Remote Sensing

Published by MDPI
Online ISSN: 2072-4292
Publications
More than 500 rare genetic bone disorders have been described, but for many of them only limited treatment options are available. Challenges for studying these bone diseases come from a lack of suitable animal models and unavailability of skeletal tissues for studies. Effectors for skeletal abnormalities of bone disorders may be abnormal bone formation directed by osteoblasts or anomalous bone resorption by osteoclasts, or both. Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be generated from somatic cells of various tissue sources and in theory can be differentiated into any desired cell type. However, successful differentiation of hiPSCs into functional bone cells is still a challenge. Our group focuses on the use of human iPSCs (hiPSCs) to identify osteoclast defects in craniometaphyseal dysplasia. In this review, we describe the impact of stem cell technology on research for better treatment of such disorders, the generation of hiPSCs from patients with rare genetic bone disorders and current protocols for differentiating hiPSCs into osteoclasts.
 
Symbolic underwater image of the video system. Tripods with a 3-way-pan-tilt head (1) and fixed diving weights (2) provide a stable and easy setup of cameras under water, while gooseneck stands (3) orientate the infrared-lights (4). To facilitate alignment of camera distances and for recordings in bird’s eye view, flat aluminum bars (approx. 50 × 1 × 0.5 cm) perforated with 1/4 ′′ holes (5) are used as extensions between cameras (6) and tripods. 
Different bite rates of butterflyfishes on four coral colonies calculated from the same video recording using either short-term intervals of two hours (morning, midday and afternoon) or the entire video sequence of eight hours. 
Direct field observations of fine-scaled biological processes and interactions of the benthic community of corals and associated reef organisms (e.g., feeding, reproduction, mutualistic or agonistic behavior, behavioral responses to changing abiotic factors) usually involve a disturbing intervention. Modern digital camcorders (without inflexible land-or ship-based cable connection) such as the GoPro camera enable undisturbed and unmanned, stationary close-up observations. Such observations, however, are also very time-limited (~3 h) and full 24 h-recordings throughout day and night, including nocturnal observations without artificial daylight illumination, are not possible. Herein we introduce the application of modern standard video surveillance technology with the main objective of providing a tool for monitoring coral reef or other sessile and mobile organisms for periods of 24 h and longer. This system includes nocturnal close-up observations with miniature infrared (IR)-sensitive cameras and separate high-power IR-LEDs. Integrating this easy-to-set up and portable remote-sensing equipment into coral reef research is expected to significantly advance our understanding of fine-scaled biotic processes on coral reefs. Rare events and long-lasting processes can easily be recorded, in situ-experiments can be monitored live on land, and nocturnal IR-observations reveal undisturbed behavior. The options and equipment choices in IR-sensitive surveillance technology are numerous and subject to a steadily increasing technical supply and quality at decreasing prices. Accompanied by short video examples, this report introduces a radio-transmission system for simultaneous recordings and real-time monitoring of multiple cameras with synchronized timestamps, and a surface-independent underwater-recording system.
 
We propose a new satellite mission to deliver high quality measurements of upper air water vapour. The concept centres around a LiDAR in limb sounding by occultation geometry, designed to operate as a very long path system for differential absorption measurements. We present a preliminary performance analysis with a system sized to send 75 mJ pulses at 25 Hz at four wavelengths close to 935 nm, to up to 5 microsatellites in a counter-rotating orbit, carrying retroreflectors characterized by a reflected beam divergence of roughly twice the emitted laser beam divergence of 15 rad. This provides water vapour profiles with a vertical sampling of 110 m; preliminary calculations suggest that the system could detect concentrations of less than 5 ppm. A secondary payload of a fairly conventional medium resolution multispectral radiometer allows wide-swath cloud and aerosol imaging. The total weight and power of the system are estimated at 3 tons and 2,700 W respectively. This novel concept presents significant challenges, including the performance of the lasers in space, the tracking between the main spacecraft and the retroreflectors, the refractive effects of turbulence, and the design of the telescopes to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio for the high precision measurements. The mission concept was conceived at the Alpbach Summer School 2010.
 
Global Digital Elevation Models (GDEM) are considered very attractive for current research and application areas due to their free and wide range accessibility. The ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model exhibits the highest spatial resolution data of all global DEMs and it is generated for almost the whole globe. Unfortunately, ASTER GDEM data include many artifacts and height errors that decrease the quality and elevation accuracy significantly. This study provides a method for quality improvement of the ASTER GDEM data by correcting systematic height errors using ICESat laser altimetry data and removing artifacts and anomalies based on a segment-based outlier detection and elimination algorithm. Additionally, elevation errors within water bodies are corrected using a water mask produced from a high-resolution shoreline data set. Results indicate that the accuracy of the corrected ASTER GDEM is significantly improved and most artifacts are appropriately eliminated. Nevertheless, artifacts containing lower height values with respect to the neighboring ground pixels are not entirely eliminated due to confusion with some real non-terrain 3D objects. The proposed method is particularly useful for areas where other high quality DEMs such as SRTM are not available.
 
Abstract: The overarching goal of this research was to explore accurate methods of mapping irrigated crops, where digital cadastre information is unavailable: (a) Boundary separation by object-oriented image segmentation using very high spatial resolution (2.5–5 m) data was followed by (b) identification of crops and crop rotations by means of phenology, tasselled cap, and rule-based classification using high resolution (15–30 m) bi-temporal data. The extensive irrigated cotton production system of the Khorezm province in Uzbekistan, Central Asia, was selected as a study region. Image segmentation was carried out on pan-sharpened SPOT data. Varying combinations of segmentation parameters (shape, compactness, and color) were tested for optimized boundary separation. The resulting geometry was validated against polygons digitized from the data and cadastre maps, analysing similarity (size, shape) and congruence. The parameters shape and compactness were decisive for segmentation accuracy. Differences between crop phenologies were analyzed at field level using bi-temporal ASTER data. A rule set based on the tasselled cap indices greenness and brightness allowed for classifying crop rotations of cotton, winter-wheat and rice, resulting in an overall accuracy of 80 %. The proposed field-based crop classification method can be an important tool for use in water demand estimations, crop yield simulations, or economic models in agricultural systems similar to Khorezm.
 
Automated, image based methods for the retrieval of vegetation biophysical and biochemical variables are often hampered by the lack of a priori knowledge about land cover and phenology, which makes the retrieval a highly underdetermined problem. This study addresses this problem by presenting a novel approach, called CRASh, for the concurrent retrieval of leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll content, leaf water content and leaf dry matter content from high resolution solar reflective earth observation data. CRASh, which is based on the inversion of the combined PROSPECT+SAILh radiative transfer model (RTM), explores the benefits of combining semi-empirical and physically based approaches. The approach exploits novel ways to address the underdetermined problem in the context of an automated retrieval from mono-temporal high resolution data. To regularize the inverse problem in the variable domain, RTM inversion is coupled with an OPEN ACCESS Remote Sens. 2009, 1 1140 automated land cover classification. Model inversion is based on a two step lookup table (LUT) approach: First, a range of possible solutions is selected from a previously calculated LUT based on the analogy between measured and simulated reflectance. The final solution is determined from this subset by minimizing the difference between the variables used to simulate the spectra contained in the reduced LUT and a first guess of the solution. This first guess of the variables is derived from predictive semi-empirical relationships between classical vegetation indices and the single variables. Additional spectral regularization is obtained by the use of hyperspectral data. Results show that estimates obtained with CRASh are significantly more accurate than those obtained with a tested conventional RTM inversion and semi-empirical approach. Accuracies obtained in this study are comparable to the results obtained by various authors for better constrained inversions that assume more a priori information. The completely automated and image-based nature of the approach facilitates its use in operational chains for upcoming high resolution airborne and spaceborne imaging spectrometers.
 
