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Remote Sens., Volume 3, Issue 11 (November 2011), Pages 2305-2551

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle The Role of the Effective Cloud Albedo for Climate Monitoring and Analysis
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2305-2320; doi:10.3390/rs3112305
Received: 24 August 2011 / Revised: 13 October 2011 / Accepted: 13 October 2011 / Published: 25 October 2011
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1919 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cloud properties and the Earth’s radiation budget are defined as essential climate variables by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The cloud albedo is a measure for the portion of solar radiation reflected back to space by clouds. This information is essential [...] Read more.
Cloud properties and the Earth’s radiation budget are defined as essential climate variables by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). The cloud albedo is a measure for the portion of solar radiation reflected back to space by clouds. This information is essential for the analysis and interpretation of the Earth’s radiation budget and the solar surface irradiance. We present and discuss a method for the production of the effective cloud albedo and the solar surface irradiance based on the visible channel (0.45–1 μm) on-board of the Meteosat satellites. This method includes a newly developed self-calibration approach and has been used to generate a 23-year long (1983–2005) continuous and validated climate data record of the effective cloud albedo and the solar surface irradiance. Using this climate data record we demonstrate the ability of the method to generate the two essential climate variables in high accuracy and homogeneity. Further on, we discuss the role of the cloud albedo within climate monitoring and analysis. We found trends with opposite sign in the observed effective cloud albedo resulting in positive trends in the solar surface irradiance over ocean and partly negative trends over land. Ground measurements are scarce over the ocean and thus satellite-derived effective cloud albedo and solar surface irradiance constitutes a unique observational data source. Within this scope it has to be considered that the ocean is the main energy reservoir of the Earth, which emphasises the role of satellite-observed effective cloud albedo and derived solar surface irradiance as essential climate variables for climate monitoring and analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Climate Monitoring and Analysis)
Open AccessArticle Estimating Crown Variables of Individual Trees Using Airborne and Terrestrial Laser Scanners
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2346-2363; doi:10.3390/rs3112346
Received: 26 August 2011 / Revised: 7 September 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 28 October 2011
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (3397 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, individual tree height (TH), crown base height (CBH), crown area (CA) and crown volume (CV), which were considered as essential parameters for individual stem volume and biomass estimation, were estimated by both an airborne laser scanner (ALS) and a [...] Read more.
In this study, individual tree height (TH), crown base height (CBH), crown area (CA) and crown volume (CV), which were considered as essential parameters for individual stem volume and biomass estimation, were estimated by both an airborne laser scanner (ALS) and a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS). These ALS- and TLS-derived tree parameters were compared because TLS has been introduced as an instrument to measure objects more precisely. ALS-estimated TH was extracted from the highest value within a crown boundary delineated with the crown height model (CHM). The ALS-derived CBH of individual trees was estimated by k-means clustering method using the ALS data within the boundary. The ALS-derived CA was calculated simply with the crown boundary, after which CV was computed automatically using the crown geometric volume (CGV). On the other hand, all TLS-derived parameters were detected manually and precisely except the TLS-derived CGV. As a result, the ALS-extracted TH, CA, and CGV values were underestimated whereas CBH was overestimated when compared with the TLS-derived parameters. The coefficients of determination (R2) from the regression analysis between the ALS and TLS estimations were approximately 0.94, 0.75, 0.69 and 0.58, and root mean square errors (RMSEs) were approximately 0.0184 m, 0.4929 m, 2.3216 m2 and 13.2087 m3 for TH, CBH, CA and CGV, respectively. Thereby, the error rate decreased to 0.0089, 0.0727 and 0.0875 for TH, CA and CGV via the combination of ALS and TLS data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing on Earth Observation and Ecosystem Services)
Open AccessArticle Fusion of High Resolution Aerial Multispectral and LiDAR Data: Land Cover in the Context of Urban Mosquito Habitat
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2364-2383; doi:10.3390/rs3112364
Received: 29 August 2011 / Revised: 12 October 2011 / Accepted: 19 October 2011 / Published: 7 November 2011
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (4849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Remotely sensed multi-spectral and -spatial data facilitates the study of mosquito-borne disease vectors and their response to land use and cover composition in the urban environment. In this study we assess the feasibility of integrating remotely sensed multispectral reflectance data and LiDAR [...] Read more.
