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Rapid advancement of drone technology enables small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for quantitative applications in public and private sectors. The drone-mounted 5-band MicaSense RedEdge cameras, for example, have been popularly adopted in the agroindustry for assessment of crop healthiness. The camera extracts surface reflectance by referring to a pre-calibrated reflectance panel (CRP). This study tests the performance of a Matrace100/RedEdge-M camera in extracting surface reflectance orthoimages. Exploring multiple flights and field experiments, an at-sensor radiometric correction model was developed that integrated the default CRP and a Downwelling Light Sensor (DLS). Results at three vegetated sites reveal that the current CRP-only RedEdge-M correction procedure works fine except the NIR band, and the performance is less stable on cloudy days affected by sun diurnal, weather, and ground variations. The proposed radiometric correction model effectively reduces these local impacts to the extracted surface reflectance. Results also reveal that the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from the RedEdge orthoimage is prone to overestimation and saturation in vegetated fields. Taking advantage of the camera’s red edge band centered at 717 nm, this study proposes a red edge NDVI (ReNDVI). The non-vegetation can be easily excluded with ReNDVI < 0.1. For vegetation, the ReNDVI provides reasonable values in a wider histogram than NDVI. It could be better applied to assess vegetation healthiness across the site.

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© 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

APA Citation

Wang, C. (2021). At-Sensor Radiometric Correction of a Multispectral Camera (RedEdge) for sUAS Vegetation Mapping. Sensors, 21(24), 8224.

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