Getting Started with UAV Imaging Systems: A Radiometric Guide provides the tools technologists need to begin designing or analyzing the data product of a UAV imager. Covering the basics of target signatures, radiometric propagation, electro-optical systems, UAV platforms, and image quality, it is replete with examples that promote immediate application of the concepts. Reference materials at the end of each chapter, including many links to current systems and platforms, offer further guidance for readers. Engineers and scientists who specify instrument requirements; design, build, or test hardware; or analyze images for commercial, scientific, and military applications will find the book a useful addition to their working library.
“This text is a positive contribution to the ‘Getting Started’ literature in UAV imaging. The math and concepts are not simple but are presented and explained in a way that is accessible to a broad audience.”
—from a book review by Melissa J. Rura, Ph.D published in Photogrammatric Engineering & Remote Sensing 83(3), 176 (2017) [doi: 10.14358/PERS.83.3.175]
Unmanned aerial vehicles—UAVs—will revolutionize the ways in which we conduct business, perform research, enforce the law, manage natural resources, educate students, and execute many other tasks. While advances in computing technology enhance cloud storage and maximize data exploitation, the UAV imaging sensor remains the key component driving system performance and market growth.
This book is an effort to examine UAV imaging systems in light of their platform and applications contexts. As such, it is replete with examples that allow readers to witness concepts immediately applied to challenges they face. Engineers and scientists who specify instrument requirements; design, build, or test hardware; or analyze images for commercial, scientific, and military applications will find the book a useful addition to their working library.
Chapter 1 introduces UAV imagers and discusses their disruptive potential. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 introduce target characteristics, radiometric propagation, and imaging system basics including figures of merit. Chapter 5 expands the study by discussing platforms and, thereafter, focusing primarily on problems in the thermal infrared spectral region. Chapter 6 examines key issues in evaluating the image data product, including video and still imagery rating scales. Chapter 7 surveys optical radiation detectors for those who require an introduction.
I am grateful to many individuals and organizations who directly helped in the creation of this work. Kenneth N. Schindler, audio and video engineer at Dolby Labs, San Francisco, CA, critiqued and improved the video narrative in Chapter 6. Chris Van Veen of Headwall Photonics, Fitchburg, MA, supplied images of a hyperspectral device aboard its platform and the resulting imagery. General Atomics of Poway, CA, allowed me to use its image of a Predator UAV, and Xenics Infrared Solutions, Leuven, Belgium, provided a thermal infrared image.
I remain grateful to the excellent staff at SPIE Press, including my editor, Scott McNeill, who offered many helpful comments, and Press Manager Tim Lamkins. It was a pleasure for me to work with both of them again. Reviewers William L. Wolfe (I still use The Infrared Handbook), Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, and Cornelius J. Willers, Airbus Defense and Space, Republic of South Africa, provided valuable critique and many helpful suggestions; any errors or omissions remain mine, alone. As in my prior publications, I give great credit to three professors emeriti from the College of Optical Sciences—Phil Slater, the late Jim Palmer, and Eustace Dereniak—who have significantly influenced my life and work.
I am grateful to family and friends who supported and prayed with me during a difficult season. I dedicate this book to the memory of my mother, Esther, whose tenacity in the face of adversity continues to provide a positive example.Barbara G. Grant