In developing countries, there is a high correlation between the dependence of oil exports and violent conflicts. Furthermore, even in countries which experienced a peaceful development of their oil industry, land use and environmental issues occur. Therefore, an independent monitoring of oil field infrastructure may support problem solving. Earth observation data enables a fast monitoring of large areas which allows comparing the real amount of land used by the oil exploitation and the companies’ contractual obligations. The target feature of this monitoring is the infrastructure of the oil exploitation, oil well pads – rectangular features of bare land covering an area of approximately 50–60 m x 100 m. This article presents an automated feature extraction procedure based on the combination of a pixel-based unsupervised classification of polarimetric synthetic aperture radar data (PolSAR) and an object-based post-classification. The method is developed and tested using dual-polarimetric TerraSAR-X imagery acquired over the Doba basin in south Chad. The advantages of PolSAR are independence of the cloud coverage (vs. optical imagery) and the possibility of detailed land use classification (vs. single-pol SAR). The PolSAR classification uses the polarimetric Wishart probability density function based on the anisotropy/entropy/alpha decomposition. The object-based post-classification refinement, based on properties of the feature targets such as shape and area, increases the user’s accuracy of the methodology by an order of a magnitude. The final achieved user’s and producer’s accuracy is 59–71% in each case (area based accuracy assessment). Considering only the numbers of correctly/falsely detected oil well pads, the user’s and producer’s accuracies increase to even 74–89%. In an iterative training procedure the best suited polarimetric speckle filter and processing parameters of the developed feature extraction procedure are determined. The high transferability of the methodology is proved by an application to a second SAR acquisition.
 
Quality segment generation is a well-known challenge and research objective within Geographic Object-based Image Analysis (GEOBIA). Although methodological avenues within GEOBIA are diverse, segmentation commonly plays a central role in most approaches, influencing and being influenced by surrounding processes. A general approach using supervised quality measures, specifically user provided reference segments, suggest casting the parameters of a given segmentation algorithm as a multidimensional search problem. In such a sample supervised segment generation approach, spatial metrics observing the user provided reference segments may drive the search process. The search is commonly performed by metaheuristics. A novel sample supervised segment generation approach is presented in this work, where the spectral content of provided reference segments is queried. A one-class classification process using spectral information from inside the provided reference segments is used to generate a probability image, which in turn is employed to direct a hybridization of the original input imagery. Segmentation is performed on such a hybrid image. These processes are adjustable, interdependent and form a part of the search problem. Results are presented detailing the performances of four method variants compared to the generic sample supervised segment generation approach, under various conditions in terms of resultant segment quality, required computing time and search process characteristics. Multiple metrics, metaheuristics and segmentation algorithms are tested with this approach. Using the spectral data contained within user provided reference segments to tailor the output generally improves the results in the investigated problem contexts, but at the expense of additional required computing time.
 
Spectral mixed pixels: simulated 30 m pixel resolution like planned for EnMAP HSI sensor (a) and 4 m pixel resolution in comparison (b) . 
Spectral signatures of typical urban surface materials with its material-specific reflectance characteristics; multispectral systems, such as the Landsat TM 7 sensor, are not able to record the narrow spectral characteristics due to the broad spectral bands. 
With urban populations and their footprints growing globally, the need to assess the dynamics of the urban environment increases. Remote sensing is one approach that can analyze these developments quantitatively with respect to spatially and temporally large scale changes. With the 2015 launch of the spaceborne EnMAP mission, a new hyperspectral sensor with high signal-to-noise ratio at medium spatial resolution, and a 21 day global revisit capability will become available. This paper presents the results of a literature survey on existing applications and image analysis techniques in the context of urban remote sensing in order to identify and outline potential contributions of the future EnMAP mission. Regarding urban applications, four frequently addressed topics have been identified: urban development and planning, urban growth assessment, risk and vulnerability assessment and urban climate. The requirements of four application fields and associated image processing techniques used to retrieve desired parameters and create geo-information products have been reviewed. As a result, we identified promising research directions enabling the use of EnMAP for urban studies. First and foremost, research is required to analyze the spectral information content of an EnMAP pixel used to support material-based land cover mapping approaches. This information can subsequently be used to improve urban indicators, such as imperviousness. Second, we identified the global monitoring of urban areas as a promising field of investigation taking advantage of EnMAP’s spatial coverage and revisit capability. However, owing to the limitations of EnMAPs spatial resolution for urban applications, research should also focus on hyperspectral resolution enhancement to enable retrieving material information on sub-pixel level.
 
Sub-scene of (a), RGB = bands 4, 3, 2 (1650, 840, 660 nm). (a) Original. (b) Illumination. (c) Classification map. (d) C correction. (e) Gamma correction. (f) MM correction, (g) C (band 1). (h) Gamma (band 1). (i) MM (band 1).  
Sub-scene of (b), RGB = bands 4, 3, 2 (1650, 840, 660 nm). (a) Original. (b) Illumination. (c) Classification map. (d) C correction. (e) Gamma. (f) MM correction.  
Sub-scene of (c), RGB = bands 4, 3, 2 (1650, 840, 660 nm). (a) Original. (b) Illumination. (c) Classification. (d) C correction. (e) Gamma correction. (f) MM correction.  
a. Sub-scene 1 of (e), RGB = bands 3, 2, 1 at 660, 560, 480 nm. (a) Original. (b) Illumination. (c) Classification. (d) C correction. (e) Gamma correction. (f) MM correction.
Sub-scene of (f), RGB = bands 7, 4, 1 (2200, 840, 480 nm. (a) Original. (b) Illumination. (c) C correction. (d) Gamma correction. (e) MM correction.  
A comparison of topographic correction methods is conducted for Landsat-5 TM, Landsat-7 ETM+, and SPOT-5 imagery from different geographic areas and seasons. Three successful and known methods are compared: the semi-empirical C correction, the Gamma correction depending on the incidence and exitance angles, and a modified Minnaert approach. In the majority of cases the modified Minnaert approach performed best, but no method is superior in all cases. © 2009 by the authors; licensee Molecular Diversity Preservation International, Basel, Switzerland.
 
The characterization and evaluation of the recent status of biodiversity in Southern Africa’s Savannas is a major prerequisite for suitable and sustainable land management and conservation purposes. This paper presents an integrated concept for vegetation type mapping in a dry savanna ecosystem based on local scale in-situ botanical survey data with high resolution (Landsat) and coarse resolution (MODIS) satellite time series. In this context, a semi-automated training database generation procedure using object-oriented image segmentation techniques is introduced. A tree-based Random Forest classifier was used for mapping vegetation type associations in the Kalahari of NE Namibia based on inter-annual intensity- and phenology-related time series metrics. The utilization of long-term inter-annual temporal metrics delivered the best classification accuracies (Kappa = 0.93) compared with classifications based on seasonal feature sets. The relationship between annual classification accuracies and bi-annual precipitation sums was conducted using data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Increased error rates occurred in years with high rainfall rates compared to dry rainy seasons. The variable importance was analyzed and showed high-rank positions for features of the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and the blue and middle infrared bands, indicating that soil reflectance was crucial information for an accurate spectral discrimination of Kalahari vegetation types. Time series features related to reflectance intensity obtained increased rank-positions compared to phenology-related metrics.
 
