Commercial Off-the-Shelf Digital Cameras on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Multitemporal Monitoring of Vegetation Reflectance and NDVI
This paper describes a method for retrieving the bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF) of land-surface areas, using a small consumer camera on board an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and introducing an advanced calibration routine. Images with varying view directions were taken of snow cover using the UAV. The vignetting effect was corrected from the images, and reflectance factor images were calculated using a calibrated white target as a reference. After spatial registration of the images using a corresponding point method, the target surface was divided into a grid, and a BRF was generated for each grid element. Lastly a model was fitted to the BRF dataset for data interpretation. The retrieved BRF were compared to parallel ground measurements. Comparison showed similar BRF and reflectance factor characteristics, which suggests that accurate measurements can be taken with cheap consumer cameras, if enough attention is paid to calibration of the images.