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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: Automated Tramway for Ground Spectral Measurements - Dormant - Dormant

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The aim of this project was to design and test an automated device to measure the spectral reflectance of soils and rocks under field conditions, and to relate variations in reflectance factors to the weather conditions.

The Automated Tramway

The aim of this project was to design and test an automated device to measure the spectral reflectance of soils and rocks under field conditions, and to relate variations in reflectance factors to the weather conditions. This is necessary if we are to understand the factors which limit the accuracy of field spectral measurements and thereby make improvements to the methods used.

In order to acquire high quality reflectance data over a period of several days an automated multiband radiometer system was devised, similar to that described by Gamon et al (2006).

The radiometer used silicon photodiodes and interference filters to measure hemispherical conical reflectance factor (HCRF) in eight bands (430 - 949 nm, FWHM 10 nm) using the single beam method. It was mounted on a motorised sled which travelled along an elevated tramway 8 m long, raised 1.5m above the ground, below which the target surfaces were placed. A complete run, stopping to make measurements over four surfaces both outwards and on the return journey took approximately one minute. Data were stored locally in a data logger which also provided an accurate time signal to synchronise the various instruments. Simultaneous measurements of diffuse and total irradiation in photosynthetically active wavelengths (D:GPAR) were also measured on-site and logged after every five minutes using a Delta-T BF3™ sunshine sensor, and a rain sensor was installed at the site and linked to switch off the tramway from taking measurements during rain events. A drop counting raingauge recorded rainfall every 10 seconds, each drop being the equivalent of 0.004 ± 0.004 mm of rain. A webcam provided regular photographs of the equipment and the sky conditions.

References

Anderson, K., Milton, E.J., Odongo, V.O., & Dungan, J.L. (2010). On the reproducibility of reflectance factors: implications for EO science. In, Ninth International Symposium on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (p. CD ROM). University of Leicester, UK: International Spatial Accuracy Research Association.

Gamon, J.A., Cheng, Y., Claudio, H., MacKinney, L., & Sims, D.A. (2006). A mobile tram system for systematic sampling of ecosystem optical properties. Remote Sensing of Environment, 103, 246-254

Project Media - External Links

Video of the prototype on test at the University of Southampton

Video of the prototype deployed at the Chilbolton Facility for Atmospheric & Radio Research

 

Related research groups

Global Environmental Change and Earth Observation

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