Mangrove ecosystems dominate the coastal wetlands of tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. They provide various ecological and economical ecosystem services contributing to coastal erosion protection, water filtration, provision of areas for fish and shrimp breeding, provision of building material and medicinal ingredients, and the attraction of tourists, amongst many other factors. At the same time, mangroves belong to the most threatened and vulnerable ecosystems worldwide and experienced a dramatic decline during the last half century. International programs, such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands or the Kyoto Protocol, underscore the importance of immediate protection measures and conservation activities to prevent the further loss of mangroves. In this context, remote sensing is the tool of choice to provide spatio-temporal information on mangrove ecosystem distribution, species differentiation, health status, and ongoing changes of mangrove populations. Such studies can be based on various sensors, ranging from aerial photography to high- and medium-resolution optical imagery and from hyperspectral data to active microwave (SAR) data. Remote-sensing techniques have demonstrated a high potential to detect, identify, map, and monitor mangrove conditions and changes during the last two decades, which is reflected by the large number of scientific papers published on this topic. To our knowledge, a recent review paper on the remote sensing of mangroves does not exist, although mangrove ecosystems have become the focus of attention in the context of current climate change and discussions of the services provided by these ecosystems. Also, climate change-related remote-sensing studies in coastal zones have increased drastically in recent years. The aim of this review paper is to provide a comprehensive overview and sound summary of all of the work undertaken, addressing the variety of remotely sensed data applied for mangrove ecosystem mapping, as well as the numerous methods and techniques used for data analyses, and to further discuss their potential and limitations.
 
Automatic image registration (AIR) has been widely studied in the fields of medical imaging, computer vision, and remote sensing. In various cases, such as image fusion, high registration accuracy should be achieved to meet application requirements. For satellite images, the large image size and unstable positioning accuracy resulting from the limited manufacturing technology of charge-coupled device, focal plane distortion, and unrecorded spacecraft jitter lead to difficulty in obtaining agreeable corresponding points for registration using only area-based matching or feature-based matching. In this situation, a coarse-to-fine matching strategy integrating two types of algorithms is proven feasible and effective. In this paper, an AIR method for application to the fusion of ZY-1-02C satellite imagery is proposed. First, the images are geometrically corrected. Coarse matching, based on scale invariant feature transform, is performed for the subsampled corrected images, and a rough global estimation is made with the matching results. Harris feature points are then extracted, and the coordinates of the corresponding points are calculated according to the global estimation results. Precise matching is conducted, based on normalized cross correlation and least squares matching. As complex image distortion cannot be precisely estimated, a local estimation using the structure of triangulated irregular network is applied to eliminate the false matches. Finally, image resampling is conducted, based on local affine transformation, to achieve high-precision registration. Experiments with ZY-1-02C datasets demonstrate that the accuracy of the proposed method meets the requirements of fusion application, and its efficiency is also suitable for the commercial operation of the automatic satellite data process system.
 
This practical resource provides a current and comprehensive treatment of GPS/GNSS antennas, taking into account modernized systems and new and developing applications. The book presents a number of key applications, describing corresponding receiver architectures and antenna details. You find important discussions on antenna characteristics, including theory of operation, gain, bandwidth, polarization, phase center, mutual coupling effects, and integration with active components.
 
Microwave and millimeter-wave remote sensing techniques are fast becoming a necessity in many aspects of security as detection and classification of objects or intruders becomes more difficult. This groundbreaking resource offers you expert guidance in this burgeoning area. It provides you with a thorough treatment of the principles of microwave and millimeter-wave remote sensing for security applications, as well as practical coverage of the design of radiometer, radar, and imaging systems. You learn how to design active and passive sensors for intruder detection, concealed object detection, and human activity classification. This detailed book presents the fundamental concepts practitioners need to understand, including electromagnetic wave propagation in free space and in media, antenna theory, and the principles of receiver design. You find in-depth discussions on the interactions of electromagnetic waves with human tissues, the atmosphere and various building and clothing materials. This timely volume explores recently developed detection techniques, such as micro-Doppler radar signatures and correlation radiometry. The book is supported with over 200 illustrations and 1,135 equations.
 
Instantaneous boundaries (1: south, 4: north) and approximate locations of ground resolution cells (2, 3) for the swath of ascending NOAA 14 at each time in UT; and path of the eclipse antumbra center in the same time order (a: 07:27:20, b: 07:30:00, c: 07:35:00 and d: 07:35:48) on February 16, 1999. 
Pathfinder NDVI in 8 km × 8 km resolution (approximately 0.8° Lon × 0.723° Lat) for the first, (a) , second, (b) and last, (c) 10-day composites of February in 1999. The quadrilateral covers longitude range [113° E, 115° E] and latitude [25° S, 27° S]. The city locations shown in the plot (a) are approximate. 
A small subset extracted from the original 10-day composites of PAL NDVI, Channel 1 and Channel 2 for February 1999 (19990201: from 1 February to 10, 19990211: 11 to 20 and 19990221: 21 to 28): Shaded values present abnormally high NDVI and corresponding Channel 1 and Channel 2 values.
Pathfinder Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from Channel 1 (Red) and Channel 2 (near-infrared) of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) onboard NOAA 14 became abnormally high for the 10-day composite from February 11 to 20 in 1999 for Western Australia. There was a solar eclipse in the satellite path on February 16 about the same time when NOAA 14 was above the eclipse location, causing the Channel 1 value to be 0 in many cells. The NDVI composite updating rule was to capture the greenest condition of each composite period. There seems to have been a possible lack of quality control during the NDVI composite generation, which could have caused the abnormally high NDVI values. However, there were some cells within the affected area that had values close to normal for NDVI as well as Channel 1 and Channel 2. The abnormal NDVI data values could have been avoided by not using the data obtained during the eclipse in the generation of the composite. Further investigation on those cells which were not affected by the eclipse is suggested for a better quality control of remote sensing data obtained during eclipse occurrences.
 
It has been brought to our attention by a reader of Remote Sensing that substantial portions of this article [1] have been copied verbatim from an earlier published thesis without credit. After confirming this plagiarism with the authors, we have determined that indeed this manuscript clearly violates our policy on originality of all material submitted for publication and the generally accepted ethics of scientific publication. Consequently, the Editorial Team and Publisher have determined that it should be retracted. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
 
We neglected to state that the radar data from Tokushima and Anan is owned by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Shikoku Regional Development Bureau, Komatsushima port and airport office, Japan. Lipa et al. [1] describe results on tsunami detection using data measured by two radars located at Tokushima and Anan on the Kii channel. This data is owned by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Shikoku Regional Development Bureau, Komatsushima port and airport office, Japan. Locations of the radars are shown in Figure 4(a,c) [1]. Results of the data analysis are given in Section 3.1.2, plotted in Figure 6 and listed in Table 1 [1].
 
Peer-reviewed journals are a pillar of modern science. Their aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review that is, as a minimum requirement, supposed to be able to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims. Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell [1] that was recently published in Remote Sensing is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published. After having become aware of the situation, and studying the various pro and contra arguments, I agree with the critics of the paper. Therefore, I would like to take the responsibility for this editorial decision and, as a result, step down as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Remote Sensing. [...]
 
This book provides a state-of-the-art overview of satellite archaeology and it is an invaluable volume for archaeologists, scientists, and managers interested in using satellite Earth Observation (EO) to improve the traditional approach for archaeological investigation, protection and management of Cultural Heritage.
 