Remotely sensed multi-spectral and -spatial data facilitates the study of mosquito-borne disease vectors and their response to land use and cover composition in the urban environment. In this study we assess the feasibility of integrating remotely sensed multispectral reflectance data and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)-derived height information to improve land use and land cover classification. Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analyses were used to compare and contrast the enhancements and accuracy of the multi-sensor urban land cover classifications. Eight urban land-cover classes were developed for the city of Tucson, Arizona, USA. These land cover classes focus on pervious and impervious surfaces and microclimate landscape attributes that impact mosquito habitat such as water ponds, residential structures, irrigated lawns, shrubs and trees, shade, and humidity. Results show that synergistic use of LiDAR, multispectral and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data produced the most accurate urban land cover classification with a Kappa value of 0.88. Fusion of multi-sensor data leads to a better land cover product that is suitable for a variety of urban applications such as exploring the relationship between neighborhood composition and adult mosquito abundance data to inform public health issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Tracking Environmental Compliance and Remediation Trajectories Using Image-Based Anomaly Detection Methodologies
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2384-2402; doi:10.3390/rs3112384
Received: 1 September 2011 / Revised: 1 November 2011 / Accepted: 1 November 2011 / Published: 7 November 2011
PDF Full-text (977 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent interest in use of satellite remote sensing for environmental compliance and remediation assessment has been heightened by growing policy requirements and the need to provide more rapid and efficient monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. However, remote sensing solutions are attractive only to [...] Read more.
Recent interest in use of satellite remote sensing for environmental compliance and remediation assessment has been heightened by growing policy requirements and the need to provide more rapid and efficient monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. However, remote sensing solutions are attractive only to the extent that they can deliver environmentally relevant information in a meaningful and time-sensitive manner. Unfortunately, the extent to which satellite-based remote sensing satisfies the demands for compliance and remediation assessment under the conditions of an actual environmental accident or calamity has not been well documented. In this study a remote sensing solution to the problem of site remediation and environmental compliance assessment was introduced based on the use of the RDX anomaly detection algorithm and vegetation indices developed from the Tasseled Cap Transform. Results of this analysis illustrate how the use of standard vegetation transforms, integrated into an anomaly detection strategy, enable the time-sequenced tracking of site remediation progress. Based on these results credible evidence can be produced to support compliance evaluation and remediation assessment following major environmental disasters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Support of Environmental Policy)
Open AccessArticle Evaluating Spectral Indices for Assessing Fire Severity in Chaparral Ecosystems (Southern California) Using MODIS/ASTER (MASTER) Airborne Simulator Data
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2403-2419; doi:10.3390/rs3112403
Received: 20 September 2011 / Revised: 18 October 2011 / Accepted: 18 October 2011 / Published: 11 November 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (1021 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wildland fires are a yearly recurring phenomenon in many terrestrial ecosystems. Accurate fire severity estimates are of paramount importance for modeling fire-induced trace gas emissions and rehabilitating post-fire landscapes. We used high spatial and high spectral resolution MODIS/ASTER (MASTER) airborne simulator data [...] Read more.
