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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1110;

Hyperspectral Imaging: A Review on UAV-Based Sensors, Data Processing and Applications for Agriculture and Forestry

Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC-TEC—Formerly INESC Porto), 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
Department of Engineering, School of Sciences and Technology, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 22 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Traditional imagery—provided, for example, by RGB and/or NIR sensors—has proven to be useful in many agroforestry applications. However, it lacks the spectral range and precision to profile materials and organisms that only hyperspectral sensors can provide. This kind of high-resolution spectroscopy was firstly used in satellites and later in manned aircraft, which are significantly expensive platforms and extremely restrictive due to availability limitations and/or complex logistics. More recently, UAS have emerged as a very popular and cost-effective remote sensing technology, composed of aerial platforms capable of carrying small-sized and lightweight sensors. Meanwhile, hyperspectral technology developments have been consistently resulting in smaller and lighter sensors that can currently be integrated in UAS for either scientific or commercial purposes. The hyperspectral sensors’ ability for measuring hundreds of bands raises complexity when considering the sheer quantity of acquired data, whose usefulness depends on both calibration and corrective tasks occurring in pre- and post-flight stages. Further steps regarding hyperspectral data processing must be performed towards the retrieval of relevant information, which provides the true benefits for assertive interventions in agricultural crops and forested areas. Considering the aforementioned topics and the goal of providing a global view focused on hyperspectral-based remote sensing supported by UAV platforms, a survey including hyperspectral sensors, inherent data processing and applications focusing both on agriculture and forestry—wherein the combination of UAV and hyperspectral sensors plays a center role—is presented in this paper. Firstly, the advantages of hyperspectral data over RGB imagery and multispectral data are highlighted. Then, hyperspectral acquisition devices are addressed, including sensor types, acquisition modes and UAV-compatible sensors that can be used for both research and commercial purposes. Pre-flight operations and post-flight pre-processing are pointed out as necessary to ensure the usefulness of hyperspectral data for further processing towards the retrieval of conclusive information. With the goal of simplifying hyperspectral data processing—by isolating the common user from the processes’ mathematical complexity—several available toolboxes that allow a direct access to level-one hyperspectral data are presented. Moreover, research works focusing the symbiosis between UAV-hyperspectral for agriculture and forestry applications are reviewed, just before the paper’s conclusions. View Full-Text
Keywords: hyperspectral; UAS; UAV; hyperspectral sensors; hyperspectral data processing; agriculture; forestry; agroforestry hyperspectral; UAS; UAV; hyperspectral sensors; hyperspectral data processing; agriculture; forestry; agroforestry

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Adão, T.; Hruška, J.; Pádua, L.; Bessa, J.; Peres, E.; Morais, R.; Sousa, J.J. Hyperspectral Imaging: A Review on UAV-Based Sensors, Data Processing and Applications for Agriculture and Forestry. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1110.

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