A leading text for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, this book introduces widely used forms of remote sensing imagery and their applications in plant sciences, hydrology, earth sciences, and land use analysis. The text provides comprehensive coverage of principal topics and serves as a framework for organizing the vast amount of remote sensing information available on the Web. Featuring case studies and review questions, the book’s 4 sections and 21 chapters are carefully designed as independent units that instructors can select from as needed for their courses. Illustrations include 29 color plates and over 400 black-and-white figures.
 
Updated tropical lower tropospheric temperature datasets covering the period 1979–2009 are presented and assessed for accuracy based upon recent publications and several analyses conducted here. We conclude that the lower tropospheric temperature (TLT) trend over these 31 years is +0.09 ± 0.03 °C decade−1. Given that the surface temperature (Tsfc) trends from three different groups agree extremely closely among themselves (~ +0.12 °C decade−1) this indicates that the “scaling ratio” (SR, or ratio of atmospheric trend to surface trend: TLT/Tsfc) of the observations is ~0.8 ± 0.3. This is significantly different from the average SR calculated from the IPCC AR4 model simulations which is ~1.4. This result indicates the majority of AR4 simulations tend to portray significantly greater warming in the troposphere relative to the surface than is found in observations. The SR, as an internal, normalized metric of model behavior, largely avoids the confounding influence of short-term fluctuations such as El Niños which make direct comparison of trend magnitudes less confident, even over multi-decadal periods.
 
Using a recent Leaf Area Index (LAI) dataset and the Community Land Model version 4 (CLM4), we investigated percent changes and controlling factors of global vegetation growth for the period 1982 to 2009. Over that 28-year period, both the remote-sensing estimate and model simulation show a significant increasing trend in annual vegetation growth. Latitudinal asymmetry appeared in both products, with small increases in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) and larger increases at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). The south-to-north asymmetric land surface warming was assessed to be the principal driver of this latitudinal asymmetry of LAI trend. Heterogeneous precipitation functioned to decrease this latitudinal LAI gradient, and considerably regulated the local LAI change. A series of factorial experiments were specially-designed to isolate and quantify contributions to LAI trend from different external forcings such as climate variation, CO2, nitrogen deposition and land use and land cover change. The climate-only simulation confirms that climate change, particularly the asymmetry of land temperature variation, can explain the latitudinal pattern of LAI change. CO2 fertilization during the last three decades was simulated to be the dominant cause for the enhanced vegetation growth. Our study, though limited by observational and modeling uncertainties, adds further insight into vegetation growth trends and environmental correlations. These validation exercises also provide new quantitative and objective metrics for evaluation of land ecosystem process models at multiple spatio-temporal scales.
 
The long-term Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time-series data set generated from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers (AVHRR) has been widely used to monitor vegetation activity change. The third version of NDVI (NDVI3g) produced by the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) group was released recently. The comparisons between the new and old versions should be conducted for linking existing studies with future applications of NDVI3g in monitoring vegetation activity change. Based on simple and piecewise linear regression methods, this study made a comparative analysis between NDVIg and NDVI3g for monitoring vegetation activity change and its responses to climate change in the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere during 1982-2008. Our results indicated that there were large differences between NDVIg and NDVI3g in the spatial patterns for both the overall changing trends and the timing of Turning Points (TP) in NDVI time series, which spread over almost the entire study region. The average NDVI trend from NDVI3g was almost twice as great as that from NDVIg and the detected average timing of TP from NDVI3g was about one year later. Although the general spatial patterns were consistent between two data sets for detecting the responses of growing-season NDVI to temperature and precipitation changes, there were large differences in the response magnitude, with a higher response magnitude to temperature in NDVI3g and an opposite response to precipitation change for the two data sets. These results demonstrated that the NDVIg data set may underestimate the vegetation activity change trend and its response to climate change in the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere during the past three decades.
 
Locations of the sample blocks for 1990–2000 and 2000–2005.  
Example block for the 2000 to 2005 epoch, centered at 3.08 degrees North, 113.58 degrees East, Sarawak state, Malaysia.  
Gross forest cover loss by stratum for Malaysia 2000-2005.
Insular Southeast Asia is a hotspot of humid tropical forest cover loss. A sample-based monitoring approach quantifying forest cover loss from Landsat imagery was implemented to estimate gross forest cover loss for two eras, 1990-2000 and 2000-2005. For each time interval, a probability sample of 18.5 km x 18.5 km blocks was selected, and pairs of Landsat images acquired per sample block were interpreted to quantify forest cover area and gross forest cover loss. Stratified random sampling was implemented for 2000-2005 with MODIS-derived forest cover loss used to define the strata. A probability proportional to x (pi px) design was implemented for 1990-2000 with AVHRR-derived forest cover loss used as the x variable to increase the likelihood of including forest loss area in the sample. The estimated annual gross forest cover loss for Malaysia was 0.43 Mha/yr (SE = 0.04) during 1990-2000 and 0.64 Mha/yr (SE = 0.055) during 2000-2005. Our use of the pi px sampling design represents a first practical trial of this design for sampling satellite imagery. Although the design performed adequately in this study, a thorough comparative investigation of the pi px design relative to other sampling strategies is needed before general design recommendations can be put forth.
 
Spatial distribution of the total burned area (2002-2010) within the six Brazilian biomes, relative to the major land cover and land use classes (PROBIO) (Arc of deforestation limits provided by the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA)).
Distribution of thermal anomalies (fire hotspots) in the Brazilian biomes, between 2002 and 2010.
(A) Total burned area (MCD45A1); and (B) fire hotspots (MOD14 and MYD14), between 2002 and 2010, according to the Brazilian municipalities.
Distribution of El Niño and La Niña events between 2002 and 2010 (ENSO = El Niño Southern Oscillation). Source: NOAA [45]
Fires modify the structure of vegetation communities, the carbon and water cycles, the soil's chemistry, and affect the climate system. Within this context, this work aimed to understand the distribution patterns of burned areas in Brazil, during the period of 2002 to 2010, taking into consideration each one of the six Brazilian biomes (Amazon, Caatinga, Cerrado, Atlantic Forest, Pampa and Pantanal) and the respective major land cover classes. Data from the MODIS MCD45A1 product (burned area), as well as thermal anomalies (MOD14 and MYD14) and precipitation (TRMM), were analyzed according to the 2002 Brazilian official land cover and land use map (PROBIO). The Brazilian savanna biome, known as Cerrado, presented the largest concentration of burned areas detected by MODIS (73%), followed by the Amazon (14%), Pantanal (6%), Atlantic Forest (4%), Caatinga (3%), and Pampa (0,06%) biomes. Indeed, in the years of 2007 and 2010, 90% and 92% of Brazil's burned areas were concentrated in the Cerrado and Amazon biomes, respectively. TRMM data indicated that during these two years there was a significant influence of La Nina, causing low rainfall in the Amazon, Cerrado, Caatinga, and Atlantic Forest biomes. Regarding the land cover classes, approximately 81% of the burned areas occurred over remnant vegetation areas. Although no unequivocal correlation can be established between burned areas and new land conversions, the conspicuous concentration of fire scars, particularly in Amazon-Cerrado transition (i.e., the Arc of Deforestation) is certainly not a simple coincidence. Such patterns and trends corroborate the need of improved territorial governance, in addition to the implementation of systematic fire warning and preventive systems.
 
