Artificial illumination identification within images is a useful tool for many applications. Performing such identification allows for an estimation of the illumination source spectrum, which in turn can be used for additional applications ranging from spectral detection and exploitation to statistics about nighttime light usage. Illumination identification has been performed in laboratory settings but not from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform. Here, we test the feasibility of using a UAV and commercial off-the-shelf multispectral imaging sensor to perform such artificial illumination identification through linear discriminant analysis using nighttime UAV images. The results are very promising, showing source classification accuracies of 83.3%, 92.3%, 100%, and 100% for the incandescent, light-emitting diode, high pressure sodium, and metal halide illumination sources, respectively. We show that the information gained from the source identification can be further used to inform additional analysis, such as spectral identification. The high resolution of UAV imaging techniques combined with the knowledge of the illumination source can lead to better exploitation of such nighttime data for many applications.
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