Independently owned light detection and ranging (Lidar) and aerial surveying company Southern Mapping Company has invested in hyperspectral equipment in addition to the conventional laser equipment and cameras it already has.
Recent advances in remote sensing and geographic information have led to the development of hyperspectral sensors.
Hyper-spectral remote sensing, also known as imaging spectroscopy, is a relatively new technology that has been investigated by researchers and scientists for the detection and identification of minerals, terrestrial vegetation, and man-made materials and backgrounds.
The concept of hyperspectral remote sensing began in the mid-80s and has since been used most widely by geologists for the mapping of minerals. Actual detection of materials is dependent on the spectral coverage, spectral resolution, and the signal-to-noise of the spectrometer, the abundance of the material and the strength of absorption features for the material in the wavelength region measured. The hyperspectral equipment, which will initially be fitted, will concentrate mainly on vegetation, and forestry.
“We are delighted with this new technology and everyone here at Southern Mapping Company knows that this year is going to be great,” says Southern Mapping Company CEO Peter Moir.
Hyperspectral remote sensing combines imaging and spectroscopy in a single system, which often includes large data sets and requires new processing methods. Hyperspectral data sets are generally composed of about 100 to 200 spectral bands of relatively narrow bandwidths from 5 nanometres (nm) to 10 nm, whereas, multispectral data sets are usually composed of about five to ten bands of relatively large bandwidths, from 70 nm to 400 nm.
Hyperspectral imagery is typically collected and represented as a data cube with spatial information collected in the X to Y plane, and spectral information represented in the Z direction.
The current equipment at Southern Mapping is able to produce a three-dimensional digital terrain model on which the images are placed. With the addition of the hyperspectral remote sensing equipment, it will now be able to identify, for example, contaminated trees in a forest. It can then produce further and more in-depth knowledge of the area that has been surveyed and would also be able to tell if the land is suitable for any development.