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The Headwall Blog

Hyperspectral & LiDAR: The Gold Standard

As remote sensing evolves, users across all applications are discovering the value of adding LiDAR instruments to a hyperspectral payload. First, instruments of all types are getting smaller and lighter. Second, UAVs are more capable than ever in terms of carrying capacity and airborne stability. Finally, users across agriculture, minerals and mining, and environmental research can now collect a full suite of useful data at one time. With powerful GPS/IMU devices to tie the data streams together, a completely integrated hyperspectral-LiDAR airborne package is now the 'gold standard' for many remote sensing missions.

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Airborne Integration Considerations

Our customers come to us with missions that range from crop disease detection to infrastructure inspection, from environmental monitoring to pollution analysis. Hyperspectral imaging sensors provide a wealth of high-resolution data in the near-infrared and shortwave infrared ranges...beyond human vision. But we see an increasing level of integration occurring where hyperspectral rides alongside instruments such as thermal, LiDAR, and GPS/IMUs. The data streams coming from each instrument need to be synthesized ('data fusion') but the instruments themselves need to be positioned and located on the UAV to assure a balanced airborne package.

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The Eyes Have It...But Not Always

Humans have a marvelous ability to see and identify objects within what is called the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. That starts at roughly 380 nanometers and goes up to around 700 nanometers or so.

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Nano-Hyperspec, PrecisionHawk Impress!

Steven Sexton is Technical Consultant at Aerial Imaging Services, LLC (Ephrata, WA). With broad availability of new UAVs and high-performance hyperspectral imaging sensors, Steven's business is a good one. 'Remote sensing' is the study of agriculture, climatology, geology, and infrastructure from airborne platforms. The amount and quality of image data the sensors collect is amazing, allowing scientists to make important decisions about crops, plant health, mineral deposits, and environmental trends.

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