Wildland fires are a yearly recurring phenomenon in many terrestrial ecosystems. Accurate fire severity estimates are of paramount importance for modeling fire-induced trace gas emissions and rehabilitating post-fire landscapes. We used high spatial and high spectral resolution MODIS/ASTER (MASTER) airborne simulator data acquired over four 2007 southern California burns to evaluate the effectiveness of 19 different spectral indices, including the widely used Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR), for assessing fire severity in southern California chaparral. Ordinal logistic regression was used to assess the goodness-of-fit between the spectral index values and ordinal field data of severity. The NBR and three indices in which the NBR is enhanced with surface temperature or emissivity data revealed the best performance. Our findings support the operational use of the NBR in chaparral ecosystems by Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) projects, and demonstrate the potential of combining optical and thermal data for assessing fire severity. Additional testing in more burns, other ecoregions and different vegetation types is required to fully understand how (thermally enhanced) spectral indices relate to fire severity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing of Wildland Fires)
Open AccessArticle Object-Based Image Analysis of Downed Logs in Disturbed Forested Landscapes Using Lidar
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2420-2439; doi:10.3390/rs3112420
Received: 20 September 2011 / Revised: 9 November 2011 / Accepted: 10 November 2011 / Published: 16 November 2011
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (1984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Downed logs on the forest floor provide habitat for species, fuel for forest fires, and function as a key component of forest nutrient cycling and carbon storage. Ground-based field surveying is a conventional method for mapping and characterizing downed logs but is limited. [...] Read more.
Downed logs on the forest floor provide habitat for species, fuel for forest fires, and function as a key component of forest nutrient cycling and carbon storage. Ground-based field surveying is a conventional method for mapping and characterizing downed logs but is limited. In addition, optical remote sensing methods have not been able to map these ground targets due to the lack of optical sensor penetrability into the forest canopy and limited sensor spectral and spatial resolutions. Lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors have become a more viable and common data source in forest science for detailed mapping of forest structure. This study evaluates the utility of discrete, multiple return airborne lidar-derived data for image object segmentation and classification of downed logs in a disturbed forested landscape and the efficiency of rule-based object-based image analysis (OBIA) and classification algorithms. Downed log objects were successfully delineated and classified from lidar derived metrics using an OBIA framework. 73% of digitized downed logs were completely or partially classified correctly. Over classification occurred in areas with large numbers of logs clustered in close proximity to one another and in areas with vegetation and tree canopy. The OBIA methods were found to be effective but inefficient in terms of automation and analyst’s time in the delineation and classification of downed logs in the lidar data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Object-Based Image Analysis)
Open AccessArticle An Object-Based Classification of Mangroves Using a Hybrid Decision Tree—Support Vector Machine Approach
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2440-2460; doi:10.3390/rs3112440
Received: 20 September 2011 / Revised: 8 November 2011 / Accepted: 10 November 2011 / Published: 17 November 2011
Cited by 48 | PDF Full-text (1985 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mangroves provide valuable ecosystem goods and services such as carbon sequestration, habitat for terrestrial and marine fauna, and coastal hazard mitigation. The use of satellite remote sensing to map mangroves has become widespread as it can provide accurate, efficient, and repeatable assessments. [...] Read more.
Mangroves provide valuable ecosystem goods and services such as carbon sequestration, habitat for terrestrial and marine fauna, and coastal hazard mitigation. The use of satellite remote sensing to map mangroves has become widespread as it can provide accurate, efficient, and repeatable assessments. Traditional remote sensing approaches have failed to accurately map fringe mangroves and true mangrove species due to relatively coarse spatial resolution and/or spectral confusion with landward vegetation. This study demonstrates the use of the new Worldview-2 sensor, Object-based image analysis (OBIA), and support vector machine (SVM) classification to overcome both of these limitations. An exploratory spectral separability showed that individual mangrove species could not be spectrally separated, but a distinction between true and associate mangrove species could be made. An OBIA classification was used that combined a decision-tree classification with the machine-learning SVM classification. Results showed an overall accuracy greater than 94% (kappa = 0.863) for classifying true mangroves species and other dense coastal vegetation at the object level. There remain serious challenges to accurately mapping fringe mangroves using remote sensing data due to spectral similarity of mangrove and associate species, lack of clear zonation between species, and mixed pixel effects, especially when vegetation is sparse or degraded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Object-Based Image Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle Figures of Merit for Indirect Time-of-Flight 3D Cameras: Definition and Experimental Evaluation
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2461-2472; doi:10.3390/rs3112461
Received: 26 September 2011 / Revised: 4 November 2011 / Accepted: 8 November 2011 / Published: 17 November 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (329 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indirect Time-of-Flight (I-TOF) cameras can be implemented in a number of ways, each with specific characteristics and performances. In this paper a comprehensive analysis of the implementation possibilities is developed in order to model the main performances with a high level of [...] Read more.
