Carnegie Airborne Observatory: In-flight fusion of hyperspectral imaging and waveform light detection and ranging (wLiDAR) for three-dimensional studies of ecosystems

Gregory P. Asner, David E. Knapp, Ty Kennedy-Bowdoin, Matthew O. Jones, Roberta E. Martin, Joseph Boardman, Christopher B. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

258 Scopus citations


Airborne remote sensing could play a more integrative role in regional ecosystem studies if the information derived from airborne observations could be readily converted to physical and chemical quantities representative of ecosystem processes and properties. We have undertaken an effort to specify, deploy, and apply a new system - the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) - to remotely measure a suite of ecosystem structural and biochemical properties in a way that can rapidly advance regional ecological research for conservation, management and resource policy development. The CAO "Alpha System" provides in-flight fusion of high-fidelity visible/near-infrared imaging spectrometer data with scanning, waveform light detection and ranging (wLiDAR) data, along with an integrated navigation and data processing approach, that results in geo-orthorectified products for vegetation structure, biochemistry, and physiology as well as the underlying topography. Here we present the scientific rationale for developing the system, and provide sample data fusion results demonstrating the potential breakthroughs that hybrid hyperspectral-wLiDAR systems might bring to the scientific community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013536
JournalJournal of Applied Remote Sensing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007



  • Airborne remote sensing
  • Data fusion, imaging spectroscopy
  • LiDAR
  • Spectrometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this