Shallow coastal ecosystems are the interface between the terrestrial and marine environment. The physical and biological composition and distribution of benthic habitats within these ecosystems determines their contribution to ecosystem services and biodiversity as well as their connections to neighbouring terrestrial and marine ecosystem processes. The capacity to accurately and consistently map and monitor these benthic habitats is critical to developing and implementing management applications. This paper presents a method for integrating field survey data and high spatial resolution, multi-spectral satellite image data to map bathymetry and seagrass in shallow coastal waters. Using Quickbird 2 satellite images from 2004 and 2007, acoustic field survey data were used to map bathymetry using a linear and ratio algorithm method; benthic survey field data were used to calibrate and validate classifications of seagrass percentage cover and seagrass species composition; and a change detection analysis of seagrass cover was performed. The bathymetry mapping showed that only the linear algorithm could effectively and accurately predict water depth; overall benthic map accuracies ranged from 57–95%; and the change detection produced a reliable change map and showed a net decrease in seagrass cover levels, but the majority of the study area showed no change in seagrass cover level. This study demonstrates that multiple spatial products (bathymetry, seagrass and change maps) can be produced from single satellite images and a concurrent field survey dataset. Moreover, the products were produced at higher spatial resolution and accuracy levels than previous studies in Moreton Bay. The methods are developed from previous work in the study area and are continuing to be implemented, as well as being developed to be repeatable in similar shallow coastal water environments.
 
Earthquake is one of the dominant triggering factors of landslides. Given the wide areas covered by mega earthquake-triggered landslides, their inventory requires development of automatic or semi-automatic methods applied to satellite imagery. A detection method is here proposed for this purpose, to fit with simple datasets; SPOT5 panchromatic images of 5 m resolution coupled with a freely and globally available DEM. The method takes advantage of multi-temporal images to detect changes based on radiometric variations after precise coregistration/orthorectification. Removal of false alarms is then undertaken using shape, orientation and radiometric properties of connected pixels defining objects. 80% of the landslides and 93% of the landslide area are detected indicating small omission errors but 50% of false alarms remain. They are removed using expert based analysis of the inventory. The method is applied to realize the first comprehensive inventory of landslides triggered by the Pisco earthquake (Peru, 15/08/2007, Mw 8.0) over an area of 27,000 km(2). 866 landslides larger than 100 m(2) are detected covering a total area of 1.29 km(2). The area/number distribution follows a power-law with an exponent of 1.63, showing a very particular regime of triggering in this arid environment compared to other areas in the world. This specific triggering can be explained by the little soil cover in the coastal and forearc regions of Peru. Analysis of this database finally shows a major control of the topography (both orientation and inclination) on the repartition of the Pisco-triggered landslides.
 
Cont.  
The bathymetry offshore from (a) PDNG, (b) HUTB, PTBL.  
PDNG radar observations 11 April 2012. (a) Velocity vs. time from 8:38 UTC. Blue: 0–2 km; Red: 2–4 km; Black: 4–6 km. (b) The q-factor corresponding to (a) displaying detections of both tsunamis. (c) Velocity vs. time from 8:38 UTC for 2 hours surrounding the arrival of the first tsunami. Blue: 0–2 km; Red: 2–4 km; Black: 4–6 km, showing the typical tsunami velocity arrival signature. (d) The q-factor corresponding to (c). (e) Velocity vs. time from 8:38 UTC for 2 hours surrounding the arrival of the second tsunami. Blue: 6–8 km; Red: 8–10 km; Black: 10–12 km, showing the typical tsunami velocity arrival signature. (f) The q-factor corresponding to (e).  
HUTB radar observations 11 April 2012. (a) Velocity vs. time from 8:38 UTC. Blue: 6–12 km; Red: 12–18 km; Black: 18–24 km. (b) The q-factor corresponding to (a) with the tsunami arrival indicated by the first peak, followed closely by a smaller secondary peak. (c) Velocity vs. time for 1.5 hours surrounding the arrival of the tsunami: Blue: 6–12 km; Red: 12–18 km; Black: 18–24 km, showing the typical tsunami velocity arrival signature. (d) The q-factor corresponding to (c).  
Comparison of tsunami arrival times from the PDNG radar and neighboring tide gauges.
We report here on the observation and offline detection of the weak tsunamis generated by earthquakes near Indonesia on 11 April 2012 using radar systems and tide gauges on the coasts of Sumatra and the Andaman Islands. This work extends the previous observations of the much stronger 2011 Japan tsunami. The distance offshore at which the tsunami can be detected, and hence the warning time provided, depends primarily on the bathymetry: the wider the shallow continental shelf, the greater this time. The weak Indonesia tsunamis were detected successfully in spite of the narrow shallow-water shelf offshore from the radar systems. Larger tsunamis could obviously be detected further from the coast. This paper provides further confirmation that radar is an important tool to aid in tsunami observation and warning.
 
Remote Sensing has started to institute a “Best Paper” award to recognize the most outstanding papers in the area of remote sensing techniques, design and applications published in Remote Sensing. We are pleased to announce the first “Remote Sensing Best Paper Award” for 2013. Nominations were selected by the Editor-in-Chief and selected editorial board members from among all the papers published in 2009. Reviews and research papers were evaluated separately.
 
This paper presents an exhaustive review of global croplands and their water use, for the end of last millennium, mapped using remote sensing and non-remote sensing approaches by world’s leading researchers on the subject. A comparison at country scale of global cropland area estimated by these studies had a high R2-value of 0.89–0.94. The global cropland area estimates amongst different studies are quite close and range between 1.47–1.53 billion hectares. However, significant uncertainties exist in determining irrigated areas which, globally, consume nearly 80% of all human water use. The estimates show that the total water use by global croplands varies between 6,685 to 7,500 km3 yr−1 and of this around 4,586 km3 yr−1 is by rainfed croplands (green water use) and the rest by irrigated croplands (blue water use). Irrigated areas use about 2,099 km3 yr−1 (1,180 km3 yr−1 of blue water and the rest from rain that falls over irrigated croplands). However, 1.6 to 2.5 times the blue water required by irrigated croplands is actually withdrawn from reservoirs or pumping of ground water, suggesting an irrigation efficiency of only between 40–62 percent. The weaknesses, trends, and future directions to precisely estimate the global croplands are examined. Finally, the paper links global croplands and their water use to a paradigm for ensuring future food security.
 
A new algorithm for snow cover monitoring at 250 m resolution based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images is presented. In contrast to the 500 m resolution MODIS snow products of NASA (MOD10 and MYD10), the main goal was to maintain the resolution as high as possible to allow for a more accurate detection of snow covered area (SCA). This is especially important in mountainous regions characterized by extreme landscape heterogeneity, where maps at a resolution of 500 m could not provide the desired amount of spatial details. Therefore, the algorithm exploits only the 250 m resolution bands of MODIS in the red (B1) and infrared (B2) spectrum, as well as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for snow detection, while clouds are classified using also bands at 500 m and 1 km resolution. The algorithm is tailored to process MODIS data received in real-time through the EURAC receiving station close to Bolzano, Italy, but also standard MODIS products are supported. It is divided into three steps: first the data is preprocessed, including reprojection, calculation of physical reflectance values and masking of water bodies. In a second step, the actual classification of snow, snow in forested areas, and clouds takes place based on MODIS images both from Terra and Aqua satellites. In the third step, snow cover maps derived from images of both sensors of the same day are combined to reduce cloud coverage in the final SCA product. Four different quality indices are calculated to verify the reliability of input data, snow classification, cloud detection and viewing geometry. Using the data received through their own station, EURAC can provide SCA maps of central Europe to end users in near real-time. Validation of the algorithm is outlined in a companion paper and indicates good performance with accuracies ranging from 94% to around 82% compared to in situ snow depth measurements, and around 93% compared to SCA derived from Landsat ETM+ images.
 