Indirect Time-of-Flight (I-TOF) cameras can be implemented in a number of ways, each with specific characteristics and performances. In this paper a comprehensive analysis of the implementation possibilities is developed in order to model the main performances with a high level of abstraction. After the extraction of the main characteristics for the high-level model, several figures of merit (FoM) are defined with the purpose of obtaining a common metric: noise equivalent distance, correlated and uncorrelated power responsivity, and background light rejection ratio. The obtained FoMs can be employed for the comparison of different implementations of range cameras based on the I-TOF method: specifically, they are applied for several different sensors developed by the authors in order to compare their performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Time-of-Flight Range-Imaging Cameras)
Open AccessArticle A New Approach to Change Vector Analysis Using Distance and Similarity Measures
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2473-2493; doi:10.3390/rs3112473
Received: 30 September 2011 / Revised: 11 November 2011 / Accepted: 11 November 2011 / Published: 18 November 2011
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (4419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The need to monitor the Earth’s surface over a range of spatial and temporal scales is fundamental in ecosystems planning and management. Change-Vector Analysis (CVA) is a bi-temporal method of change detection that considers the magnitude and direction of change vector. However, [...] Read more.
The need to monitor the Earth’s surface over a range of spatial and temporal scales is fundamental in ecosystems planning and management. Change-Vector Analysis (CVA) is a bi-temporal method of change detection that considers the magnitude and direction of change vector. However, many multispectral applications do not make use of the direction component. The procedure most used to calculate the direction component using multiband data is the direction cosine, but the number of output direction cosine images is equal to the number of original bands and has a complex interpretation. This paper proposes a new approach to calculate the spectral direction of change, using the Spectral Angle Mapper and Spectral Correlation Mapper spectral-similarity measures. The chief advantage of this approach is that it generates a single image of change information insensitive to illumination variation. In this paper the magnitude component of the spectral similarity was calculated in two ways: as the standard Euclidean distance and as the Mahalanobis distance. In this test the best magnitude measure was the Euclidean distance and the best similarity measure was Spectral Angle Mapper. The results show that the distance and similarity measures are complementary and need to be applied together. Full article
Open AccessArticle Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) for Individual Tree Stem Location, Height, and Biomass Measurements
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2494-2528; doi:10.3390/rs3112494
Received: 28 September 2011 / Revised: 20 October 2011 / Accepted: 20 October 2011 / Published: 18 November 2011
Cited by 40 | PDF Full-text (4527 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing has demonstrated potential in measuring forest biomass. We assessed the ability of LiDAR to accurately estimate forest total above ground biomass (TAGB) on an individual stem basis in a conifer forest in the US Pacific [...] Read more.
