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Open AccessArticle

An Airborne Multispectral Imaging System Based on Two Consumer-Grade Cameras for Agricultural Remote Sensing

1
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Aerial Application Technology Research Unit, 3103 F&B Road, College Station, TX 77845, USA
2
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research Unit, 2771 F&B Road, College Station, TX 77845, USA
3
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Tick and Biting Fly Research Unit, 22675 N, Moorefield Road, Edinburg, TX 78541, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2014, 6(6), 5257-5278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs6065257
Received: 23 April 2014 / Revised: 29 May 2014 / Accepted: 29 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
This paper describes the design and evaluation of an airborne multispectral imaging system based on two identical consumer-grade cameras for agricultural remote sensing. The cameras are equipped with a full-frame complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor with 5616 × 3744 pixels. One camera captures normal color images, while the other is modified to obtain near-infrared (NIR) images. The color camera is also equipped with a GPS receiver to allow geotagged images. A remote control is used to trigger both cameras simultaneously. Images are stored in 14-bit RAW and 8-bit JPEG files in CompactFlash cards. The second-order transformation was used to align the color and NIR images to achieve subpixel alignment in four-band images. The imaging system was tested under various flight and land cover conditions and optimal camera settings were determined for airborne image acquisition. Images were captured at altitudes of 305–3050 m (1000–10,000 ft) and pixel sizes of 0.1–1.0 m were achieved. Four practical application examples are presented to illustrate how the imaging system was used to estimate cotton canopy cover, detect cotton root rot, and map henbit and giant reed infestations. Preliminary analysis of example images has shown that this system has potential for crop condition assessment, pest detection, and other agricultural applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: airborne multispectral imaging system; consumer-grade camera; geotagged image; image alignment; crop condition assessment; pest detection airborne multispectral imaging system; consumer-grade camera; geotagged image; image alignment; crop condition assessment; pest detection
MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, C.; Westbrook, J.K.; Suh, C.P.-C.; Martin, D.E.; Hoffmann, W.C.; Lan, Y.; Fritz, B.K.; Goolsby, J.A. An Airborne Multispectral Imaging System Based on Two Consumer-Grade Cameras for Agricultural Remote Sensing. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 5257-5278.

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