The performance of a new algorithm for binary snow cover monitoring based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images at 250 m resolution is validated using snow cover maps (SCA) based on Landsat 7 ETM+ images and in situ snow depth measurements from ground stations in selected test sites in Central Europe. The advantages of the proposed algorithm are the improved ground resolution of 250 m and the near real-time availability with respect to the 500 m standard National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) MODIS snow products (MOD10 and MYD10). It allows a more accurate snow cover monitoring at a local scale, especially in mountainous areas characterized by large landscape heterogeneity. The near real-time delivery makes the product valuable as input for hydrological models, e. g., for flood forecast. A comparison to sixteen snow cover maps derived from Landsat ETM/ETM+ showed an overall accuracy of 88.1%, which increases to 93.6% in areas outside of forests. A comparison of the SCA derived from the proposed algorithm with standard MODIS products, MYD10 and MOD10, indicates an agreement of around 85.4% with major discrepancies in forested areas. The validation of MODIS snow cover maps with 148 in situ snow depth measurements shows an accuracy ranging from 94% to around 82%, where the lowest accuracies is found in very rugged terrain restricted to in situ stations along north facing slopes, which lie in shadow in winter during the early morning acquisition.
 
Accurate geospatial information on the extent of irrigated land improves our understanding of agricultural water use, local land surface processes, conservation or depletion of water resources, and components of the hydrologic budget. We have developed a method in a geospatial modeling framework that assimilates irrigation statistics with remotely sensed parameters describing vegetation growth conditions in areas with agricultural land cover to spatially identify irrigated lands at 250-m cell size across the conterminous United States for 2002. The geospatial model result, known as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Irrigated Agriculture Dataset (MIrAD-US), identified irrigated lands with reasonable accuracy in California and semiarid Great Plains states with overall accuracies of 92% and 75% and kappa statistics of 0.75 and 0.51, respectively. A quantitative accuracy assessment of MIrAD-US for the eastern region has not yet been conducted, and qualitative assessment shows that model improvements are needed for the humid eastern regions where the distinction in annual peak NDVI between irrigated and non-irrigated crops is minimal and county sizes are relatively small. This modeling approach enables consistent mapping of irrigated lands based upon USDA irrigation statistics and should lead to better understanding of spatial trends in irrigated lands across the conterminous United States. An improved version of the model with revised datasets is planned and will employ 2007 USDA irrigation statistics.
 
Wetland mapping data processing flowchart. The 'VI-mean' and 'VI StDev' refer to the temporal mean and standard deviation of VI for the whole year, respectively; Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission data: 90-meter digital elevation model (DEM) data from SRTM; AA: Accuracy assessment; 'VI highest_dry': highest VI metrics class in the dry season; 'NIR lowest_wet': lowest NIR metrics class in the wet season; WL: Wetland.
The La Mare Hippotames wetland in Burkina Faso. (a). the MODIS vegetation index, VI, mean from Julian day 310 to Julian day 358 (dry season), for the calendar year 2002. (b). the corresponding MODIS near-infrared, NIR, reflectance mean from Julian day 167 to 215 (wet season).  
(a). Mapped wetlands over the whole study region. Solid line grey squares show the Landsat reference site locations. (b). zoomed map for the RAMSAR site La Mare Hippotames. (c). Bar chart showing the size of each of the five wetland classes in km 2 .  
(a). Image classification result from the MODIS data. (b). Image classification result from the Landsat data. (c). Producers accuracies as a function of area-coverage in 5% intervals (d). The area-coverage of the dominating class.  
Error matrix for the inland Niger Delta site showing all five wetland classes mapped from MODIS and reference classes from Landsat. Cell values indicate the area-agreement of Landsat and MODIS in km 2 . The users and producers accuracies are shown for all classes.
Wetlands in West Africa are among the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. West African wetlands are often freshwater transfer mechanisms from wetter climate regions to dryer areas, providing an array of ecosystem services and functions. Often wetland-specific data in Africa is only available on a per country basis or as point data. Since wetlands are challenging to map, their accuracies are not well considered in global land cover products. In this paper we describe a methodology to map wetlands using well-corrected 250-meter MODIS time-series data for the year 2002 and over a 360,000 km2 large study area in western Burkina Faso and southern Mali (West Africa). A MODIS-based spectral index table is used to map basic wetland morphology classes. The index uses the wet season near infrared (NIR) metrics as a surrogate for flooding, as a function of the dry season chlorophyll activity metrics (as NDVI). Topographic features such as sinks and streamline areas were used to mask areas where wetlands can potentially occur, and minimize spectral confusion. 30-m Landsat trajectories from the same year, over two reference sites, were used for accuracy assessment, which considered the area-proportion of each class mapped in Landsat for every MODIS cell. We were able to map a total of five wetland categories. Aerial extend of all mapped wetlands (class “Wetland”) is 9,350 km2, corresponding to 4.3% of the total study area size. The classes “No wetland”/“Wetland” could be separated with very high certainty; the overall agreement (KHAT) was 84.2% (0.67) and 97.9% (0.59) for the two reference sites, respectively. The methodology described herein can be employed to render wide area base line information on wetland distributions in semi-arid West Africa, as a data-scarce region. The results can provide (spatially) interoperable information feeds for inter-zonal as well as local scale water assessments.
 
Segmentation and classification of urban range data into different object classes have several challenges due to certain properties of the data, such as density variation, inconsistencies due to missing data and the large data size that require heavy computation and large memory. A method to classify urban scenes based on a super-voxel segmentation of sparse 3D data obtained from LiDAR sensors is presented. The 3D point cloud is first segmented into voxels, which are then characterized by several attributes transforming them into super-voxels. These are joined together by using a link-chain method rather than the usual region growing algorithm to create objects. These objects are then classified using geometrical models and local descriptors. In order to evaluate the results, a new metric that combines both segmentation and classification results simultaneously is presented. The effects of voxel size and incorporation of RGB color and laser reflectance intensity on the classification results are also discussed. The method is evaluated on standard data sets using different metrics to demonstrate its efficacy.
 
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.
 
Conventional discrete return airborne lidar systems, used in the commercial sector for efficient generation of high quality spatial data, have been considered for the past decade to be an ideal choice for various mapping applications. Unlike two-dimensional aerial imagery, the elevation component of airborne lidar data provides the ability to represent vertical structure details with very high precision, which is an advantage for many lidar applications focusing on the analysis of elevated features such as 3D vegetation mapping. However, the use of conventional airborne discrete return lidar systems for some of these applications has often been limited, mostly due to relatively coarse vertical resolution and insufficient number of multiple measurements in vertical domain. For this reason, full waveform airborne sensors providing more detailed representation of target vertical structure have often been considered as a preferable choice in some areas of 3D vegetation mapping application, such as forestry research. This paper presents an overview of the specific features of airborne lidar technology concerning 3D mapping applications, particularly vegetation mapping. Certain key performance characteristics of lidar sensors important for the quality of vegetation mapping are discussed and illustrated by the advanced capabilities of the ALTM-Orion, a new discrete return sensor manufactured by Optech Incorporated. It is demonstrated that advanced discrete return sensors with enhanced 3D mapping capabilities can produce data of enhanced quality, which can represent complex structures of vegetation targets at the level of details equivalent in some aspects to the content of full waveform data. It is also shown that recent advances in conventional airborne lidar technology bear the potential to create a new application niche, where high quality dense point clouds, enhanced by fully recorded intensity for multiple returns, may provide sufficient information for modeling and analysis, which have traditionally been applied mostly to full waveform data.
 