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) remote sensing has demonstrated potential in measuring forest biomass. We assessed the ability of LiDAR to accurately estimate forest total above ground biomass (TAGB) on an individual stem basis in a conifer forest in the US Pacific Northwest region using three different computer software programs and compared results to field measurements. Software programs included FUSION, TreeVaW, and watershed segmentation. To assess the accuracy of LiDAR TAGB estimation, stem counts and heights were analyzed. Differences between actual tree locations and LiDAR-derived tree locations using FUSION, TreeVaW, and watershed segmentation were 2.05 m (SD 1.67), 2.19 m (SD 1.83), and 2.31 m (SD 1.94), respectively, in forested plots. Tree height differences from field measured heights for FUSION, TreeVaW, and watershed segmentation were −0.09 m (SD 2.43), 0.28 m (SD 1.86), and 0.22 m (2.45) in forested plots; and 0.56 m (SD 1.07 m), 0.28 m (SD 1.69 m), and 1.17 m (SD 0.68 m), respectively, in a plot containing young conifers. The TAGB comparisons included feature totals per plot, mean biomass per feature by plot, and total biomass by plot for each extraction method. Overall, LiDAR TAGB estimations resulted in FUSION and TreeVaW underestimating by 25 and 31% respectively, and watershed segmentation overestimating by approximately 10%. LiDAR TAGB underestimation occurred in 66% and overestimation occurred in 34% of the plot comparisons. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Multispectral Remote Sensing from Unmanned Aircraft: Image Processing Workflows and Applications for Rangeland Environments
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2529-2551; doi:10.3390/rs3112529
Received: 28 September 2011 / Revised: 18 November 2011 / Accepted: 18 November 2011 / Published: 22 November 2011
Cited by 50 | PDF Full-text (3167 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as remote sensing platforms offers the unique ability for repeated deployment for acquisition of high temporal resolution data at very high spatial resolution. Multispectral remote sensing applications from UAS are reported in the literature less commonly than [...] Read more.
Using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as remote sensing platforms offers the unique ability for repeated deployment for acquisition of high temporal resolution data at very high spatial resolution. Multispectral remote sensing applications from UAS are reported in the literature less commonly than applications using visible bands, although light-weight multispectral sensors for UAS are being used increasingly. . In this paper, we describe challenges and solutions associated with efficient processing of multispectral imagery to obtain orthorectified, radiometrically calibrated image mosaics for the purpose of rangeland vegetation classification. We developed automated batch processing methods for file conversion, band-to-band registration, radiometric correction, and orthorectification. An object-based image analysis approach was used to derive a species-level vegetation classification for the image mosaic with an overall accuracy of 87%. We obtained good correlations between: (1) ground and airborne spectral reflectance (R2 = 0.92); and (2) spectral reflectance derived from airborne and WorldView-2 satellite data for selected vegetation and soil targets. UAS-acquired multispectral imagery provides quality high resolution information for rangeland applications with the potential for upscaling the data to larger areas using high resolution satellite imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based Remote Sensing)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Terrestrial Remotely Sensed Imagery in Support of Public Health: New Avenues of Research Using Object-Based Image Analysis
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(11), 2321-2345; doi:10.3390/rs3112321
Received: 15 August 2011 / Revised: 7 October 2011 / Accepted: 20 October 2011 / Published: 27 October 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The benefits of terrestrial remote sensing in the environmental sciences are clear across a range of applications, and increasingly remote sensing analyses are being integrated into public health research. This integration has largely been in two areas: first, through the inclusion of [...] Read more.
The benefits of terrestrial remote sensing in the environmental sciences are clear across a range of applications, and increasingly remote sensing analyses are being integrated into public health research. This integration has largely been in two areas: first, through the inclusion of continuous remote sensing products such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) or moisture indices to answer large-area questions associated with the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases or other health exposures; and second, through image classification to map discrete landscape patches that provide habitat to disease-vectors or that promote poor health. In this second arena, new improvements in object-based image analysis (or “OBIA”) can provide advantages for public health research. Rather than classifying each pixel based on its spectral content alone, the OBIA approach first segments an image into objects, or segments, based on spatially connected pixels with similar spectral properties, and then these objects are classified based on their spectral, spatial and contextual attributes as well as by their interrelations across scales. The approach can lead to increases in classification accuracy, and it can also develop multi-scale topologies between objects that can be utilized to help understand human-disease-health systems. This paper provides a brief review of what has been done in the public health literature with continuous and discrete mapping, and then highlights the key concepts in OBIA that could be more of use to public health researchers interested in integrating remote sensing into their work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Public Health)

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