Derivation of an urban materials spectral library through emittance and reflectance spectroscopy

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Recent advances in thermal infrared remote sensing include the increased availability of airborne hyperspectral imagers (such as the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer, HyTES, or the Telops HyperCam and the Specim aisaOWL), and it is planned that an increased number spectral bands in the long-wave infrared (LWIR) region will soon be measured from space at reasonably high spatial resolution (by imagers such as HyspIRI). Detailed LWIR emissivity spectra are required to best interpret the observations from such systems. This includes the highly heterogeneous urban environment, whose construction materials are not yet particularly well represented in spectral libraries. Here, we present a new online spectral library of urban construction materials including LWIR emissivity spectra of 74 samples of impervious surfaces derived using measurements made by a portable Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectrometer. FTIR emissivity measurements need to be carefully made, else they are prone to a series of errors relating to instrumental setup and radiometric calibration, which here relies on external blackbody sources. The performance of the laboratory-based emissivity measurement approach applied here, that in future can also be deployed in the field (e.g. to examine urban materials in situ), is evaluated herein. Our spectral library also contains matching short-wave (VIS-SWIR) reflectance spectra observed for each urban sample. This allows us to examine which characteristic (LWIR and) spectral signatures may in future best allow for the identification and discrimination of the various urban construction materials, that often overlap with respect to their chemical/mineralogical constituents. Hyperspectral or even strongly multi-spectral LWIR information appears especially useful, given that many urban materials are composed of minerals exhibiting notable reststrahlen/absorption effects in this spectral region. The final spectra and interpretations are included in the London Urban Micromet data Archive (LUMA; © 2014 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS).




Kotthaus, S., Smith, T. E. L., Wooster, M. J., & Grimmond, C. S. B. (2014). Derivation of an urban materials spectral library through emittance and reflectance spectroscopy. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 94, 194–212.

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