Assessment of forest degradation has been emphasized as an important issue for emission calculations, but remote sensing based detecting of forest degradation is still in an early phase of development. The use of optical imagery for degradation assessment in the tropics is limited due to frequent cloud cover. Recent studies based on radar data often focus on classification approaches of 2D backscatter. In this study, we describe a method to detect areas affected by forest degradation from digital surface models derived from COSMO-SkyMed X-band Spotlight InSAR-Stereo Data. Two test sites with recent logging activities were chosen in Cameroon and in the Republic of Congo. Using the full resolution COSMO-SkyMed digital surface model and a 90-m resolution Shuttle Radar Topography Mission model or a mean filtered digital surface model we calculate difference models to detect canopy disturbances. The extracted disturbance gaps are aggregated to potential degradation areas and then evaluated with respect to reference areas extracted from RapidEye and Quickbird optical imagery. Results show overall accuracies above 75% for assessing degradation areas with the presented methods.
 
In this article, we present a new method of automatic 3D urban cartography in which different imperfections are progressively removed by incremental updating, exploiting the concept of multiple passages, using specialized functions. In the proposed method, the 3D point clouds are first classified into three main object classes: permanently static, temporarily static and mobile, using a new point matching technique. The temporarily static and mobile objects are then removed from the 3D point clouds, leaving behind a perforated 3D point cloud of the urban scene. These perforated 3D point clouds obtained from successive passages (in the same place) on different days and at different times are then matched together to complete the 3D urban landscape. The changes occurring in the urban landscape over this period of time are detected and analyzed using cognitive functions of similarity, and the resulting 3D cartography is progressively modified accordingly. The specialized functions introduced help to remove the different imperfections, due to occlusions, misclassifications and different changes occurring in the environment over time, thus ncreasing the robustness of the method. The results, evaluated on real data, demonstrate that not only is the resulting 3D cartography accurate, containing only the exact permanent features free from imperfections, but the method is also suitable for handling large urban scenes.
 
In this paper experimental comparisons between two Time-of-Flight (ToF) cameras are reported in order to test their performance and to give some procedures for testing data delivered by this kind of technology. In particular, the SR-4000 camera by Mesa Imaging AG and the CamCube3.0 by PMD Technologies have been evaluated since they have good performances and are well known to researchers dealing with Time-of-Flight (ToF) cameras. After a brief overview of commercial ToF cameras available on the market and the main specifications of the tested devices, two topics are presented in this paper. First, the influence of camera warm-up on distance measurement is analyzed: a warm-up of 40 minutes is suggested to obtain the measurement stability, especially in the case of the CamCube3.0 camera, that exhibits distance measurement variations of several centimeters. Secondly, the variation of distance measurement precision variation over integration time is presented: distance measurement precisions of some millimeters are obtained in both cases. Finally, a comparison between the two cameras based on the experiments and some information about future work on evaluation of sunlight influence on distance measurements are reported.
 
The 4STAR (Spectrometer for Sky-Scanning, Sun-Tracking Atmospheric Research) combines airborne sun tracking and sky scanning with diffraction spectroscopy, to improve knowledge of atmospheric constituents and their links to climate. Direct beam spectral measurement of optical depth improves retrievals of gas constituents and determination of aerosol properties. Sky scanning enhances retrievals of aerosol type and size distribution. 4STAR measurements will tighten the closure between satellite and ground-based measurements. The design builds on previous sun tracking instruments that have provided critical measurements in more than a dozen field campaigns. 4STAR incorporates a modular sun-tracking/ sky-scanning optical head with fiber optic signal transmission to rack mounted spectrometers, permitting miniaturization of the external optical head, and future detector evolution. Technical challenges include compact optical collector design, radiometric dynamic range and stability, and broad spectral coverage. Preliminary calibration and engineering flight tests are discussed.
 
Global tree cover percentage is an important parameter used to understand the global environment. However, the available global percent tree cover products are few, and efforts to validate these maps have been limited. Therefore, producing a new broad-scale percent tree cover dataset is valuable. Our study was undertaken to map tree cover percentage, on a global scale, with better accuracy than previous studies. Using a modified supervised regression tree algorithm from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data of 2008, the tree cover percentage was estimated at 500 m resolution in Eurasia. Training data were created by simulation using reference data interpreted from Google Earth. We collected approximately 716 high-resolution images from Google Earth. The regression tree model was modified to fit those images for improved accuracy. Our estimation result was validated using 307 points. The root mean square error (RMSE) between estimated and observed tree cover was 11.2%, and the weighted RMSE between them, in which five tree cover strata (0%-20%, 21%-40%, 41%-60%, 61%-80%, and 81%-100%) were weighted equally, was 14.2%. The result was compared to existing global percent-scale tree cover datasets. We found that existing datasets had some pixels with estimation error of more than 50% and each map had different characteristics. Our map could be an alternative dataset and other existing datasets could be modified using our resultant map.
 
Land cover (coloured shapes) and location of three wheat fields (delimited with white rectangles) under study during 2002–2003 agricultural season in the Tensift AL Haouz, Marrakech, Morocco. The towers equipped with evapotranspiration measurement systems (black disks) are located in each field.  
Profiles of NDVI corresponding to 50 classes of winter wheat identified by Kmeans classification. A cubic interpolation method was used to determine the values of NDVI between two satellite overpass.
Map of sowing date of winter wheat. The value 1 corresponds to November 7th 2002. Note that the sowing date was calculated by subtracting 13 days for early sown crops and 20 days for late sown crops from the date corresponding to c f = 0.1.
Map of seasonal crop water requirement ET c (in mm) of winter wheat obtained by applying the FAO-56 dual approach.
The aim of this study was to combine the FAO-56 dual approach and remotely-sensed data for mapping water use (ETc) in irrigated wheat crops of a semi-arid region. The method is based on the relationships established between Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and crop biophysical variables such as basal crop coefficient, cover fraction and soil evaporation. A time series of high spatial resolution SPOT and Landsat images acquired during the 2002/2003 agricultural season has been used to generate the profiles of NDVI in each pixel that have been related to crop biophysical parameters which were used in conjunction with FAO-56 dual source approach. The obtained results showed that the spatial distribution of seasonal ETc varied between 200 and 450 mm depending to sowing date and the development of the vegetation. The validation of spatial results showed that the ETc estimated by FAO-56 corresponded well with actual ET measured by eddy covariance system over test sites of wheat, especially when soil evaporation and plant water stress are not encountered.
 
The static calibration and analysis of the Velodyne HDL-64E S2 scanning LiDAR system is presented and analyzed. The mathematical model for measurements for the HDL-64E S2 scanner is derived and discussed. A planar feature based least squares adjustment approach is presented and utilized in a minimally constrained network in order to derive an optimal solution for the laser’s internal calibration parameters. Finally, the results of the adjustment along with a detailed examination of the adjustment residuals are given. A three-fold improvement in the planar misclosure residual RMSE over the standard factory calibration model was achieved by the proposed calibration. Results also suggest that there may still be some unmodelled distortions in the range measurements from the scanner. However, despite this, the overall precision of the adjusted laser scanner data appears to make it a viable choice for high accuracy mobile scanning applications.
 
The temporal stability and static calibration and analysis of the Velodyne HDL‑64E S2 scanning LiDAR system is discussed and analyzed. The mathematical model for measurements for the HDL-64E S2 scanner is updated to include misalignments between the angular encoder and scanner axis of rotation, which are found to be a marginally significant source of error. It is reported that the horizontal and vertical laser offsets cannot reliably be obtained with the current calibration model due to their high correlation with the horizontal and vertical offsets. By analyzing observations from two separate HDL-64E S2 scanners it was found that the temporal stability of the horizontal angle offset is near the quantization level of the encoder, but the vertical angular offset, distance offset and distance scale are slightly larger than expected. This is felt to be due to long term variations in the scanner range, whose root cause is as of yet unidentified. Nevertheless, a temporally averaged calibration dataset for each of the scanners resulted in a 25% improvement in the 3D planar misclosure residual RMSE over the standard factory calibration model.
 
