HYPERSPECTRAL IMAGING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
Fluorescence map by Forschungszentrum Jülich
Hyperspectral imaging offers advanced tools for environmental care or predicting, monitoring, assessing, and aftercare of different ecological catastrophes. Sensors available on a wide wavelength range enable the application of various parameters and variables indicating the state of the environment. Large-scale mapping of the environment is typically done satellite or airborne, and the application is often brought to field level for more details. When satellite imagery provides information with tens of meters resolution, airborne data can bring its level to 1 cm. With the latest drone-use developments, spectral imaging sensors can deliver data even on the sub-centimeter level.
Oil leakages and illegal deposits
Mineral-based fluids and materials have very distinctive spectra in SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR range. When these materials get loose in nature, they need to be identified fast to prevent potential danger to the environment. Airborne or field spectral imaging is often used for the purpose as it can detect contamination even when invisible to the eye.
Fire risk assessment
Airborne spectral imaging is an efficient tool for mapping fire risk power lines. Visually similar tree types and trees of different health status can be reliably identified based on their distinctive spectra. E.g., eucalyptus trees grow fast, and they contain a lot of highly flammable oil. By airborne spectral imaging, cost-efficient forest or power line management plan can be achieved based on real information on the distribution of tree species, their growth rate, and health status, thus allowing preventive measures to minimize fire risk.
Among infrastructure, different types of building materials and roof types pose the other kind of fire risk. Again, visually similar materials can be chemically very different. The presence and distribution of materials with higher fire risk can be efficiently and reliably mapped by airborne spectral imaging.
Water quality is one of the major global concerns. Algae infestations, the effect of chemical effluents by agriculture, and the widely recognized issue of microplastics are typical research questions where hyperspectral imaging can be efficiently applied.