Relative radiometric calibration, or flat fielding, is indispensable for obtaining high-quality optical satellite imagery for sensors that have more than one detector per band. High-resolution optical push-broom sensors with thousands of detectors per band are now common. Multiple techniques have been employed for relative radiometric calibration. One technique, often called side-slither, where the sensor axis is rotated 90° in yaw relative to normal acquisitions, has been gaining popularity, being applied to Landsat 8, QuickBird, RapidEye, and other satellites. Side-slither can be more time efficient than some of the traditional methods, as only one acquisition may be required. In addition, the side-slither does not require any onboard calibration hardware, only a satellite capability to yaw and maintain a stable yawed attitude. A relative radiometric calibration method based on histograms of side-slither data is developed. This method has three steps: pre-processing, extraction of key points, and calculation of coefficients. Histogram matching and Otsu’s method are used to extract key points. Three datasets from the Chinese GaoFen-9 satellite were used: one to obtain the relative radiometric coefficients, and the others to verify the coefficients. Root-mean-square deviations of the corrected imagery were better than 0.1%. The maximum streaking metrics was less than 1. This method produced significantly better relative radiometric calibration than the traditional method used for GaoFen-9.
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