50% of NEON’s remote sensing data products now available

July 01, 2016

By Leslie Goldman

Two new products have recently been added to NEON’s available suite of airborne remote sensing data: fPAR (fractional Photosynthetically Active Radiation) and LAI (Leaf Area Index) bringing the total count of remote sensing data products to sixteen. NEON remote sensing data products can be grouped into three sensor categories: Lidar, spectrometer (both airborne and handheld) and camera. Currently, all lidar, camera and field spectrometer data products are available. With the completion of fPAR and LAI only the total biomass and surface albedo spectrometer products remain. Next up, NEON will create mosaics of all spectrometer products and camera data for each site. In total, NEON will provide 29 remote sensing data products once these last products are complete.

The fPAR product is defined as the fraction of incident photosynthetically active radiation (400-­‐700 nm) absorbed by the green elements of a vegetation canopy. The LAI product is defined as the ratio of upper leaf surface area to ground area (for broadleaf canopies), or projected conifer needle surface area to ground area (for coniferous plants) for a given unit area.

Both LAI and fPAR are available by flightline. They are delivered in GeoTIFF format, at a spatial resolution of 1 m. The uncertainty in fPAR, calculated assuming a 5% uncertainty in the spectrometer surface reflectance results, is also currently provided by flight line in GeoTiff format at 1 m spatial resolution. 

Please note that remote sensing data are available upon request and have been collected from a subset of NEON’s field sites at this time. To explore which sites currently have remote sensing data, click here.

Using NEON’s remote sensing data

NEON lidar and spectrometer data were recently featured in a week-long data institute in which graduate students and early career scientists learned how to use a variety of NEON data, as well as the importance of reproducible science methods. The course took place at NEON’s Boulder headquarters and culminated in group projects and presentations of unique applications of NEON data. Participant Enrique Montano said, “Access to hyperspectral data with coincident LiDAR is rare at best.  Having a workshop dedicated to using these data together is invaluable.”

Tristan Goulden, a remote sensing scientist with the NEON AOP (Airborne Observation Platform) group, who gave an introduction to imaging spectroscopy and introduction to discrete LiDAR also said, “it was a great opportunity to interact with a group of up-and-coming remote sensing and ecological scientists to showcase the capabilities of the NEON AOP data and understand the needs of our user community.”

Learn more about how to request NEON’s available remote sensing data.

Learn more about the NEON Airborne Observation Platform

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