Forest AGB uncertainty classes map of the study area (outlined) obtained with the coefficient of variation (%) resulting from the application of the fitted BagSGB model. The minimum and maximum values presented in the legend are for the area encompassing the mosaic of the two ALOS PALSAR scenes used. In the study area (~10,000 ha), the minimum and maximum forest AGB coefficient of variation values were 10% and 119%, respectively. 
The quantification of forest above-ground biomass (AGB) is important for such broader applications as decision making, forest management, carbon (C) stock change assessment and scientific applications, such as C cycle modeling. However, there is a great uncertainty related to the estimation of forest AGB, especially in the tropics. The main goal of this study was to test a combination of field data and Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) backscatter intensity data to reduce the uncertainty in the estimation of forest AGB in the Miombo savanna woodlands of Mozambique (East Africa). A machine learning algorithm, based on bagging stochastic gradient boosting (BagSGB), was used to model forest AGB as a function of ALOS PALSAR Fine Beam Dual (FBD) backscatter intensity metrics. The application of this method resulted in a coefficient of correlation (R) between observed and predicted (10-fold cross-validation) forest AGB values of 0.95 and a root mean square error of 5.03 Mg·ha−1. However, as a consequence of using bootstrap samples in combination with a cross validation procedure, some bias may have been introduced, and the reported cross validation statistics could be overoptimistic. Therefore and as a consequence of the BagSGB model, a measure of prediction variability (coefficient of variation) on a pixel-by-pixel basis was also produced, with values ranging from 10 to 119% (mean = 25%) across the study area. It provides additional and complementary information regarding the spatial distribution of the error resulting from the application of the fitted model to new observations.
 
Estimation of forest aboveground biomass (AGB) has become one of the main challenges of remote sensing science for global observation of carbon storage and changes in the past few decades. We examine the impact of plot size at different spatial resolutions, incidence angles, and polarizations on the forest biomass estimation using L-band polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar data acquired by NASA's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) airborne system. Field inventory data from 32 1.0 ha plots (AGB < 200 Mg ha(-1)) in approximately even-aged forests in a temperate to boreal transitional region in the state of Maine were divided into subplots at four different spatial scales (0.0625 ha, 0.25 ha, 0.5 ha, and 1.0 ha) to quantify aboveground biomass variations. The results showed a large variability in aboveground biomass at smaller plot size (0.0625 ha). The variability decreased substantially at larger plot sizes (>0.5 ha), suggesting a stability of field-estimated biomass at scales of about 1.0 ha. UAVSAR backscatter was linked to the field estimates of aboveground biomass to develop parametric equations based on polarized returns to accurately map biomass over the entire radar image. Radar backscatter values at all three polarizations (HH, VV, HV) were positively correlated with field aboveground biomass at all four spatial scales, with the highest correlation at the 1.0 ha scale. Among polarizations, the cross-polarized HV had the highest sensitivity to field estimated aboveground biomass (R-2 = 0.68). Algorithms were developed that combined three radar backscatter polarizations (HH, HV, and VV) to estimate aboveground biomass at the four spatial scales. The predicted aboveground biomass from these algorithms resulted in decreasing estimation error as the pixel size increased, with the best results at the 1 ha scale with an R-2 of 0.67 (p < 0.0001), and an overall RMSE of 44 Mg.ha(-1). For AGB < 150 Mg.ha(-1), the error reduced to 23 Mg.ha(-1) (+/- 15%), suggesting an improved AGB prediction below the L-band sensitivity range to biomass. Results also showed larger bias in aboveground biomass estimation from radar at smaller scales that improved at larger spatial scales of 1.0 ha with underestimation of -3.62 Mg.ha(-1) over the entire biomass range.
 
Characterizing the specific inherent optical properties (SIOPs) of water constituents is fundamental to remote sensing applications. Therefore, this paper presents the absorption properties of phytoplankton, gelbstoff and tripton for three small, optically-diverse South African inland waters. The three reservoirs, Hartbeespoort, Loskop and Theewaterskloof, are challenging for remote sensing, due to differences in phytoplankton assemblage and the considerable range of constituent concentrations. Relationships between the absorption properties and biogeophysical parameters, chlorophyll-a (chl-a), TChl (chl-a plus phaeopigments), seston, minerals and tripton, are established. The value determined for the mass-specific tripton absorption coefficient at 442 nm, (442), ranges from 0.024 to 0.263 m(2)g(-1). The value of the TChl-specific phytoplankton absorption coefficient (phi*) was strongly influenced by phytoplankton species, size, accessory pigmentation and biomass. phi*(440) ranged from 0.056 to 0.018 m(2)mg(-1) in oligotrophic to hypertrophic waters. The positive relationship between cell size and trophic state observed in open ocean waters was violated by significant small cyanobacterial populations. The phycocyanin-specific phytoplankton absorption at 620 nm, pc*(620), was determined as 0.007 m(2)g(-1) in a M. aeruginosa bloom. Chl-a was a better indicator of phytoplankton biomass than phycocyanin (PC) in surface scums, due to reduced accessory pigment production. Absorption budgets demonstrate that monospecific blooms of M. aeruginosa and C. hirundinella may be treated as cultures, removing some complexities for remote sensing applications. These results contribute toward a better understanding of IOPs and remote sensing applications in hypertrophic inland waters. However, the majority of the water is optically complex, requiring the usage of all the SIOPs derived here for remote sensing applications. The SIOPs may be used for developing remote sensing algorithms for the detection of biogeophysical parameters, including chl-a, suspended matter, tripton and gelbstoff, and in advanced remote sensing studies for phytoplankton type detection.
 
Reflectance spectra of carbonate minerals in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) wavelength regions contain a number of diagnostic absorption features. The shape of these features depends on various physical and chemical parameters. To accurately identify carbonate minerals or rocks in pure and mixed form, it is necessary to analyze the effects of the parameters on spectral characteristics. In this study, we analyzed spectral absorption feature characteristics of calcite and dolomite in the SWIR (features at 2.3 and 2.5 mu m) and TIR (features at 11.5 and 14 mu m) wavelength regions, as a function of grain size and carbonate mineral mixtures. Results showed that varying grain sizes and mineral contents in the sample, influence reflectance values and absorption feature characteristics. Absorption band positions of pure and mixed calcite and dolomite in the SWIR and TIR regions for both features were displaced slightly as observed in previous studies. The band positions of calcite and dolomite varied relative to grain size only in the TIR region. These positions shifted to longer wavelengths for the feature at 11.5 mu m and to shorter wavelengths for the feature at 14 mu m from fine to coarse grain size. The band positions of calcite-dolomite mixtures in the SWIR and TIR regions were determined by the quantity of calcite and dolomite in the sample. These results can be applied for the identification of pure and mixed calcite and dolomite, as well as estimating the relative abundance of both minerals with different grain size and mineral mixtures in a synthetic sample or rock. They can also be used as a preliminary proxy for assessing dolomitization patterns in carbonate rocks.
 
Top-cited authors
Clement Atzberger
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Juha Hyyppä
  • Finnish Geospatial Research Institute at National Land Survey
Arko Lucieer
  • University of Tasmania
Harri Kaartinen
  • Finnish Geospatial Research Institute
Claudia Kuenzer
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)