Scaling dimensions in spectroscopy of soil and vegetation

Z. Malenovsky, H. Bartholomeus, F. Weimar Acerbi, J.T. Schopfer, T.H. Painter, G.F. Epema, A.K. Bregt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The paper revises and clarifies definitions of the term scale and scaling conversions for imaging spectroscopy of soil and vegetation. We demonstrate a new four-dimensional scale concept that includes not only spatial but also the spectral, directional and temporal components. Three scaling remote sensing techniques are reviewed: (1) radiative transfer, (2) spectral (un)mixing, and (3) data fusion. Relevant case studies are given in the context of their up- and/or down-scaling abilities over the soil/vegetation surfaces and a multi-source approach is proposed for their integration. Radiative transfer (RT) models are described to show their capacity for spatial, spectral up-scaling, and directional down-scaling within a heterogeneous environment. Spectral information and spectral derivatives, like vegetation indices (e.g. TCARI/OSAVI), can be scaled and even tested by their means. Radiative transfer of an experimental Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) research plot in the Czech Republic was simulated by the Discrete Anisotropic Radiative Transfer (DART) model to prove relevance of the correct object optical properties scaled up to image data at two different spatial resolutions. Interconnection of the successive modelling levels in vegetation is shown. A future development in measurement and simulation of the leaf directional spectral properties is discussed. We describe linear and/or non-linear spectral mixing techniques and unmixing methods that demonstrate spatial down-scaling. Relevance of proper selection or acquisition of the spectral endmembers using spectral libraries, field measurements, and pure pixels of the hyperspectral image is highlighted. An extensive list of advanced unmixing techniques, a particular example of unmixing a reflective optics system imaging spectrometer (ROSIS) image from Spain, and examples of other mixture applications give insight into the present status of scaling capabilities. Simultaneous spatial and temporal down-scaling by means of a data fusion technique is described. A demonstrative example is given for the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) data from Brazil. Corresponding spectral bands of both sensors were fused via a pyramidal wavelet transform in Fourier space. New spectral and temporal information of the resultant image can be used for thematic classification or qualitative mapping. All three described scaling techniques can be integrated as the relevant methodological steps within a complex multi-source approach. We present this concept of combining numerous optical remote sensing data and methods to generate inputs for ecosystem process models. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-164
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • leaf-area index
  • spectral mixture analysis
  • landsat thematic mapper
  • modeling radiative-transfer
  • multispectral image data
  • gross primary production
  • hopfield neural-network
  • spot panchromatic data
  • chlorophyll content
  • canopy reflectance


Dive into the research topics of 'Scaling dimensions in spectroscopy of soil and vegetation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this