August Data in Focus: SITES Spectral drone flight over Lönnstorp Station agricultural fields

The SITES 2023 Calendar theme is “Data in Focus”. The openly available data produced within SITES and stored on the SITES Data Portal is the “golden thread” of the infrastructure, allowing users access to ecosystem data that covers diverse habitats and climate zones across geographical gradients in Sweden. Each month follow along as we highlight a unique SITES dataset.  

SITES has three Thematic Programs that strengthen the collaboration within the network of stations in remote sensing, water monitoring and aquatic mesocosms. The Thematic Programs facilitate comparison between climate zones, landscape elements and management systems and offer open data from long-term monitoring and experimental installations.

This month the SITES Spectral Thematic Program is featured, an infrastructure for collecting spectral data for ecosystem measurements over terrestrial environments to a varying extends at all SITES stations. SITES Spectral data covers small to local scales by using fixed multispectral sensors mounted on masts or towers, phenologycal cameras and multispectral sensors mounted on Umanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UAV drones are flown over targeted areas at the SITES stations at least once per year during the peak of the active growing season. The UVAs are equipped with a multispectral sensor, a red-green-blue (RGB) camera and a thermal camera. Together, the equipment on the UAVs capture images in the visible and near-infrared wavelength. After the UAV flights are completed, spectral data are processed centrally by the SITES Spectral Thematic Program, resulting in data products, including orthomosaics, digital elevation models and point clouds over the UAV flight path. Data products from SITES Spectral are openly available for download on the SITES Data Portal.

The image below is from the SITES Spectral data products at Lönnstorp station. 

Photographer: Data processed by Shangharsha Thapa

The image shows an examples of processed UAV data from a flight over agricultural fields at Lönnstorp in 2020. The data products include a RGB orthomosaic (left), a false color composite of multispectral orthomosaic (center), and a radiometrically calibrated vegetation index (right).

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