Cadmium Telluride)
IR (~10 - 12 m)


CCD
Photons arrive (through optics
and filters) and generate free
electrons in CCD elements (few
x10
6
on a CCD)
More photons == more electrons
collected
Charge coupling: CCD design
allows all packets of charged
electrons to be moved one row at
a time by varying voltage of
adjacent rows across CCD -
cascade effect
i.e. Count is done at one point
(lower corner) so delay due to
read time
Resolution
Term defining the smallest discernable
physical unit of an observed signal by a
sensor
Resolution
Spectral response is a characteristic used to
identify individual objects present on an image or
photograph

Resolution in remote sensing is the ability
of a sensor to distinguish or resolve objects
that are physically near or spectrally similar
to other adjacent objects.
High resolution will allow a user to
distinguish small, adjacent targets, while
objects and their boundaries will be difficult
to pinpoint in images with low resolution.
Resolutions
Spectral: Spectral resolution is the size and
number of wavelengths intervals or divisions
of the spectrum that a system is able to detect.
A sensor that collects data in different portions
of the EM spectrum is called a multi-spectral
sensor.
Spatial: Spatial resolution is best described
by the size of an image pixel.
Temporal: The ability of the satellite to
cover an area repetitively
Radiometric: The ability of a sensor to
detect smallest changes
SPECTRAL
RESOLUTION
The ability of a sensor to define
fine wavelength intervals. The
finer the spectral resolution, the
narrower the wavelength range
for a particular channel or band.
Spectral
Resolution
Spectral resolution
How wide area of
spectrum is covered
by instrument
wavelenghts of
channels
different areas of
spectrum
How accurately each
channel is measured
width of channels
Spectral resolution
Although spectral resolution is poor, it is easy to
distinguish e.g. water and vegetation
targets are so different
If it is needed to distinguish targets which are
more look-a-like, it is needed better spectral
resolution meaning more and narrower channels
deciduous vs. coniferous forest
vegetation species
properties of water, e.g. clean water vs. polluted
water
0.35-0.5 m region is characterised by strong
chlorophyll absorption.

0.5-0.62 m region is characteristic of a higher
reflectance area than the adjacent blue and red which
our eyes perceive as green.

0.62-0.7 m region indicates strong absorption by
chlorophyll.

0.7-1.3 m region is characterised by the transition
from the strong chlorophyll absorption to the high
levels of reflectance in the IR (infra-red) region.

1.3-2.5 m region is characterized by strong absorption
by water present in the vegetation.
USES OF SPECTRAL RESOLUTION
Spectral information:
vegetation
Wavelength, nm
400 600 800 1000 1200
r
e
f
l
e
c
t
a
n
c
e
(
%
)

0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
very high leaf area




very low leaf area
sunlit soil
NIR, high
reflectance
Visible red, low
reflectance
Visible green,
higher than red
Spectral information:
vegetation
Colour Composites: spectral
Real Colour
composite
Red band on red
Green band on green
Blue band on blue
Approximates real
colour (RGB colour
composite)
Landsat TM image
of Swanley, 1988
Colour Composites: spectral
False Colour composite (FCC)
NIR band on red
red band on green
green band on blue








Colour Composites: spectral
False Colour composite
NIR band on red
red band on green
green band on blue








Spatial resolution
Also called geometric resolution
Separation between two measurements in
order for a sensor to be able to discriminate
between them
Size of pixel / IFOV
Also target and its background influence
e.g. road in coniferous forest
Levels:
Very high resolution: less than 10 m
High resolution: 20 50 m
Medium resolution: 200 500 m
Coarse resolution: 1 50 km
Spatial resolution
Examples about different sensors vs. American
football field
Spatial resolution, examples
less than one meter
tens of metres
kilometer
Landsat 7 image of Manhattan,
Sept 12th 2001,
from an altitude of 705 km (417 miles)
Closeup of WTC,
Sept 12th 2001
Image from
French SPOT satellite,
showing more infrared than
visible wavelengths
(the two red spots in the
smoke are fires).
Image from
Ikonos satellite.
Spatial
Resolution
Spatial
Resolution
Spatial
Resolution
1 x 1 m of Ronald Reagan International Airport
in Washington, DC by Digital Globe, Inc.
TEMPORAL RESOLUTION
The revisit period of a
satellite sensor is called
temporal resolution.
Temporal Resolution
June 1, 2005 June 17, 2005 July 3, 2005
Remote Sensor Data Acquisition
16 days
Temporal resolution
How often new data is available
Repeat cycle tells when satellite passes over
same place again
Can be faster, due to overlapping neighboring
orbits same target can be seen from different
orbits
Typical values:
Geostationary weather satellites: 15 min few
hours
Sunsynchronous orbit: 16 35 days
In Finland cloudiness, seasons decrease
temporal resolution
Rondonia 1975
Temporal information
Change detection
http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/lores.cgi?PHOTO=STS046-078-026
http://www.yale.edu/ceo/DataArchive/brazil.html
Rondonia 1986
Rondonia 1992
Example: Vegetation canopy modelling
Develop detailed 3D
models
Simulate canopy
scattering behaviour
Compare with
observations
RADIOMETRIC RESOLUTION
The radiometric resolution of an
imaging system describes its
ability to discriminate very
slight differences in electro
magnetic energy. The finer the
radiometric resolution of a
sensor, the more sensitive it is
to detecting small differences in
reflected or emitted energy.
Radiometric resolution
The ability of sensor to detect the
incoming radiation and its minor
variations
Better radiometric resolution
easier to distinguish between
different targets
Radiometric Resolution
8-bit
(0 - 255)
9-bit
(0 - 511)
10-bit
(0 - 1023)
0
0
0
7-bit
(0 - 127)
0
Radiometric resolution
8 bit data 2
8

= 256 different
values

16 bit data
216 = 65536
diferent values
2 bit
6 bit
Image Resolution
There are spatial and temporal resolution considerations that are
important for certain remote sensing applications.
IDENTIFICATION OF WATER
Feature Colour on Satellite
Image
Shallow Water Blue
Deep Water Dark
Clear Water Dark Blue
Rivers Dark Blue
Reservoir/tanks/canals Blue (light to dark)
Seepage along canal Dark Soil Colour
Dry Channels Bright course
Wet Channels Blue
Crops/vegetation along
valleys
Red
Fracture controlled streams Straight features
Abandoned channels Dry courses
IDENTIFICATION OF SOIL
Feature Colour on Satellite
Image
Sandy Soil Red
Clayey/Black Soil Dark
Rough Textured Soil Dark
Irrigated Soil Dark
Gullied Soil Greenish Bright
Sandy Areas Bluish White to
White
IDENTIFICATION OF VEGETATION
Feature Colour on Satellite Image
Vegetation Dark Pink/Red
Thick vegetation Dark Red
Sparse Vegetation Shades of Red
Different species Different Shades of
Red
Mixed Jungles Darker
Natural Forest Found on Hilltops


CCD
Charge Couple Device