Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Mac McKee


Mac McKee


Jeffrey S. Horsburgh


Joseph Wheaton


Developments in sensor technologies have made consumer-grade digital cameras one of the more recent tools in remote sensing applications. Consumer-grade digital cameras have been the imaging sensor of choice by researchers due to their small size, light weight, limited power requirements, and their potential to store hundreds of images (Hardin 2011). Several studies have focused on the use of digital cameras and their efficacy in remote sensing applications. For satellite and airborne multispectral imaging systems, there is a well established radiometric processing approach. However, radiometric processing lines for digital cameras are currently being researched.

The goal of this report is to describe an absolute method of radiometric normalization that converts digital numbers output by the camera to reflectance values that can be used for remote sensing applications. This process is used at the AggieAir Flying Circus (AAFC), a service center at the Utah Water Research Laboratory at Utah State University. The AAFC is a research unit that specializes in the acquisition, processing, and interpretation of aerial imagery obtained with the AggieAirTM platform. AggieAir is an autonomous, unmanned aerial vehicle system that captures multi-temporal and multispectral high resolution imagery for the production of orthorectified mosaics. The procedure used by the AAFC is based on methods adapted from Miura and Huete (2009), Crowther (1992) and Neale and Crowther (1994) for imagery acquired with Canon PowerShot SX100 cameras. Absolute normalization requires ground measurements at the time the imagery is acquired. In this study, a barium sulfate reflectance panel with absolute reflectance is used. The procedure was demonstrated using imagery captured from a wetland near Pleasant Grove, Utah, that is managed by the Utah Department of Transportation.


This work made publicly available electronically on September 11, 2012.